But I suspect that there might be foul play at work here. Those whose priority is to ‘stop Balls’, and there are no shortage of these people, know that boosting Cooper actually hurts Balls. Balls’ momentum coming out of the gate in a leadership election is going to be stalled if everyone is discussing whether his wife wouldn’t actually be the better candidate. (The boosting of Ed Miliband when David Miliband was flirting heavily with standing for the leadership was to the same end.) It is hard to be a compelling candidate when it is a matter of debate whether you’re even the best candidate in your own family. At the same time, a Cooper endorsement will be worth little to Balls as it is already built into his price. So, Balls gains nothing from her stature being boosted.
All the Labour leadership speculation that is going on at then moment is likely to be overtaken by events, not least who loses their seat at the next election and the psychological effect on the party of a resounding rejection by the electorate. Remember: there weren’t many people tipping William Hague to be the next leader of the Tory party in February 1996.