Crowdsourcing the leadership election

What are the leadership contenders like?  Can we trust them?  Would they make good friends?  Would they make good leaders?

These are basic questions to which it would be nice to know the answers.  A 30 minute interview between each candidate and each party member would be nice.

But not really practical.  There are, however, very many Labour members and supporters who, over the years, have had dealings with the leadership contenders.

Did Ed Miliband come to your GC?  Did you once play football with Ed Balls?  Was David Miliband the comedy brainy kid at your inner London comprehensive?  Do you remember Diane Abbott from Cambridge?  Did you do A levels at night school in Burnley with John McDonnell?

You did?  Good.  This is the place to tell your story.  Post your experience below and help the rest of us decide – based on what the candidates are really like in real life –  who to vote for.

This thread will be moderated and nothing off-topic, obscene or libelous will be published.

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5 Responses to “Crowdsourcing the leadership election”

  1. Sion Simon says:

    My first memory of David Miliband is not of the first time I met him. I can’t remember that. By the time of the first meeting that has stayed with me, we already knew each other, slightly.

    It was the summer of 1990 or 1991. I was the researcher to George Robertson MP, then the shadow europe minister (now Lord Robertson of Port Ellen). The young David worked for the Institute for Public Policy Research.

    Patricia Hewitt was his boss. She came to have an important summit meeting with George in the tiny windowless office he and I shared on the House of Commons’ Upper Committee Corridor (South). David came with her. He was already carrying the hard cover A4 pad from which he was to become inseparable for the next twenty years (except for brief interludes while foreign secretary). He had an ostentatiously boffiny way of brandishing his pen.

    We exchanged few if any words, but gazed at each other with the mutual suspicion of contemporaries. I remember thinking: “he obviously wants to be a Member of Parliament, but never will because he is far too boffiny and gauche”.

    During the subsequent years, David became fond of quoting, initially on Tony Blair’s behalf, Keynes’ line: “when the facts change, i change my mind.”

    I don’t know what changed to so confound my prediction; but I’m not sure that it was David.

  2. Terry says:

    Not my own but big Ali Campbell provides some backgroundin the Guardian today on the 3 Princes….

    Ed Miliband 14 June 1995
    ‘I kept pressing Ed Miliband to explain our economic message in a nutshell and what came out every time was an essay that went over my head and which also seemed to change every time I asked it.’

    David Miliband 29 June 1995
    ‘DM and I had a row drafting TB’s Times article on public services, which I felt had to have real cutting edge and DM kept defaulting to these policy wonk words that I found impenetrable.’

    Ed Balls 6 November 1996
    ‘Ed Balls spoke drivel, a never-ending collection of words that just ran into each other and became devoid of meaning.’

  3. Matt says:

    I first met Jim Garner when he was trying on a new dark suit from Top Shop. He must have been 12.
    But even then, you could see the NewLabour zeal ooze from every pore of him. And he did have terrible acne.
    Since then he has taken the classic route to power, now trodden by the great and good.
    Public school, Oxbridge, NUS, part-time researcher for anonymous MP, SPAD to some up and coming fellow Oxbridger, Guardianista, Progress and Compass, Fabian’s, Co-op Party, Labour blogger and social networker, wild whoops of loyal delight at a Gordon Brown speech (shurely some mistake? ed), Jim has been there, done that. And now Leadership contender.
    Its a fantastic CV. What could be a better background to lead this great movement of ours? And all the time, Jim has cleverly kept everyone on board. He has never alienated anyone in his life – everyone agrees with Jim. And he agrees with everyone else. A remarkable politician, with hugely sophisticated political skills.
    If you want to see more police helmets on the streets, Jim is your man.

  4. I spoke to Ed Balls at a fundraiser for Workington CLP last year. When he asked what I do for a job, I told him that I am an economist and a chat about the economic situation ensued. He became far more animated, however, when I changed the topic by saying “Paul Lambert is doing a good job at Norwich”.

    My wife is convinced that we wearing the same suit. I didn’t spot this, but my suit came from John Lewis and he is a co-operative MP, so it’s possible, I suppose.

    While speaking, for the first and only time, to David Miliband at the Progress conference a few weeks ago, it became apparent that I had seen the press conference given the previous night by Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron and he hadn’t. Perhaps, this makes me more the geek. He seemed unsurprised and slightly amused when I said that Sarkozy’s tone appeared to gently mock Cameron and his attitude towards the EU.

    In the past I have spoken to Ed Miliband at a Fabian conference on Tony Crosland in Grimsby and Andy Burnham on the Commons terrace. I remember nothing of the words that we exchanged, but I do recall that Andy wore noticeably well polished shoes and that Austin Mitchell randomly walked on stage when Ed spoke to take photographs of him and the audience.

  5. Roxsie says:

    I met David Miliband at a Labour Students event, he was the speaker and although he did make a good speech it was not the inspiring, rabble rousing speech that tends to be given at a NOLS event. It seemed very much that he was looking to promote an image of himself as a well groomed, polished statesman. He did however decide not to use the stage and sat on the edge of it to create a more intimate atmosphere and did appear to be listening to what was said. He had also just flown back from a foreign trip and was jet lagged but took time out of his schedule to answer extra questions and let students take photos.

    Ed Miliband (same event) ran an activity designed to gather ideas for the manifesto. It was a good idea however it seemed to me personally that he’d already made up his mind and this was a rubber stamping exercise. Which to be fair it was, very few people seemed willing to speak up with a different opinion from the mainstream. But Ed seemed very personable and extremely likeable and was willing to answer lots of questions.

    I’ve had more contact with Ed Balls as he’s close to my mp. Generally a very likeable bloke who does listen to what you say.

    I managed to exhort a promise from him to make a comment about what Gibb had said about universities “I would rather have a physics graduate from Oxbridge without a PGCE teaching in a school than a physics graduate from one of the rubbish universities with a PGCE.”. I’d previously questioned him at a speech about Cameron’s similar comments about universities as being a student at a former poly I felt rather insulted. To his credit Mr Balls was enraged about Cameron’s elitist comments.

    He also kept his word and made a comment about Gibb’s dismissal of “rubbish universities” when discussing the Queen’s speech in the house.

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