Dan Jarvis echoes Tony Blair, ribs Peter Mandelson... and ignores Jeremy Corbyn
Labour backbencher Dan Jarvis today laid out his vision for the future of Britain’s economy in a speech which mentioned Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband – but contained no references to Jeremy Corbyn.
Jarvis is widely touted as a potential challenger to Corbyn and the speech comes as he has taken donations from two businessmen to help him develop a political strategy.
It also comes as some restless Labour MPs are backing a "show not tell" approach that sees leadership hopefuls winning over left-leaning members by delivering speeches that chime with their values - rather lecturing them on where Corbyn is going wrong.
Thus, in his speech at the Demos think tank, Jarvis made a clear pitch to the soft left of his party.
He argued that Labour should champion "a government that is more active, businesses that look to the long term, and trade unions that stand up for our workers".
In a passage reminiscent of Ed Miliband, he stated that the capitalist system should work “as servant, not as master”.
Jarvis was introduced by former Blair speechwriter Philip Collins and echoed Blair's most famous soundbite:
"The next Labour government must take a more radical economic approach – more radical than we had under Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband....
"Put simply, Labour needs to be tough on inequality, tough on the causes of inequality."
In a dig at Peter Mandelson, he stated that:
"New Labour were intensely relaxed about things they shouldn’t have been intensely relaxed about."
In the question and answer session afterwards, Jarvis put the pressure on the current leadership ahead of May’s local elections. Asked if they were a test of Corbyn’s leadership, he said:
"The metric by which all of us are judged in politics is votes in the ballot box. We’ve got very important elections taking place in May. It’s a major test for all of us, all of us have to be out there making that case."
He sidestepped questions about his own leadership ambitions, stating:
"The public will frankly have very little sympathy with those people within the Labour party who are focused on anything other than trying to secure a Labour win in May and a referendum win in June. I can absolutely tell you that’s what 100% of my focus will be on."
Jarvis also insisted his remarks were "in no way seeking to be a critique of anybody in the Labour Party".
Of course, many Labour MPs will recall that David Miliband made similar noises after his 2008 Guardian article which knifed Gordon Brown in the front by not naming him...
PHOTO: Laura Lean/PA Wire/Press Association Images