The voting slips are out and it is time to decide who to vote for....exciting hey? Well, no - not really. Who do I want to support for the leadership of the Labour Party? It isn't easy at all; David Miliband doesn't represent enough of a radical break with the Brown/Blair past, a fault for all of the male candidates for the leadership as it happens. They were all, whatever Ed Miliband might now claim, tied in with the decision to go to war in Iraq, to support small-minded policies on immigration, not oppose the removal of the 10% tax bracket for the lower-paid, to introduce the appalling ID card system, support the sort-touch regulation of the markets and be mealy-mouthed in dealing with the issue of European Union expansion.
So, one might ask, why not support Diane Abbott? Well, putting aside the whole issue of wanting somebody electable for the British public, how is it possible to support somebody for whom disloyalty has always been a watchword? She is a rentaquote and in love with her media image and, more worryingly, doesn't let her left-wing politics translate into sending her son to a state school, despite her long-held political views. So, actually, not really that different to the rest of the candidates.
I like Andy Burnham's ideas on tax and think he is more human than the rest of the candidates, although he hasn't much hope of winning. The cards have been too heavily stacked against him from the beginning. Having said that, he represents the place he was raised (not a Scouser, as it happens, but in Leigh, Greater Manchester), sounds different from the other candidates and his heart appears to be in the right place. Also, I admit, his being a Catholic helps his case for me although I am not that sure whether I am happy with him on a few issues.
So - that is my first vote out of the way...what about my second and third? Not Diane Abbott, disloyalty always annoys me. I dismiss support for Ed Balls for the same reason - he was the main cheerleader for Gordon Brown when they spent years trying to push Blair out with no concern of the consequences for the party. So Ed M, or David M?
I took the 'compatibilty test' with The Guardian and it came up with Ed but there is a something of the born-again lefty about Ed; I am sure he will revert to type once elected. As for David M - he looks the part, but so what? He has held a major Office of State and served with a certain amount of panache, but that is no reason to elect him. He rightly points out the good things Labour did in Government and does not resile from the mistakes, which is a reason to show him some respect.
The truth is, I am not sure and don't dislike either of them enough to oppose them by voting for the other.
I am no nearer an answer - any suggestions?