SKETCH: The Labour wannabes gear up to be not New.

It’s time the Labour wannabes had their collars felt.

So strong is the Labour Party continuity in the Lady Leebership bunfight, David Miliband has had to ‘shrug off’ an endorsement by Lord Mandelson. I understand his campaign chaps were paranoid that Blair would give his former ‘Wayne Rooney’ a ringing endorsement while launching The Book of the Film of the War today: but as far as I know, he didn’t.

BBCNews called Moral Tone’s book ‘the political memoir of the century’ this afternoon. Judging from the leadership contest, he and his best friend Mandy are Joint Lepers of the Century. I keep expecting D. Miliband to deny once more that he was ever New Labour, so that Our Saviour can enter Stage Left as a ghost and confirm the prophecy of being denied thrice.

It really is totally bizarre. The Labour voting franchise among the tattered PLP and the grassroots nutters (now joined by the LibDem Fluffies) has three forms of leader locomotion from which to choose: three reverse gears (Balls), two reverse gears (Ed) or neutral (David). I suppose it all depends on whether you want an Italian or Swiss tank to drive things forward.

Anyway, as none of the wannabes in this charade want to be New Labour any more, all of them need some clearer branding about which Labour they are.

I suspect David M has to be New Improved Labour, although as yet nobody knows what the miracle ingredient might be. Andy Burnham has come out from somewhere in obscurity this afternoon to declare that he represents True Labour, so that’s him sorted – although with Lying Labour in the great majority, the bookies are probably right in predicting he will struggle for support. Ed Balls is definitely going for Whippet Labour: the only thing he hasn’t done thus far is don cloth cap and neck scarf, and he dashes so quickly from one studio to another in search of people to condemn, it’s possible he is a racing dog – as opposed to just rabid. Dianne Abbott is spoilt for choice, as she could be Double-Standards Labour, Mad Labour, or Tokenist Labour. And finally, Ed M is Harriet Labour By Proxy – a ghastly syndrome via which sufferers become convinced that Cabinet gender quotas are the solution to all Britain’s problems.

Alternatively, the competing candidates could give us a much clearer clue by attaching their bids to what class of Labour voter they’re aiming at. Burnham dubbing himself true Labour would have to be Blue Collar Candidate. Ed Balls – you can probably see this coming – is dog collar Labour, a doubly-appropriate soubriquet given the sanctimonious tone he adopts about almost everything. In his appeal to older women desperate to mother him, Ed Miliband must be grey collar man – another apt colour given his personality, and the mystery surrounding what on earth it is he does stand for. And Mr Middle Class careerist personified David Miliband couldn’t be anything other than representative of the white collar wing of the Party: white as the driven snow and utterly innocent of any torture, unethical foreign policies or putsches. As for Dianne Abbott, all I can say in these Correct times is that we should all be collar blind and treat her bid entirely on merit.