Thought I'd chip into the debate about Labour's leadership election. Personally I sort of bought the argument that a contest would be a good thing - primarily to re-assert Brown's authority and legitimacy. However I am not at all fussed that it hasn't panned out that way.
It was very clear from the outset that a Left challenger would struggle to get nominations, and would have no chance of actually winning. Therefore I think the amnount of effort put into trying to get such a campaign off the ground was a bit of a waste of time and I'm glad the big unions didn't get involved. I don't at all accept the view that Brown is a terrible right-winger, carrying on Blair's mission to destroy Labour/socialism from within. But then I don't subscribe to the conspiracy theory view of politics.
Anyone who genuinely thinks that Labour needs a major tilt to the Left should go and have a proper look at the recent election results. Public-friendly Nu Labor got barely a quarter of the vote. The 57 varieties of non-Labour lefties got pathetic amounts of votes and were wiped out politically in Scotland. However much we might not like the reality, the public do not want a full-blooded old-style socialiast government.
Many Labour and union activists claim in response that they know lots of people who want a proper Left alterantive - but to what extent to they engage with non-political members of the public that any democratic movement needs to win over in order to win power? Look at the facts - the public does not vote for parties further to the Left of Labour.
Finally you have to wonder at the motivations as people on the Left who spend years telling union members and Labour activists that the party (and sympathetic union leaders) are selling them down the river. Come election time these same people, grudgingly, tell the punters to vote Labour and then wonder why there is apathy.