And brought forth a mouse.
As spring moves into summer, so election season moves into leadership race season: this time, almost inevitably, Labour. First, the candidates, with the best prices from Oddschecker, newly minus Jon Cruddas, then my outsider's view on what Labour need from a leader.
1. David Miliband, 4/6. The man who covered up the torture of a British citizen does not deserve to be Labour leader. Next.
2. Ed Miliband, 11/4. His supporters say he speaks human, but if so, even I'm not wonkish enough for humanity. Also, with the new coalition talking up their environmental credentials, is the right Labour leader someone so bought into carbon capture and storage? Ignore the Guardian spin: just read the quote: "There is no alternative to CCS if we are serious about fighting climate change."
3. Ed Balls, 13/1. He has his fans, but I find it hard to believe anyone thinks he's up to this task. His bedside manner is that of a doctor angry that the patient has refused to get well, and determined to prescribe the exact same medicine over and over until they do.
4. Andy Burnham, 16/1. An even more Blairite choice, and one of the first to come out during negotiations last week and to help condemn us all to a Cameron-led government. I got a little money on him at a better price than this, but only because I think Labour are incapable of doing what's necessary and I therefore thought it was a value bet.
5. Harriet Harman, 28/1. You have to get a long way down the bookies' odds to find your first female candidate, and I think the first one you come to is the wrong one. Fair or not, Harman feels too ancien régime for the job, and even when she's right she appears almost delighted to put backs up.
6. Yvette Cooper, 33/1. For my money (and again, yes, I did put a little down on her) Cooper is the only sensible choice Labour have in front of them. She actually does come across as normal, despite being married to the egregious Balls. It's intensely irritating to watch her be asked about his prospects, given what a far superior choice she would be. It'd be like throwing away a sweetie and putting the paper in your mouth. She is a thoroughly New Labour candidate at the point where that's really not what they need, and also sullied by expenses, but from this field I reckon she'd be best placed to start to turn it around.
The remainder really aren't worth considering, with the possible exception of Darling. Anyone who thinks John McDonnell stands a chance does not know the modern Labour party. Peter Mandelson to lead from the Lords is an amusing prospect, but I agree with the bookies that it's about as likely as Blair himself coming back (I note you can get 100/1 on TB if you really want to throw your money away).
But if Labour could design a perfect candidate what would this person look like? They'd have been against the war from the start, and not in hock to the bankers. Someone in touch with the principles that motivated Labour, back when they had principles. A person with a decent chunk of experience, too, but certainly not sullied by having served as a Minister.
Someone who knows their way around the TV studios from the off, someone without the need to fake the necessary authenticity. In short, it's Caroline Lucas MP. And no, they can't have her.
p.s. sorry I didn't have any good mice pics. I know those are hamsters, thanks.