We are now in the ten days of the Labour leadership contest, or eight if consider that voting ends on the 22nd, and the party is now going to need to look towards the post government world.
That is not to say we haven't been vigorously opposing those moves we believe the coalition to be mistaken in, but David Cameron is wrong when he says that none of the contenders have said what they would do. They all have, on many occasions, but as they have only been able to oppose their particular remits in the House (except for Diane Abbott, public statements on the policies of the coalition have been less frequent.
As Harriet Harman has only been the acting leader, she has rightly been reluctant to put forward alternative policies, other than those that were in the manifesto, because she felt she did not have a remit from the party to do so. Therefore, it has been difficult for the party to oppose the government as effectively as we would have liked, simply because we have not had a leader setting direction, whether we agree with it or not.
The media have been very disappointed in the contest, not because it hasn't been well conducted, or because the candidates are mostly putting forward their ideas for the future, but because it has been just like that. They wanted a bloodbath, and have consistently attempted to plant stories of this candidate or that briefing against another, or the differences between the Miliband brothers.
Yet, they do not take into account that this is a multi-contestant election, in which each is vying for the post. Of course there are differences, and even brothers are going to disagree on some areas, that's What happens when they are brought up to think for themselves, and not clones. But, the contest has been conducted in a an atmosphere of collegiate respect, and the media will no doubt attempt to build up antipathy between the winner, and the losers. I hope, without much expectation, that they are able to tell the difference between the natural post result disappointment, and any opposition to the new leader.
So, these last ten days are very important. Many members, and affiliates are still to cast their votes, and will be considering very carefully where to put their 1-5. It is not the job of this blog to state the case for a particular candidate, but urge you to just think carefully about the direction the party needs to go in.