Peter Hoskin

The Labour leadership battle: tribalism vs anti-tribalism

The Labour leadership battle: tribalism vs anti-tribalism
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While we're on the subject of the Labour leadership, it's worth reading James Purnell's article in the Times today.  I know, I know – he's left Parliament now.  But Purnell is close to Team Miliband (the Elder), so I imagine some of his thinking might show up in the campaign.  In which case...

One thing that jumped out at me was Purnell's attitude to the coalition government.  Sure, he attacks it as "only symbolically progressive," but he doesn't dismiss it out of hand.  Indeed, he even suggests that coalition might be a good thing:

"Gently, too — we should give credit to Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg for the way they formed this coalition. I thought that they would find it hard to get anywhere beyond a grudging minority agreement. I don’t know whether it will turn out to be the right call for the Lib Dems in the medium term, but we should recognise the boldness of going for a real coalition ....  So, although I feel sore at being jilted by the Lib Dems, I also recognise that the coalition is a new type of politics..."

diatribe in the Independent

After David Miliband's speech earlier – in which he devoted an entire section, perhaps in vain, to avoiding Labour's internecine past – it's becoming clearer that the leadership contest could reduce to anti-tribalism versus tribalism.  The question Ed Balls has to ask himself is whether his approach will cut it, at a time when people seem to want a little more co-operation.