Too many leadership contests of late have involved picking the least worst candidate so it is to Labour's credit that they have a decision before them which will end with 'the most best' individual winning through.
I would say, with all due respect to the man, that it is only Ed Balls who has made a less than substantive contribution to the contest, with the other four candidates helping to widen the debate and ensure the next chapter in the party's future is as cathartic as possible. Perhaps it should have been the other MP in the Balls household putting their name forward.
Anyway, the debate seems to be moving towards where Labour needs to be in relation to other parties rather than where it wants to plant its feet. For a party that is supposedly searching for its soul, this is a strange way to go about achieving that objective.
Peter Mandelson warns against 'lurching to the left' and David Miliband talks of 'pivoting our Politics forwards', presumably both against Ed Miliband's recklessly liberal anti-war, anti-nuclear stance, (despite these being historically Labour ideals of course). To be fair to Mandelson, New Labour must have emanated from Old Labour for a reason so to go back from New to Old deserves strong consideration of the risks involved.
David Miliband is the current frontrunner but he represents a timid choice with his current strategy seemingly being to clamp down on rival challengers rather than clearly communicate his own vision. Indeed, the main reason I can see for voting for the older Miliband is that he is rightwing enough to win Middle England but left enough of Cameron to hold onto the base. It seems to be the classic New Labour error of power for power's sake all over again. The Greens certainly want David to win to ensure they can make the resultant mouthwateringly massive gap to the left their own. Cameron wants David to lose as the Prime Minister doesn't want another 'heir to Blair' on his patch.
Don't get me wrong, I'm very impressed with both Milibands, they seem bright, articulate, personable, fair and, most crucially, genuine. Either name would get my vote ahead of Clegg or Cameron as things currently stand.
However, Ed Miliband has that extra level of enthusiasm, that extra edge of radicalism, those extra green credentials and that extra bag of policies against his name. This adds up to momentum and a lightning rod for a liberal, progressive, lefty coalition that between the SNP, the Greens and the disenchanted Lib Dems, can ensure that the coalition will, somewhat belatedly, be held to account adequately.
" Jeff should change his name to Uncle Ben, such is his knack for producing perfect results every time" J Arthur MacNumpty
"not as partisan as you might think, well-written and informative." Tom Harris - Labour MP
"Glasgow East - political earthquake! was the 1.58am verdict on SNP Tactical voting." Channel 4
"I particularly enjoyed this blog during election time due to Jeff’s number crunching ability but it seems his blog has turned into quite an impressive political and social commentary." Scottish Tory Boy
"SNP sympathiser with very little sympathy when the Nats properly cock up. Rational debater free from the shackles of internal Holyrood blogging. Very readable with just the right personal touch." Kezia Dugdale
"The sheer volume of posts and the quality make Jeff's SNP Tactical Voting blog essential daily reading. Some thoughtful posts on wider society, Scotland and local politics make it an interesting mix." Malc in the Burgh
"Probably the most prolific blogger and certainly the site that I read most. I first started reading this before the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections and thought it was an excellent and balanced read - nothing's changed since then. Here's hoping the fact that Jeff has now actually joined the SNP doesn't change that!" Ideas of Civilisation
"I would say this has become one of the best Scottish political blogs going — despite the fact that Jeff is an SNP supporter! He’s always there with some thoughtful opinions on the political stories of the day. " Doctor Vee
"I never fail to be impressed by Jeff's ability to think critically before the 'experts'!" Yousuf Hamid
"Jeff at SNP Tactical Voting deserves some sort of prize for contriving to compare Hillary Clinton to, er, Kris Boyd..." Mr Eugenides
"this is one of the first blogs I tend to turn to in the day, mainly because typing snp into the explorer window is easy, but also as there is usually something there to be read." Stephen Glenn
"I have given up debating directly with this person on any matter even if his blog remains in my blogroll and I continue to read some of what he writes on occasion as 'entertainment' " Bill Cameron
It's become a ritual. Get up, fire up the Mac, check out the BBC homepage, check out SNP Tactical Voting, if Kezia has posted have a quick read there, then its onto the hardcore porn. Rare Export
I love his blog, and have to have my daily fix. I enjoy his style of writing, his well thought out arguments and his non bias most of the time. I would say that Jeffs blog is the least biased of the lot of you, and probably the most well written. Rare Export (again)