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

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices