By Ray Fleming

COMMENTATORS on the contest for the leadership of the Labour Party are having difficulty finding the right adjective to describe it. “Low-key” has been popular but on second thoughts “invisible” may seem the better choice. It turns out, however, that both are wide of the mark because the campaign -- or at least David Miliband's part of it -- is a hive of seething activity. This has become clear from a six-page leaflet produced by the David Miliband team to help all the party members who are holding meetings in their own homes to build support for him. Coffee mornings and school hall rallies, apparently, are a thing of the past; instead “home meetings” should be organised in the evenings and the leaflet takes hosts by the hand to ensure that everything goes smoothly. How to invite guests, for instance -- “its probably better to give them a call” -- and what to say to them --”This is an exciting initiative to rebuild the Labour Party from the grass roots.” When people arrive, “take their coats and offer them a drink”.

And so it goes on in excruciating detail until the big moment arrives when a video of David Miliband himself will be shown. Afterwards a discussion on “practical steps” to ensure his victory over the two Eds -- brother Ed and Ed Balls -- should be organised. Asked about the leaflet a Labour spokeswomen said it was “light-hearted and tongue-in-the-cheek”. Condescending to the point of insulting more likely.


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