Labour Leadership: What You Need to Know

As the Labour leadership candidates divide and multiply like the contents of a Craig Venter petri dish, it is billed as a summer of the long knives. The race is on to pour political paraffin over the corpse of New Labour, flick open the Zippo and watch the whole thing burn up. But who will the white smoke plume for? Well, Scriptonite Daily is here to guide you through the good, the bad and the ugly of voting record of the named candidates….. Then it’s over to you to choose!

From an entirely personal view point and straw poll of friends who have previously voted Labour and have either abstained, switched their allegiance or voted for Labour with serious misgivings over the last few years, the key areas of interest were: foreign policy, civil liberties and equal rights for gay people.


The notable surprises were Diane Abbotts absenteeism on any vote related to gay people and parenting. Does this indicate a personal misgiving or a wish not to displease her constituency electorate on this apparently thorny issue?

Also, a fact that may surprise Diane Abbott fans (me included) is that she voted FOR the indefinite detention of terrorist suspects. In practice, this means that 20 non UK citizens were held in secret at Belmarsh in 2004/5 alone with no knowledge of the charges/evidence against them. We don’t get it Diane….what’s THAT all about?

John McDonnell can legitimately stand as the candidate of the labour rebels, having voted against every piece of anti-terror legislation and the war in Iraq.

In a shocking turn of events, the Eds and David Miliband have voted with government on all the biggies – ID cards, Iraq, anti-terror legislation…the lot. They did all put in a good performance over equal gay rights though.

Andy Burnham also appears to have misgiving around gay parenthood, having voted against amendments to the human fertilisation and embryology bill removing the need for one male and one female ‘role model’, effectively permitting gay men and lesbians to approach IVF treatment on a level playing field with straight people.Andy Burnham – he say no. Infact, in terms of votes, those Labour voters who want a sea change in policy are going to be least inspired by Andy Burnham.

I’m going to steer clear on the quotes front for now as my view is that VOTES speak louder than words and even for the likes of the Milibands who weren’t able to vote directly on the Iraq war, their record on voting for inquiries speaks for itself.

So….the Scriptonite Daily Verdict:

1. John McDonnell: Comes in first for opposing everything that sucked and supporting everything that didn’t.

2. Diane Abbott: If she can explain her positions on same sex parenting and indefinite detention we may be brought around but until then, we have to doff our cap to John first.

3. The Milibands: Not a cigarette paper between them and up to their eyes in the New Labour machine…no no no!

5.Andy Burnham: why would you? Same charge directed at the Milibands applies AND he’s expresses anti-immigrant views on top of being a bit shaky on the equality for gay people front.

Will make for an interesting contest methinks….

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