So I’ve had a week on holiday and week of generally catching up on work. Lots to blog about but as today is “ballot paper day”, I thought I might share how I’ve decided to vote.
It’s been a really difficult one for me. I’m drawn to three different candidates for three different reasons.
Ed Balls is combative, capable of achieving things and seems to best grasp Britain’s immediate economic problems. He has taken the fight to the coalition and set out the “there is an alterative” economic case well.
David Miliband is credible, thoughtful (certainly not the straight “Blairite choice” he is often presented as being) and has outlined what I regard as the most interesting (and detailed) vision of economic policy in the medium and long term – the British Investment Bank and the focus on the jobs deficit. His Keir Hardie lecture was arguably the best speech of the campaign.
Ed Miliband perhaps best represents where I come from politically and has been right to emphasis the need for break with the past and to push the Living Wage. I side with him over Peter Mandelson on the question of why Labour lost and what needs to change.
All three suffer from problems to.
Ed Balls has an image problem and maybe we should learn from the experience of Brown, that these things are hard to change. That said, there is a long time to change – and having a leader who looks and sounds different from Cameron/Clegg is no bad thing.
David Miliband has attracted some of the “wrong” backers, which worries me. He also seems wedded to the four year deficit reduction timetable, whereas I favour more flexibility.
Ed Miliband, despite initial early promise hasn’t really set out the kind of detailed new policy position I would like to see. I worry he’d be blown off course in a way David won’t be.
I’d be happy with any of the three as leader and I’d like to see all three in senior roles whoever wins.
But, after much soul searching, I’m voting Ed Balls one, David Miliband two and Ed Miliband three.