An election Labour can win.

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wiltedrose.jpgSo nominations have closed for "leader of Labour in the Scottish Parliament. 

Let's start with who's not in. Ken Macintosh didn't get enough names, and I understand he's blaming me for what was taken to be an endorsement. No hard feelings, Ken, I hope. Maybe your turn will come next time. 

On the other hand, it can be no surprise to anyone that Charlie Gordon didn't get enough names; he was the clear scandal continuity candidate, and even Labour isn't that daft.

Although it does feel like intruding upon private grief, here's my take on the runners and riders.

Cathy Jamieson is being promoted by the unions and the left because they think she will return to the somewhat more radical approach she took before she became a Minister in 2001. I think they're wrong, in exactly the same way they were about Gordon Brown. Close second a likely outcome. 

Iain Gray is being promoted by the London machine and plenty of the younger lot around this building. The latter think he'll be a passionate campaigner, and cite his Oxfam experience. The former know better, and think he'll be easier to keep on a leash. Although brown and gray are the least exciting of colours, I think Labour will plump for Iain.

Andy Kerr is the compromise candidate, without an obvious constituency as far as I can see, although he's given himself a slightly radical edge by keeping an open mind on the referendum issue. I predict third place.

One Labour activist told me he was pleased that there will at last be an election Labour can win. But none of these contenders look to have enough in the tank to take on Salmond.

Update: John Curtice and I never normally agree. But when the conclusion is this obvious?

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