What price Jon Cruddas' support, Harriet?

Well, congratulations to Harriet Harman on winning the Labour deputy leadership and commiserations to everyone else. Looking at the results, it's pretty clear that Jon Cruddas' votes transferred to Harriet in the last redistribution, narrowly pushing her past the winning post. Jon Cruddas' clear call at the Newsnight hustings to put Harriet as second preference, it is probably fair to say, won the election for Ms Harman.

For the record, I supported Jon Cruddas and my reasons are here.

Given that he started the campaign as an unknown, rank outsider (I hadn't heard of him, despite having campaigned in Barking, although that probably says as much about me as anything), his performance was fantastic. There will be no extraction of a pound of flesh from the Cruddas camp, but I do hope that both Jon's support for Harriet and the significant support his campaign had will lead to a few specific things being pushed. I hope these will include:
  • A fourth option on housing
  • If not an apology, a reassessment of how the Labour party and the country were treated over the Iraq war
  • As a corollary, an establishment of the principle that the Commons can vote on war
  • A more positive attitude towards immigrants and an end to some of the frankly inflammatory things we've heard of late
  • Legislation to improve work/life balance
  • An increase in the minimum wage
  • Looking at whether the minimum wage should be higher for London
  • Increased support for families - both financial and legislative for working conditions
  • Greater rights for part-time, temporary and agency workers
I suspect that we are also going to see action of some form on private equity.

There was, it would seem, no deal before the hustings; Harriet did not (as I recall) tell her voters to second preference Jon Cruddas or anyone else. Nevertheless, he did tap into a real current of both thought and discontent with the current situation on which all the other campaigns later sought to capitalise.

One final note. Both BBC News 24 and Sky News were reporting that Ms Harman had won before the result was announced at the conference. That is either a deliberate or an accidental leak; either way, it is unfortunate. The latter case suggests a weakness in security while the former suggests collusion between the news networks and the Labour party. What was Tony saying about a 'feral beast'?




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