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By Jonathan Isaby

I have been wondering for some weeks what are the discernible differences between the contenders for the Labour leadership (the four ex-Cabinet members at any rate).

In covering past Tory leadership elections, I have always been able to assess the different approaches and political philosophies of each candidate, but have struggled to do this with the Labour hopefuls.

And I'm reassured that I'm not the only one.  The New Statesman's Mehdi Hasan, no less, uses his column in the new edition of the magazine to make this very point:

"This is Labour's first leadership contest in 16 years, but already there is a sense of drift and ennui. There is no great ideological difference between the leading candidates, with even the left-winger Diane Abbott doffing her cap to the achievements of the Blair-Brown years and offering familiar neo-Keynesian remedies to the country's economic problems."

"The leadership candidates are, by and large, ­intelligent, sincere and articulate – but their aims, values and, dare I say it, ideologies remain unclear, even after five weeks of exhausting campaigning. Despite the dozens of hustings, debates and interviews, none of the five candidates has yet been able to offer a convincing answer to that basic but all-important question: what do you stand for?"

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