Friday, February 5, 2010

Why Jon Cruddas just might be Labour leader

My ears pricked up (figuratively speaking) when I read Iain Dale's headline 'Why Jon Cruddas won't be Labour leader', because a few weeks ago for Political Betting's annual prediction game I had taken a wild guess that Cruddas might be the party leader twelve months from now. So I was curious to see if there was something blindingly obvious that I'd overlooked. But of the three 'reasons' Dale provides, two relate to his own prejudices about why Cruddas shouldn't be Labour leader, including one that is utterly risible (namely that he allegedly lives in Notting Hill rather than Dagenham). The third reason is a bit more pertinent - that there is a danger that Cruddas might lose his seat to the Tories at the general election. But if Dale's level of confidence that the Tories will win that seat is so high that it totally precludes even the possibility of Cruddas becoming party leader, why does he rather amusingly feel the need to end his post by begging for cash for the local Tory campaign?

For my money, Cruddas is the one potential leader that might just have a chance of restoring Labour's standing in public esteem. He's a likeable, straight-talking conviction politician who, rather novelly, actually seems to believe in at least some of the things a social democratic party is supposed to believe in. He once mischievously said "I'd like to see us lurch to the centre-left". It's a thought.

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