Calling himself the "change candidate" on BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday 17 May 2015, Andy Burnham, a favourite to become the new Leader of the Labour Party and currently Shadow Health Secretary, admitted that the previous Labour government (the one defeated in 2010) had been found wanting on the economy and the Party would not return to power unless the electorate judged them to be competent in this field.
After 2001, he said, Labour had rightly invested in schools and hospitals and although this was not the cause of the Crash, they had allowed the deficit to get too high so that when it happened "we weren't in a strong enough position."
When challenged by Mr Marr that this was not the whole story and that the perception of Labour in government (at the time and still when the Opposition) was to instinctively "Borrow more and spend more. Borrow more and spend more."
This drew the refreshingly honest response from Mr Burnham: "We need to make a break with the past to establish economic competence and a fiscally responsible approach to business – pro-business...we need to re-build our relationship with the business community..."
To help him in this task will be Leeds West MP and current Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Rachel Reeves. A former economist at the Bank of England, Ms Reeves is giving her backing to Andy Burnham in his bid for the Leadership.
Mr Burnham stated that as well as the economy, Labour had to recognise the importance of Immigration to the electorate and he is now advocating that the proposed European Union Referendum on membership and in which cross-border immigration throughout the EU is a major right and therefore issue, should be brought forward from its current proposed date of mid-to-late 2017.
In this matter, Mr Burnham is voicing the opinion of many in all the political parties, not to mention the business community and Markets who wish the issue to be resolved sooner rather than later.
Strongly pro-European and eager to make the case for staying in the EU, Mr Burnham acknowledged that reforms are necessary and expects Prime Minister David Cameron to deliver "a credible package of reforms", promising that if the PM failed to do so after having made it an important campaign issue, he would "hold him to account."
Throughout the conversation between the men, no word on the deficit and the need to balance the Budget by the end of this Parliament or the imposition of a Mansion Tax and such like, so we can take it that Mr Burnham is broadly supportive of the measures to reduce spending in the order of £30 billion.
This is a far cry from Labour's failed election campaign and is much more reminiscent of a New Labour approach. It would have been a serious threat to a Conservative victory if this had been presented to the voters instead of a programme that amounted to a throwback to the 1970s.
Labour's whole campaign had been to deny aspiration and ambition, shared by all classes of society, and yet seen as improper emotions that had to be fought by unreasonably taking back from the successful. It reminded me of a comment from a web blog called Aesop's Retreat. In April 2011, "Keno" wrote in reply to political article:
"Wealth envy is a lot easier a campaign platform to run on than facts, figures and the painful truth. And yet, there are deniers, who can't see it's the spending, stupid."
It doesn't fully describe Labour's campaign of course, but it goes uncomfortably far.
Never mind, that's all in the past and since my candidate, not that I could cast a vote, pulled out of the Leadership contest – yes, it was Chuka Umunna – I am sure that Mr Burnham's bid will succeed, or I'll eat a whole packet of liquorice allsorts. No, you won't catch me chomping down on hats or kilts!
There were a couple of other matters briefly touched upon. Firstly, Marr challenged Mr Burnham on whether he is the favoured candidate of Len McCluskey, General Secretary of the Unite Union.
"Are you happy to be the Union's candidate?" pressed the TV journalist.
"I am the unifying candidate." answered the Shadow Secretary.
Very good, but Mr Burnham did stress that, to Ed Miliband's "great credit", the rules had very much changed and that the principle was now, one member, one vote, which will indeed have defanged Union power to some extent, but unless a future Parliament brings in some form of state campaign funding, Unite's threat to cease its substantial funding to the Labour Party, ignoring Union wishes will always carry considerable risk.
The second issue was the Labour Party in Scotland and should it be decoupled from the nationwide Party, to which Mr Burnham agreed that "...there is a case for a separate, independent Scottish Labour Party" and that this would be looked at in the near future.
Scottish Labour could well be considered the Party's "elephant in the room". As the campaign for the General Election was drawing to a close and the left-wing Scottish Daily Record published a poll predicting a total Scottish National Party sweep of all of Scotland's 59 Westminster seats, the Scottish Labour Party tried, in vain, to distinguish itself by referring the their colleagues South of the Border, as "Westminster Labour".
The Scottish National Party, at least in its rhetoric, has for quite some time, positioned itself to the left of Labour and boasted that it had assumed the true socialist mantle when Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson et al pulled the national Party to the centre, when at times, even the Liberal Democrats were more to the left than Labour.
On election night Labour suffered shock after shock as soon as Big Ben struck 10pm. The first being when the BBC Exit Poll predicted that the Conservatives would certainly be the largest Party and a little later, could possibly reach 316 seats!! – the Conservatives actually won with 331 seats – but not taking Swindon South, North Staffordshire or Nuneaton, was as nothing when the Scottish results started to come in after 2.20am on the Friday morning.
"Near extinction" one commentator remarked, with a number of swings to the SNP of over 30 per cent in Labour's heartland of Clydeside.
One prominent case in point: Jim Murphy, Scottish Labour Party Leader and an ex-Cabinet member at Westminster, lost his East Renfrewshire seat to Kirsten Oswald who only became active in the SNP during the September 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum. SNP candidate from 30 January 2015, Ms Oswald won with a majority of over 3,700 on a swing of 31.7 per cent.
The SNP have 56 of Scotland's 59 Westminster seats with the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour each having one.
Although Jim Murphy narrowly won a vote of confidence on 16 May as Scottish Labour Party Leader, he immediately resigned, blaming Len McCluskey for playing a large part in his demise.
Things shouldn't be dull in Labour circles, North or South of the Border. Over to you Andy.