I am always deeply impressed by the energy of some politicians. Clearly there are the Rees-Moggs who lounge about on green benches and let their nanny change nappies but some are incredibly hard-working. Not only that, they are on top of a number of issues both locally and nationally and have an astounding memory for facts and figures. Yes, I know they have teams of admin to support them but once they’re up on the podium they’re on their own, giving a rallying speech before getting back on the train to their next destination. During (and before) the last election Corbyn was tireless: I will never know how a seventy-two year old got the energy to travel up and down the country doing several speeches a day and interviews in between, yet he seemed to get energy from it rather than being depleted. I guess that’s why I could never be an MP: I’d be permanently exhausted.
A similar thing is happening with candidates for the leadership, and last night I was pleased to be able to hear Emily Thornberry speak in Loughborough. I had already identified her as someone I might vote for and last night confirmed it. She’s on top of things, she’s hard-hitting and down-to-earth, principled but pragmatic. More importantly, she did not join in with the back-stabbing of Corbyn and spoke up in support of him (though not all of his campaign.) I therefore believe that she has the ability to unite the party and persuade voters, as well as challenging Boris Johnson at the dispatch box as she was his opposite number when he was Foreign Secretary. She also strikes me as being remarkably human and lacking in hunger for power.
In voting for our next leader I shall be taking into account two things: one is that they broadly support socialism and the principles of our last manifesto. I do not want a return to Blairism; thankfully at the moment I see no appetite for that either in the member or in the candidates. Secondly – and perhaps more importantly – I am looking for someone who can unite the party. This is a tall order but it’s not impossible.
At the moment Thornberry lacks the nominations she needs to get on the ballot. So we shall see. But if she is on the ballot I think I shall vote for her.