The rise and rise of Liz Kendall

I’m not going to make predictions about my own party’s leadership election, but I’m happy to guess the result of another’s four month before the result: Labour’s new team announced in September will be Liz Kendall as leader with Tom Watson as her deputy. I don’t have any solid psephological or political scientific grounds on which to make this call, but it’s a hunch that seems to fit with the facts at hand. Burnham and Cooper are increasingly portrayed as being part of the Miliband era which is now being routinely denounced as an aberration against the Party with all the fervour of a show trial, Mary Creagh likely won’t get the nominations to stand, and Kendall is being pushed as fresh, new, different and various other words used to avoid discussing any actual politics. (The Watson prediction is easier – Labour voters tend to balance across leader and deputy, and he’s the most obvious contrast to her. If I’m wrong and Andy Burnham wins, then Caroline Flint or Stella Creasy would likely be his deputy.)

The question this bring up for me is a simple one: where has she come from? The first time I can recall hearing her mentioned was back in February when one comment about private health care apparently made her a leading contender for the party leadership but I honestly can’t say I’d heard her name before then, and I’m someone who pays attention to politics. It feels as though she’s a Michael Rimmer or Harold Saxon-type character, where her leadership credentials appear to consist mostly of the media telling us about her leadership credentials which are that other people in the media think she’s a credible candidate for leader.

It’s not even as if she’s offering anything that seems strikingly new to me, with her pitch being that the electorate is supposedly moving to the right (a claim at odds with the actual evidence) so Labour must apparently pursue the Tories out to the fringes because “winning is too important and we will do whatever it takes”. I don’t see anything in her vision for the Labour Party beyond it being merely about winning for the sake of winning, not because you might want to win power to do something with it.

So, I put this out as a question to any Labour members or supporters reading this: Is there something there that I’m missing? Has she been assiduously working behind the scenes to raise her profile amongst the party members and offering them a vision of the future? For those of you supporting her, why have you chosen her as your candidate and what do you think she gives that others don’t?

These are genuine questions – I’m genuinely trying to understand just why a candidate who seems to have been come from out of nowhere, prepared and presented entirely by the current political consensus is so appealing to Labour members, because it’s baffling me.

6 thoughts on “The rise and rise of Liz Kendall”

  1. An interesting prediction. I have never heard of her. I hope that Labour chooses McClusky’s choice. The more left the better. Let them be certain of consigning Labout into political oblivion. My personal debt of 70k plus was forced on me by them without my permission. Never again!

  2. Hopi Sen explains all… I think. I have to say that from reading his piece I had no idea Kendall was a solid Blairite; I felt quite cheated when I realised.

    1. I can see that he’s excited by the prospect of her as leader, but I can’t see a concise explanation as to why, just a general ‘I think she’d be good’ as though she’s valence politics made flesh. Maybe that’s it.

    1. I think we’re the same age, and I remember being surprised how little challenge there seemed to be to him, but I’d at least heard of him before then (mostly thanks to ‘tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’ soundbite, though).

  3. Worked For Patricia Hewitt for a few years, given Pat’s safe Labour seat in 2010 and has made little impact in the role of MP, let alone preparing for leadership. A mouthpiece for blairites, no real labour background or convictions just hitched on the Blairite opportunist bandwagon. The myth being peddled is that the Tories were successful rather than getting in by default. I’m certainly not in favour of ditching principles for power, otherwise what is the point? However, LOTS of opposition to the right emerging which is encouraging.

Comments are closed.