‘I fight on; I fight to win. I’m in it to win it. I am the best person to fight this coalition.’
You get the impression that he means it, and he’ll fight on in hope rather than expectation. It will take a miracle for Balls to win from here. His campaign has been run adeptly and his profile is arguably the largest of the five candidates – take for instance his ubiquitous and voluble opposition to Michael Gove. But support has been elusive. The Unite nomination is a case in point. Balls was an assumed shoo-in; but it was never clear cut, even before the Ed Miliband surge. Balls has close ties with Unite, particularly with Charlie Whelan (if that’s worth anything); but so does Ed Miliband, who was personally backed by Derek Simpson. As this torpid contest continues, it becomes clear that Balls has been over-estimated. Surely he is delaying the inevitable.