Daily catch-up: Labour prepares to choose a leader to fight the last election

Plus further election-result pedantry and another outstanding genuine shop name

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The Independent Online

1. Another addition to my collection of Genuine Shop Names (Top 10 here, the next 20 here and the rest of the Top 50 here). Thanks to Katie Myler, who thinks that Exmouth Market is becoming too clever for its own good.

2. The odd thing about the Labour leadership campaign is how passive it has been so far, as if the party were once again preparing to choose a better candidate to fight the election it has just lost. Hardly anyone has mentioned what Labour’s position on the EU referendum (yes, it really is going to happen) will be, or that the party will be up against a Conservative leader who isn’t David Cameron at the next election.

I still think it will be Boris Johnson, often underestimated by Labour people as a posh buffoon, but Chris Cook makes the good point that the promotion of Robert Halfon to the Cabinet (as Minister Without Portfolio) means that the Conservatives are serious about renewing themselves as the workers’ party.

Not only that, but the Conservatives have money. One of Cameron’s lesser-noted achievements has been to eliminate the party’s debts and to build up a big surplus. He jokes in private that he has been much more successful in turning round the party’s finances than the country’s. The party has so much money that it couldn’t spend it all because of election campaign legal limits.

3. While we wait to hear from Andy Burnham, the David Davis of the Labour field, on these subjects, the Labour Party needs to consider an even more important question. Is it really prepared to have as leader someone who thinks that The Smiths haven’t lasted well?

4. We are often told that the Blairite label has outlived its usefulness. I propose a new way to categorise the two Labour tribes. There are those who didn’t believe the exit poll when they saw it at 10pm on 7 May, and those who knew instantly, however much they had been bamboozled by the regular polls, that it was right – indeed that it might have under-cooked the Tory seats figure (by 15 as it turned out).

The Disbelievers and the Exit-Pollers. Ian McKenzie speaks for the fury of the Exit-Pollers on Labour Uncut, and reproduces his ballot paper from the 2010 Labour leadership election, saying: “I took a picture of my completed ballot paper because I knew this day would come and I knew no one would believe me.”




5. Thanks to Roberto Robles for a minor adjustment to my Election Result Pedantry, which I have updated. The House of Commons Library paper on the election has slightly different figures for the parties’ share of the Great Britain (that is, excluding Northern Ireland) vote:

Conservative 37.7%, Labour 31.2%, Lib Dem 8.1% (and UKIP, not included in my historical series, 12.9%).

I was dismayed to see, though, that the paper records the Government majority as 11, by wrongly excluding the Speaker (as I explain in my pedantry). The majority is notionally 12, and 16 in practice, given that Sinn Fein doesn’t take its seats.

6. And finally, thanks to Jason for this:

“Saw a bloke today trying to assert his dominance by showing off his knowledge of perennial leguminous plants. Typical alfalfa male.”