Let me start with an admission: I love women. I have the utmost respect for the superior sex, who consistently manage to stay sane in the face of screaming children, being paid less than men and dealing with stubborn trays of lasagne. I believe women are better than men, and I'm proud to say I have many female friends who would consider me a fantastic listener (when I get a moment away from recording my podcast, The Absolute Boys, and updating my microbrewery blog).
However, when it came to the Labour leadership election this year, it was clear whose name would take pride and place at the top of my ballot. Despite the majority of candidates being women, and in spite of my outstanding feminist credentials, I simply had to vote for Keir Starmer.
Trust me! There is nothing I would have liked more than to vote for the first female leader of the party. I personally agree with a lot of what Rebecca Long-Bailey has to say. I voted for Corbyn in the two leadership elections, and still proudly rock my bootleg Corbyn Adidas merch. Wow, we'll never get a guy like Corbyn back, will we? He was a real, solid, male guy. Anyway, Becky held a lot of good opinions – on public ownership, on eradicating the House of Lords, on supporting trans rights – and good for her for really holding her own on the TV! But right now, the Labour Party doesn't need creative policies, confident opposition or an ability to support the most vulnerable. It needs a male, middle-class ex-lawyer who kind of reminds me of Blair.
With Starmer, there was simply a quality I couldn't put my finger on. Despite his lukewarm centre-left position, and the fact he has no discernible imagination, he just seemed reliable. Trustworthy. Less prone to bouts of hysteria than the other candidates. I'm not sure what he plans to do with the party, but it was clear he was the right guy to lead it. The other women besides RLB (their names escape me) were all very impressive, but they just didn't have the je ne sais quoi that I believe will win votes.
I would have loved to have had a woman leader whose ideas I actually agreed with, such as RLB, or even a woman leader with potentially more populist centre-left policies, like Emily Thornberry, but now is not the time for personal ideological beliefs. Now is the time to follow the gut instinct that – and, for the life of me, I can't place where it comes from – tells me to vote for Starmer.
I look forward to him running the party. He's the right man – I mean person – for the job.