Like Pete and Ben Brogan, I reckon Balls and David Miliband allowed their supporters to declare in a steady trickle, hoping to build momentum as the June 8 deadline neared. In which case it is telling that Miliband Major has changed his tactics in response to Miliband Minor’s sudden surge. David Miliband now has the backing of 48 MPs, a very significant advance on yesterday’s figure. By contrast, Ed Balls languishes on 15 nominations.
If Balls is playing the long game it’s beginning to look extremely odd: there are 144 nominations still to obtain but the momentum is plainly with the Milibands. Besides, today is the perfect setting for Balls to stimulate his leadership bid: he has been ubiquitous over the past 12 hours, taking the fight volubly to Michael Gove’s education reforms. But all is quiet on the leadership front. Also, the rumour that Balls is begging (that I must see) for opponents to ‘lend’ him their surplus support hints at panic. Momentum and confidence are everything and I doubt even the Unions can spruce up a candidate who emerges from the nominations process as the winning loser, which is what Balls will be if he doesn't turn this round quickly.