David Blackburn

Desperate Balls comes out fighting

Desperate Balls comes out fighting
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Springtime for Ed Miliband, curtains for Balls. Or at least it should be, following the news that Unite will back Miliband for the leadership. It is rumoured that Balls will pull out of the race and support David Miliband in an attempt to secure the shadow chancellor’s post. But only Brown does seemingly blind defiance better than Balls. This morning, Balls has assaulted the airwaves with the full complement of Brownite clichés:

‘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.