I received an email last week, as a Labour party member, telling me that I could attend hustings of Labour leadership candidates in Southampton or London. Thanks.
Why not Brighton, I thought? But then, I am merely 50 miles from London and have hardly any cause for complaint. I took a look at all the hustings announced on LabourList. Welsh members can go to Cardiff. Scots members have missed the Glasgow opportunity. It’s not just about about location though. Many of these hustings are by invitation only. But the vast majority are in London.
I’ve made a wordle of announced hustings locations to illustrate the point. I worry that our Labour leadership election is predominantly for journos, insiders and wonks only. That’s even more depressing than it being focussed on London.
Kerry McCarthy MP, Labour’s Twitteratrix, has said that the London-centric geographic bias is because the candidates have “day jobs” in London. I think that’s a weak argument.
Frankly, if any candidate wants to win this race they should make a point of visiting 90% of CLPs over the next 3 months. It is possible.