Hain throws his hat into the ring.
Unsurprisingly, Peter Hain has launched his bid for the Deputy Leadership with a pledge of loyalty to Brown; but the Guardian report today suggests Brown would probably prefer someone else. Michael White does not rate Hain's chances highly. I think he is wrong. Hain not so long ago suggested increasing the top rate of income tax and was slapped down by Blair and Brown. He says "...it is legitimate that we debate where the limits of the private sector involvement might be and where the limits on markets are", and says that the "...Labour Government is there to deliver social justice and individual liberty". He has also been making emollient noises about trade unions, who he has also been assiduously courting for months. None of this will do him any harm with the trade union and constituency sections of the electoral college. Alan Johnson, by contrast, although a former trade unionist, is a bit of a poacher-turned-gamekeeper (he has suggested, for example, that the union vote at the party conference be cut from 50% to 15%). Today's Guardian also reports that John Reid is pushing ahead with the "reform agenda" ("reform" means "privatisation"): he seems to want the probation service to be run by private contractors. Harriet Harman's claim rests upon her being a woman; the trouble is that she so obviously hails from the planet "privilege". Hain's problems are his past as a Young Liberal, his South African provenance, and his reputation as an unprincipled "shape-shifter". I still thinks this puts him ahead on points by comparison with Reid and Harman. With Johnson it is harder to say, but my money is on Hain.