Tara Hamilton Miller: Labour contenders must show grace

What is most worrying about the Labour leadership battle is the lack of females.

Tara Hamilton-Miller
Tara Hamilton-Miller

It could be argued that the Conservative Party is no different. True, but it has not been bleating for 13 years about gender equality.

The only reason Diane Abbott is in the race is because David Miliband backed her, rather than his little brother. Shoddy behaviour when playing tactical games to show your political correctness takes over. He should be careful; Michael Portillo attempted such tactics during the Conservative 2001 leadership competition.

The contenders so far have not shown much grace. John McDonnell boasted if he could go back in time he would 'assassinate Thatcher'. Most of the audience sniggered and cheered. This small man should have been forced to stand down. One of the key differences between Labour and the Conservatives is that if a Tory suggested killing an elderly Labour statesman, there would be considerable shame on the whole party, and the Tory leader would ask the MP to go quietly.

Ed Balls, Gordon Brown's most loyal thug, is going for the full rebirth. He is now claiming he disagreed with many of the Prime Minister's decisions. He is either a devious turncoat or he too was bullied by Brown. He is fighting hard to change the public perception of him, but the pantomime baddie image he has relished will be impossible to shirk.

The one danger the Conservative Party never had when crowning a new leader was union pressure and heavy-handed bullying. The chaos that the (union-led) British Airways mess created shows how dangerous they are. Balls is wedded to the unions, but the other candidates would be wise to take a stand against them.

My advice to the Labour Party would be to take its time and try not to tear itself apart over the next few months. Once a leader is chosen, again, it should learn from the Conservative Party's mistakes. This means behaving, accepting fully who is in charge and attempting to rid itself of the Brown/Blair divide.

It will of course get brutal, but if Labour is clever, its time in the political wilderness need not last 13 years.

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