So you want to be PM?

Ed Miliband and Ken Livingstone would like you to vote for them

Red Ed and Brown friendRed Ed and Brown friend
We wrote about one aspect of the Labour leadership battle here, suggesting it was about to get interesting. About time too! Several Labour people, David Blunkett for example, have admitted that it was a dull thing. It was wrong to imagine that anyone other than the political anoraks of the left would welcome such a long drawn out stunt. No doubt there will be a lot of thought as to what the result might have been had a more compact time frame been in place. In particular, did this mad marathon help the trade unions dominate the whole thing? It's about to become interesting as Ed Miliband has won the leadership battle and has done so with help from the trade unions. This contest and its outcome must be seen alongside the other winner, Ken Livingstone, now the Labour party's official candidate for the Mayor of London elections. These will be held in 2012. So the result, like the campaign, will watched by those looking for indicators as to how the general election, scheduled for 2015, might turn out.

Already we see that 'women of colour' did badly in both of these contests. Despite being "quietly confident", Diane Abbott only got just over 7% of the vote, while Oona King standing against Livingstone could only manage less than half of his share of the vote. For Labour, always keen to swank off its ethnic, gender and minorities credentials, this could be a bit of a problem. We can expect Livingstone to give Lee Jasper prominence during his campaign but this only solves half the problem as Jasper is male. But what does Miliband do to show off his ethnic, gender and minorities credentials? Gordon Brown and Livingstone loathed each other, what sort of a relationship do Livingstone and Miliband have? In both cases, Livingstone and Miliband, the trade unions have immense influence but when it comes to ruthlessness Livingstone is way ahead, as even the Labour party itself has found out. Miliband will have to be careful how he works with Livingstone as their campaigns will run parallel. Logic suggests that Livingstone's should be secondary to Miliband's efforts but the phrase 'the tail wagging the dog' comes to mind.

As usual Livingstone oversells himself; he has not, by winning the nomination to be the official Labour MoL candidate, proven anything. He cannot claim to be the man of the people and the figures quoted in the Guardian show this -

Labour's two-horse race for the nomination was decided by an electoral college made up of London's 35,000 party members and 38 London MPs, and the 400,000 voters belonging to the 14 unions and organisations affiliated to the London Labour party.

That's fewer than half a million people altogether and we are not told how many eligible to vote did so. Let's be generous and pretend they all did, Livingstone got just under 69% of the vote, this works out at a little over 300,000 votes in the bag. So not much of a start is it? Meaning there's a very long way to go yet. As the Guardian also reports -

A poll conducted by three London media organisations this week showed 9% of Londoners would prefer King as their next mayor, with Livingstone on 27% and Johnson on 45%.

There's no reason to imagine the task ahead for Miliband is that much easier, if at all, although the numbers are different. His lead over his brother was a pitiful 1.2%; at least Livingstone was the clear favourite. It would also be wrong to assume all the votes that went to others in the contest are now Miliband's without question. This cannot be so and we only have to recall the intense infighting between the Blairites and the Brownites to see how Labour loves a fight, any fight. Blair never managed to unite the party to either his or its advantage. Who says Miliband can?