They call it Summer Watch – those five weeks between the House rising and the conference season. The time when the PM goes on holiday and the poor old Deputy stands in.
John always used to joke that two things would have happened after the end of his Summer Watch stints – the weather would be better and the polls improved!
Only this year, it’s the first summer since 1996 that we’ve been in opposition. This is normally a great opportunity for the party. But with an emergency budget on June 22 and the cuts becoming really tangible Sheffield Forgemasters et al this has all the makings of becoming a Summer, Autumn and Winter of Discontent.
It’s now a huge opportunity to highlight the damage the coalition is doing. (BTW, why isn’t their a crowdsourced ConDem cuts map yet. Could be very powerful.)
However, we’ve got 14 weeks of a Labour Leadership election ahead of us and 30 (count ‘em, 3-0!) hustings to go.
Now while hustings are all very good in getting to see what they think, it’s just as important to see what they’d do.
So let’s take them for a test drive.
Harriet deserves a holiday. Why not then allow each candidate to run the party for the week.
Let them devise the campaign strategy for the week, be the public face of Labour and run the party machine.
And whilst I prefer the electoral colleage as it is – paid members and affiliates – it’s vital we gague public opinion. So how about running an informal poll on the party website – promoted across all media platforms – on which candidate did they thought did the best job during their
week in charge.
Frankly it’s win-win for everyone. The candidates will get to show their leadership skills, the party gets five driven politicians keen to prove their worth during the quiet silly season and the public have a chance to input into our leadership contest.
So come on Harriet, let’s try before we buy.
Or if you’re a Miliband fan, perhaps you could buy one and get one free!