I get the feeling that his weird melange of positions would not have been half as much a series of liabilites in the sixties as they were by 1980, because a lot of them weren't activated as litmus tests by then to the same degree. Like, him being an anti-marketeer, him being a prices-and-incomes industrial modernisation union bugbear etc.Agreed on Shore. Had he taken a run earlier in the 1970s at some point, he would have had a better shot at the leadership for a number of reasons - the most pertinent of which is probably his more straightforward ideological tendencies. Knowing where a candidate stood was integral - as attested by Bryan Gould in his own memoirs (which doesn’t mention an offer from Smith, but that logic of dropping from the leadership race does come up in advice to Bryan from Kinnock and multiple other sources) - to courting MPs’ support during the campaign. Ambivalent older MPs and uninitiated new MPs could be swayed to almost any candidate so long as they had proven momentum and a position from which to reach out across the party - any candidate of eclectic opinions faced being pilloried from all sides and never gaining momentum because they’re always tripping over themselves to make their case for the leadership.
Born twenty years too late?