Despite seeing Andrea Leadsom fall flat on her face with her naïve (or sly) appeal to all the voting parents to choose her over the childfree Theresa May, Owen Smith has chosen the hustings to tell us how normal he is. Compared to whom Owen? The gay and childfree Angela Eagle or to the stadium packing Jeremy Corbyn?
For a party that advocates diversity and acceptance - is 'normal' really such a great selling point? For me, Owen looks more like Mr. Average, or Mr. Bland, he may come from the Valleys, but he is missing the fiery passion of his eloquent forefathers. I can see his appeal among middle management, the upwardly mobile and the Blairites, but he's just another composite of 'qualities' the spin doctors believe the public want to see in a leader - but without the charisma. Not only does he believe austerity is right, he appears to be in the wrong political party.
What the Labour spinmeisters are failing to take into account, is the fact that society has taken quite a few evolutionary leaps since the politics of Tony Blair held appeal. The Blair dream of 'we're all middle class now' has crashed and burned. The rich have become considerably richer, the working classes have been marginalised and a new underclass has been created who vote UKIP. Why? because Mr. Bland in his neat suit leaves them cold.
Angela Eagle I'm afraid, sets me off on a feminist rant. During my wild and carefree youth, I liked to play pool and drink beer. I also liked men who played pool and drank beer, but that's a whole other story. When I discovered pool, I couldn't stop practising until I could beat the 'best', male or female. If ever three words were sent to infuriate me, they are '.... for a girl'. I was born a feminist. With a brother not quite one year older, I spent my childhood screaming 'it's not fair'. When I overheard my dad and brother plotting to get up in the wee small hours to watch the Cassius Clay fight, without waking me because I was 'a blooming pest', I was determined to show them what a blooming pest I could be! I wasn't never going to let being a girl stop me from doing the same as my brother.
I have spent my entire life seeking out female role models, women who don't want, or expect, allowances because they are female. If Angela can't compete with her colleagues on an equal footing, then how would she cope on the world stage? And why is she asking for kinder, gentler politics as if discussing whether to carpet bomb a Syrian village or slash benefits can be done over a nice cup of tea and slice of cake. It's this namby pamby approach to politics that has brought thousands out onto the streets marching for change.
We now have two candidates to challenge Jeremy Corbyn's leadership. The 'normal' Owen Smith, and the gay woman, neither one of them is representative of the vast majority of the Labour voters. If normal equates to man, woman, 2.4 children and middle income, he has clearly not taken a look at any demographics lately. Many households are not 'normal' Mr. Smith, the fastest growing demographic is people who live alone - are we not normal? What about mixed race families? same sex parent families, extended families, the list could go on.
If Angela Eagle thinks the problems this country faces can be solved with kinder, gentler politics, then she is not a leader. If she wins, God forbid, will she face Theresa May at PMQs having signed a pledge not to say anything horrid? Seriously? If PM May says, lets throw another 100k people below the poverty line, what will be her reply? Okily, dokily? Does she honestly believe that all those past Union and Labour party victories were won with gentle voices?
Angela is basing her campaign on being a victim, she is blaming her own failure to arouse any interest in her leadership bid, on Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. She can't understand why the masses aren't falling into line behind her, screaming 'we want more mediocrity'. She doesn't have that 'X' factor, so she is going for sympathy, she's the kid who throws herself on the floor when her more popular mate is getting all the attention, she doesn't have anything of interest to say, but she can show them her bruises.
It is almost as if she were paving a way to introduce some form of policing on the www. Many of the Labour Right are keen to introduce legislation that will curb the freedom of the internet and their favourite word is 'trolls'. She has all the criteria for being a target. Female tick, gay tick, especially twitchy tick.
These claims of criminal damage and thuggery among Jeremy Corbyn supporters are a myth (the brick was thrown into the stairwell of shared building). And on a scale of damage to her campaign which would be more effective for an activist: a) brick through a window followed by an ankle bracelet b) driving yourself mental by trying to get through to people on the phone to abuse (ditto ankle bracelet) or c) a tweet with the potential to reach hundreds of thousands? Take your time.
Jeremy is a man of peace! The Right are mistaking passion and justified anger, for anti social behaviour. Deliberately of course, they have to convince the wider public, that Jeremy's supporters are 'rabble'. Yet anyone can see with a quick scan of the Jeremy hashtags on twitter, that we are representative of a huge cross section of society. The idea that Labour has been infiltrated by 500k militant lefties lurking among us has quite rightly been ridiculed for the nonsense it is. We are ordinary people, who have been inspired by Jeremy's caring approach to politics. We don't want to see an underclass, denied all the opportunities we enjoyed. We had proper school dinners, free milk (some of us) and regular health checks. We had access to higher education and universities, and most didn't have to pay for it. Our good start, means many of us now will live longer than future generations. (How the Fffff did that happen?).
Angela is totally misguided in her attempts to garner both the gay and female vote. I apply the same criteria to being gay, as I do to 'because I'm a woman'. Basically, so what? Don't use your gender and sexuality as a shield, it shows a weakness that I don't want to see in a leader. The gay card is even worse. Many of the women, who's votes she needs, are struggling to feed their kids and keep a roof over their heads, she needs to fight on their behalf too.
I have struggled all my life to find feminist role models, literature is HIS-story, most of the heroes were male, while women played the supporting roles. Now we have the beautiful and bold Jennifer Lawrence and the kick ass Jessica Jones. I don't want to listen to a carefully coiffered 'Politician Barbie' reeling off PLP approved handouts in the House of Commons, in a soft voice. I want to see passion and belief and a determination for a change. I don't want to see the leader of the Labour party meekly accepting austerity and the nuclear bombs of the opposition in order to make politics kinder and more gentle for herself.
Angela Eagle should stop making the campaign about 'rabble' and swerving the policies. And she is not even doing it convincingly. Theresa May, and trust me I'm no fan, hasn't spent the past couple of weeks whining about people saying nasty stuff about her on the internet and she's now Prime Minister. Angela should take note, Ms May's not talking about gentler politics, she's just upped the ante.