Michael Grieve says he wants a unifying UK Labour leader, but the narrowing of the field to just two candidates leaves him with no-one to vote for.
I have been a member of the Labour Party since 1983, and have supported every leader since then. I may not have voted for them – I never voted for Tony Blair and I never voted for Ed Miliband – but I supported them as leader because they had a democratic right to be there. They had been voted in by the membership, by the trades unions, by the MPs and MEPs and by the socialist societies. I had cast my votes and it was democratic.
The way our leader used to be elected meant with a vote for my Labour Party membership, a vote for my Co-op Party membership, a vote for my Fabian Society membership and a vote for my Unite the Union membership I got a more than fair say in the leadership elections.
That system has now changed, but even if I still had four votes I would feel disenfranchised right now as I simply do not want to vote for either of the candidates. Neither of them inspire me to vote for them.
I don’t believe that Jeremy will ever get the support among the electorate that Tony Blair had, so I don’t see Labour getting into government and that’s the main reason for our party’s existence. We are not a protest group – our main aim has to always been to get into government and at the moment under Jeremy we are not even an effective opposition.
That does not mean that I want a leader who is a “Blair copy”, and that’s what I think Owen Smith is. What is annoying me is that the PLP had their coup and Angela Eagle soared in (see what I did there) took the flack and then dropped out leaving us a straight choice. Now I have always believed that the Labour Party is a broad church and the leadership election should reflect that. But neither of the two remaining candidates reflect the Labour Party I want or what I want in a leader.
I want a leader who is not divisive, who is not seen a right or left but seen as Labour. A leader who can unite the party again. At the moment we don’t have anyone stepping forward to do this and it now seems it’s too late for a candidate that could actually save Labour.