Vote for me! (I'm having a cheap holiday)

Labour's leadership candidates are vying for left-wing support – even on vacation

It was Harold Wilson who first turned a Labour leader's choice of holiday destination into a political statement. Before he took office in 1964, the country was accustomed to the idea that the Prime Minister went grouse shooting in Scotland every August. Wilson's choice of the Scilly Isles was his way of saying that he was just like everybody else – because although not many could actually afford a Scilly Islands' holiday, most people felt they might be able to.

This summer, five candidates are engaged in a drawn-out contest to be the next Labour leader. By agreement, there is a ceasefire this week, and with it a brief chance for a vacation, but, of course, as they choose where to spend their well-earned rest, they are anxious not to indulge in any extravagance as the nation endures economic hardship.

The example they cannot afford to follow is the one set by Tony and Cherie Blair, for whom a holiday was a statement of a different kind – a demonstration that New Labour had no hang-ups about hanging out with the seriously rich. Silvio Berlusconi's villa on Sardinia, Cliff Richard's £3m pad on Barbados, Sir Richard Branson's game reserve in South Africa – there was not a rich man's home too luxurious for the Blairs to borrow.

The difficulty with Gordon Brown, of course, was getting him to go on holiday at all. For his three summer breaks as PM, he and Sarah first chose Dorset (but he abandoned that holiday to deal with the foot-and-mouth outbreak), then bucket-and-spade favourite Suffolk, and in 2009, they took a break in the Lakes and then Scotland, where Brown spent part of his time working.

If we were rating the former premiers' holidays on a "How in touch with Labour's roots are you?" scale, Brown's arrangements would merit Four Cloth Caps, while it is obvious that freeloading off Silvio Berlusconi is a Nil Cap. Only Margaret Beckett and her caravan would be worth the full Five Cloth Caps and Ferret.

Ed Balls

Destination New England, US

Until recently, the former education secretary and his wife, Yvette Cooper, had two Cabinet ministers' salaries. They still have two MPs' wages, so can afford to fly away. They seem to have the same fondness for the north-eastern US states as Gordon Brown, who holidayed there almost every year when he was chancellor. They have hired a large camper van and are driving their three children to destinations including Boston and Maine.

Cloth Cap Rating 1 stars

Diane Abbott

Destination Remaining coy

She campaigns as the most left-wing candidate in the field, but has never been embarrassed about accumulating money and spending it. She could afford a recession-defying break in the Seychelles, but is not going to take it. Her office said: "She might take a holiday somewhere in Britain later, but she has not got anything organised yet."

Cloth Cap Rating Awaits judgement

David Miliband

Destination Northumberland

The older Miliband worked closely with Blair in Downing Street, and has a phalanx of the old Blairites supporting his campaign. Therefore, he is the one you might expect to be holidaying in a villa borrowed from a multi-millionaire somewhere exotic. But actually, he, his wife Louise, and their adopted sons are in a holiday cottage in a beautiful but not highly fashionable part of rural Northumberland.

Cloth Cap Rating 4 stars

Ed Miliband

Destination Cornwall

Ed has tacked to the left a bit in the campaign, creating political space between him and his older brother, so it would not have helped his image if he had jetted off somewhere plush. Besides, his other half, Justine Thornton, is expecting their second child in November, so flying would not be a good idea. They are spending 12 days on the south coast of Cornwall with their one-year-old son, Daniel.

Cloth Cap Rating 3 stars

Andy Burnham

Destination Oban, Scotland

Since he entered the leadership race, the former Health Secretary has been on a voyage of rediscovery of his northern working-class roots. As the son of a telephone engineer, he has the most down-to-earth background. He is heading for a break near the seaside resort of Oban, on the west coast of Scotland.

Cloth Cap Rating 4 stars

News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Bruce, left, with Cream bandmates Ginger Rogers, centre, and Eric Clapton in 1967
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker