With Brown away on holiday, with the dab of politically motivated voluntary work, the battle for the next Labour leader has heated up. The two political mice that have been talked about the most and are seen as using their time as replacement PM cat, are Harriet Harman and Peter Mandelson.
However, interestingly, Steve Richards in The Independent states quite forcefully that neither of the two leading cabinet figures will actually even stand to be the next leader. He argues that the fact Harman has actually said that it is not in her ambitions to be the next leader, and that her close allies back this up, supports this claim. However, The Sunn interestingly point to how Harman has been involved in five high profile interviews in her time as replacement PM. Furthermore, moving into an office in Number 10, is hardly going to kill the rumours of her wishes to be the next prime minister.
In a temporal aside, I feel it is important to reiterate something that I have said in previous blog posts about Harman's recent comments, however. Whilst the abrupt way in which she has made the case for women's rights, such as saying that if Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Sisters it would have been ok, actually blurs the important point that she is highlighting. The Sun show how a group of female Labour MPs have likened Harman to the Taliban, accusing her to have fundamentalist views.Actually, that is quite contradictory to what Harman is fundamentally pointing out. Harman is simply arguing for greater representation of women in government to allow them to take equal part in decision making. It is actually fundamentalist to argue the other way, that there should not be a more equal representation of women at the top of government, and indeed at every level of politics.
As stated before in previous posts, I do not favour positive discrimination per se, but in politics the promotion of women into top posts is different. All MPs have been elected the same way, and frankly if they are not able to hold down top positions in government they should not be an MP. Harman has always been a promoter of women's rights, to say she has only started to become one to gain the leadership is wrong, but to say she has become more vocal about these issues would in my opinion, be true.
Whilst I do not agree with Richards in that the two mice above will not stand for the leadership, it does highlight the need to consider other, lets say, quieter possible leadership challengers. For example, David Milliband has got in on the act today, with his discussion around the possibility of having US-style primaries. Harman has a pro women's equality vision, Mandelson has a pro business style vision, Milliband has a pro world vision. Whilst being more subdued,the story regarding Milliband shows that he is another mouse that is not prepared to stay out of the action.
The news whilst Brown has been holidaying, shows that simply, when the cats away the mice will play...