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The Blair memoirs loom over Labour’s leadership struggle

31 August 2010

2:38 PM

31 August 2010

2:38 PM

A day before the ballot papers get sent out, and the grey corpse that was the Labour
leadership contest has suddenly leapt into a crazy jig. Ed Balls is slamming the "soap opera" of the Mili-rivalry, while
calling for more social housing. Andy Burnham is insisting that he’s still in with a chance of winning. Alan Johnson has – with a nod to
Jose Mourinho, of all people – labelled David Miliband as "the special one". And as part of
his rebranding exercise the former Foreign Secretary has even starting making fairly amusing gags. Welcome to the Twilight Zone.

But it’s not just the prospect of imminent voting that is animating the contenders. Tomorrow, of course, sees the publication of Tony Blair’s memoirs – and, with it, an escalation of the Old vs New, Brownite vs Blairite, left vs right arguments that
have been simmering under the surface of this contest all along. As Tom Harris says, this may not amount to a civil war –
but it could certainly fuel the idea that Labour hasn’t really changed since the election. David Miliband, I fear, will probably have to reach for the joke book once again.


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