Neil Kinnock has come out in support of Ed Miliband’s leadership candidacy today in the Observer. (UPDATE – and on the BBC Politics Show*).
It’s a “crucial” endorsement that will make the contest “explode into life”, that newspaper reports. James Macintyre at the New Statesman agrees.
In fact it seems hard to tell whether Kinnock’s backing will help or hinder the younger brother.
Blairite former Europe minister Denis Macshane thinks the latter, in this Tweet:
“Ed M would b good leader but do endorsements from Kinnock/Hattersley help? They did lose a lot of elections didn’t they great as they are.”
Here is a reminder of one of Kinnock’s more cringeworthy moments; in my view it shows a very human side to his character.
In other Labour leadership news, former home secretary David Blunkett has come out and backed Andy Burnham in the News of the World this morning. Presumably he hadn’t seen Burnham’s lacklustre appearance on the Marr show this morning. (Although he now has 14 nominations and his odds have just been cut by Ladbrokes from 8-1 to 7-1).
This is Blunkett’s key comment:
“That’s why I’ve indicated that I’m prepared to nominate Andy Burnham, to widen the field and to provide a genuine debate which reflects the different elements not just of the Labour Party but, more crucially, of the electorate on which we will be reliant for a return to office.”
*This is what Kinnock said today:
Well, leadership requires an amalgamation of capabilities and you can put up with a slightly deficiency in one or other areas as long as these components are there. You need ability, that is self evident. You certainly need fluency, that too is self evident and you need people who are bright. That is self evident too. But in addition you need the capacity to lead and that means articulating the needs and desires of those who are on your side, but also convincing those who have other needs and desires who are not yet on your side and I’m certain that Ed Miliband has that capacity. He’s got the ability to inspire people, which is rare in politics.
Appropos of nothing, Iain Dale has a great graphic showing the top 10 election candidates who lost despite getting 20,000-plus votes.