Why I’m supporting Ed Balls for Leader
This is a post about why I’m supporting Ed Balls for Labour leader.
It’s also a post about why my ‘Why I’m supporting Ed Balls for Labour leader’ post didn’t get posted at Ed Balls’ Ed Balls for Labour leader website, despite it being specifically requested by the Ed Balls for Labour leader website team, when they saw on twitter that I had gone to my CLP meeting on behalf of the Ed Balls for Labour leader campaign.
The official reason given for the non-posting of what I sent them, and which I now reproduce here, is that it had been ‘manic’, and that there wasn’t time.
Believe that if you will. I am inclined to believe that my post was not put up because it failed to fawn over Ed Balls enough, and argued the case for Ed Balls as Labour leader on the basis that he’d be, erm, the best Labour leader of the shorlisted candidates.
Personally, I think it’s a shame that Ed Balls, like all those other candidates, should have chosen to make up his campaign team with people who are desperate to fawn over him, and shelter him from criticism, however well-meaning.
But, heh, maybe I’m just an idealist, who thinks senior politicians should really engage with grassroots members when they’ve said in their campaign literature that they’re really keen to engage with grassroots members.
That is, I hasten to add, not just a problem with Ed Balls’ campaign.
Overall, despite the fact that his campaign is as disappointing as all the others’ in respect of openness to ordinary members’ views and contributions, I continue to think Ed Balls would be the best opposition leader (note, Tom Harris the smartarse, how I choose my words carefully).
I also think Ed Balls is unlikely to win, and my support is also geared to encouraging him as best I can to develop a model of political economy which induces more likely winners to think this aspect of their campaign through, as well as encouraging more open debate about economic alternatives if, as I hope as a second best, Ed Balls becomes Shadow Chancellor.
Anyway, here’s what I wrote for Ed Balls’ site. His webteam have said they’ll link to it when I post it. Yeah, right………………
Why I’m supporting Ed Balls for leader
I’m one of the awkward squad. Determinedly leftwing, suspicious of all leader types, difficult to please, I know what I want from the Labour party, and I want it yesterday.
So why am I here on Ed Balls site, talking up a bloke from who was at the heart of New Labour experiment in neoliberalism, kowtowing to the City, ignoring the needs of the working class, stripping its party bare?
Well, I’m here because I know a battler when I see one. I’m a battler too, and I respect battlers, even the ones I don’t agree with. Except Tories.
Just like I’ll never forget the look on my local Tories’ faces when I took their safest West Lancashire seat off them, I know Ed Balls will never forget looking Gove in the eye and making him quiver. Ed Balls clearly loathes Tories as much as I do.
So I’m backing Ed Balls now because he’s the best candidate for the job in hand at the moment.
That job is not being Prime Minister; it’s being leader of Her Majesty’s utterly bolshie opposition.
If Ed Balls proves later on he’s up to the PM job, then that’s fine, but it’s not the job he’s applying for now.
The election may be five years away. I don’t want a leader who’s very good at pulling things together to win a distant election, but rubbish at working with the wider labour movement to resist what the Tories and their mates have in hand for us right now.
Five years is a long time, and we need a leader of the party who’ll lead the fight. Choosing one who doesn’t fight, who doesn’t help co-ordinate the resistance, would be a betrayal of the people we’re supposed to represent.
The gainsayers tell me that Ed Balls has only looked like a ‘fighter’ because he’s had the Academies Bill and BSF to get his teeth into.
I don’t buy that.
Yes, the opportunities have been there for him to show his mettle, but he’s shown it. His rivals have simply not done as well on the Tories’ outrageous health plans, foreign policy gaffes, or wider plans for economic vandalism.
Ed Balls has also shown the best understanding of where we should be on the deficit. He knows his stuff about how cutting spending now will take demand out of the economy at the worst possible time, and he’s prepared to stick it to the Tories straight on this.
He knows, I think, that we have to make it clear where we stand on cuts, and that half-baked approaches which accept the cuts are necessary at all doesn’t make us ‘credible’; they make us look like would-be Tories who aren’t quite up to the job of being Tories.
Frankly, he’s got some way to go to clarify his vision of political economy, but he’s further ahead than the rest.
Finally, Ed Balls has committed himself to a proper review of party and labour movement democracy, and to listening to lowly comrades like me. While the details of his thinking are yet to emerge, this commitment to a root and branch review goes much further than some of the tokenism or patronizing sentiment offered up by his rivals. Again, he’s got a distance to go, but he’s going in the right direction.
I’m a hard man to please, and Ed Balls has got a way to go still before his redemption from the sins of his association with some of the worst of New Labour is gained.
But I believe in second chances, and Ed Balls has earned it.