I’m surprised by this. Burnham is presentable against a field of gawky rivals. Also, after a faltering start, he has tuned a clear anti-establishment message, crafted to politicise the north south divide and New Labour's soulless metropolitanism. He reiterates it for today’s Independent, arguing that the party has been run for too long in ‘an elitist, London-centric and controlling way’ and that New Labour was ‘born of a distrust of its members.’ He added:
‘We still have a self-serving elite at the top of our party who put themselves and their own interests before those of the party and the members who put them into Parliament. We just can't have more of the same. Labour must rediscover its heart and soul.’
PS: On the other side of the argument, a Labour List readers’ poll suggests that Burnham is gaining momentum. However, readers’ polls should be taken with a pinch of salt – and besides, this poll is one of very few to indicate that Burnham could finish third outright; Ed Balls is expected to be the king maker.
UPDATE: As Jim Pickard notes, Burnham’s credibility took at battering on the World at One this afternoon. He was unable to discuss his tax plans, beyond a pledge that tax should take up more of the burden of deficit reduction. This is endemic to the Labour leadership campaign – none of the candidates have elaborated on their fiscal plans in any detail.