As we noted earlier in the day, Jon Cruddas looks set to throw his hat into the ring and stand in the deputy leadership election when there is a vacancy. This has been doing the rounds among political journalists for a week or so and Patrick Wintour in the Guardian decided to run with the story properly today, as a result of this opinion piece.
According to Wintour, Cruddas told the paper:
“It is true I have been approached and that is flattering. Right now, I am not crunching any numbers. That would be presumptuous. There is no vacancy. I am trying to see if I can help start a rolling debate about what this job is, and how the party needs to organise itself. One thing is for certain: the status quo is not an option”.
Elsewhere in the paper, Cruddas – who was a special advisor at No 10 in Labour’s first term – outlines his vision of the deputy leadership. He argues that the deputy should become more of a voice for the party than a cheerleader for the PM within the party.
Lots of members have complained that the party has been ignored by the leadership over too many policies – but as Cruddas is the only serious contender not currently in government, he will be able to this promote this idea more effectively than the other candidates.
His proposal would solve the twin problems of finding a role for the deputy prime minister, and the unelected status of the party chair, while ensuring the party is represented at Cabinet level.
Speaking about what he thinks the deputy leader should actually do, he makes a series of points that articulate the disappointment that many in the party have felt with policy formulation in the past:
“We must ensure that our dependence on opinion polls and focus groups is balanced by conversation with real people expressing genuine opinions, not sanitised consultations with pre-determined outcomes … Above all, they should highlight the synergy between Labour ideals and the ideals of the British people, rather than pandering to the wretched methodology of modern politics captured in the term “triangulation”. None of these ideas require titles, mansions or a job in government. They simply require the endorsement of the labour movement and the goodwill of colleagues.”
Cruddas’ opinion piece today and his track record of promoting a range of progressive policies – as well as hard work and organisation in defeating the BNP – has got the editorial staff at The Daily very excited.