H & St P: The final five


IF Labour’s parliamentary selection contest in Holborn and St Pancras was X-Factor, and we know from her tweets that Sarah Hayward is partial to a bit of X-Factor, the contestants have now navigated the open auditions and a trip to the judges’ houses, and at last we have the final five who are going forward to the live finals just before Christmas. Don’t worry, there won’t be a sing-off.

So after short-listing interviews at the weekend, six hopefuls clipped to five: Sir Keir Starmer, Raj Chada, Sarah, Dr Patrick French and Angela Pober. They will all get the chance to speak to members and take questions at the final hustings and members vote on December 13, now less than two weeks away.

Not coming back to dance again, is Nora Mulready, who had been backed by David Lammy and Haringey Council leader Claire Kober, She had qualified to at least be in front of the short-listing panel thanks to an affiliate nomination from the Co-op. Maybe the committee did not take to her carefree approach. Her campaign video almost wilfully lacked polish, as if to show that a vote for her was an antidote to Labour’s mess of soundbites. She offered up uncaptioned people gathering in Regent’s Park to the sound of the Luther theme tune by Massive Attack.

Nevertheless, she had probably offered her best advert for the role in the last week with a thoughtful blogpost about the Emily Thornberry brouhaha in which she drew that familiar complaint that Labour is now drawing its candidates from the same pool of party advisers and networkers, at the expense of people with life experiences that could help broaden the policy debate within the party.

“If our MPs were drawn less from those who have never worked outside politics, fewer political dynasties and Party hacks, and more from the people and communities we seek to represent, we would be more intellectually and politically confident,” she argues.  “If we had more people who said what they thought instead of being frightened to offend any part of the electorate, our politics might be more turbulent and unpredictable but it would be more interesting and have more integrity. If we had fewer policy people and more people rooted in real lives we might just be able to do something about the growing divide between politics and the people of this country.”

In a funny way, she was making at least one of the same points as Angela Pober was in her interview with the New Journal last week, that members should not have professional politicians, that dreaded species so used to just talking to themselves, foisted on them.


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