Although the media is reporting it as "hotting up" the Leadership election is now drawing to a close.
I have been able to have numerous conversations with colleagues in the Labour Party, UNISON and LGBT Labour about the relative merits of each candidate; I attended the UNISON hustings and watched the New Statesman hustings on TV; read articles by each candidate and read numerous tweets on twitter and perused each candidate's website and read their election literature.
Quite early on I have been following Ed Balls. I am impressed by his economic literatacy; his articulation of sound Keynesian principles which we need in our current time of a Government recklessly cuting the deficit in too short a time frame with the side effect of a slashing of much needed services relied on by those most at need.
He's been effective at opposing Gove's hapless and McGoo type of performance and generally gives you the impression he can take on the Tories and provide an effective opposition to the current Government.
But that isn't why I support him as Leader. As I watched his media performances and read the articles he's been writing it's clear he has good communication qualities - persistence, clarity, ordinary language. And I genuinely like to watch him and find him engaging and interesting.
My second preference goes to David Miliband. He has better presentational skills than Ed Miliband, more experience in government and more gravitas. Of the two Milibands I think he wouldbring us into Government quicker. I am a little worried by Ed Miliband's tendency to 'give up' too much policy areas too quickly, which though to many in the Party may find pleasing (and it generally is pleasing) has a tendency to be too apologetic.
I don't want to over exaggerate. All candidates reflect a breadth of political views which ar in the centrist social democratic tendency of things. I think that we have genuinely have learned the lessons of excessive party control and a willingness of the Party to learn, not have all the answers and listen and learn. All the candidates would be effective Leaders of the Opposition and PM if Labour won an election.
Once the eletion is over we will I think find it easy to get behind the new Leader and construct an effective Opposition.
But for me the quicker and surer way of getting there is with Ed Balls and David Miliband.