Monday, January 23, 2012


Ed Has Better Days to Come

It seems like nothing is going right for Ed Miliband. In the national polla. the ST showed Tories on 41 and Labour on 36. Even the poor old Nick Clegg's party on 9% could not distract the media from focusing on poor old Ed. Asked whether he was doing 'well or badly', a heart sinking 86% answered the latter with 65% saying he is not the best leader for Labour. Moreover, one BBC interviewer recently asked him if he was too ugly to be a party leader. Now this used to be said about Herbert Hoover, had he been standing in modern elections and, famously, Robin Cook was deemed to look too much like a garden gnome to become Labour leader (not that it seemed to reduce his attractiveness to women, but that's another story).

His former 'guru, Maurice Glasman has criticised Ed recently for having "no strategy, no narrative and no energy" Given that politics is now so presidential and
so dependent on charismatic leaders, these indicators are not just disappointing, they are dire indeed. Yet Ed was right on phone hacking, made a valid distinction between 'predatory' and 'producer' capitalism at his party conference which Cameron, Cable and Clegg have sidled up to and quietly appropriated. The problem is the public either don't notice or don't care. Should Labour begin to look for another leader?

It's a long and often bloody process, selecting for another leader in the Labour Party, or any party for that matter. And the public are turned off even more by the inevitable sniping and feuding such contests produce. But even after only 16 months I still think it is too early to jettison this calm, courageous, bright young man.

Even Tory Mathew Parris says in last Saturday's Times that:

'attacks on (Ed) are cruelly overdone. Mr Milband may not set the Thames on fire, but he isn't crazy and he isn't wicked and the public may yet warm to his quiet intelligence and essential moderation.'

Parris goes on to suggest that the union attacks precipitated by Ed's acceptance of the government's cuts programme, offers a golden opportunity for Miliband, a Clause Four' moment whereby he can illustrate his fighting spirit and independence by en ding the link between his party and the unions. Sounds good Mathew, but only two tiny flaws in your argument. Firstly, Labour was born out of the trade union movement and ending the link would be much more controversial and fratricidal than rewriting Clause Four. Secondly it would remove the party's chief source of funding, which would surely cause the whole party to founder. Disingenuous Mathew? Seems a bit like it. But on Ed's looks... well, I'm no kind of expert, but I would have said he's quite a good looking guy, certainly more so than smoothichops Etonian Cameron.

Regardless of the reasons for it, Ed Miliband's poll rating are truly appalling for this stage of an economic recession. As a Tory...I sincerely hope he leads them into the next election. I suspect most Labour supporters have realised the obvious...his brother would have been much better.
I sincerely hope for his sake he has better days to come - but then Skipper, how could he have worse ones? AS you note, things are desperate indeed at the moment. Labour has not, however, deposed a leader by main force since George Lansbury in 1935 - and I think we're a long way off a repeat (he had nearly four years, apart from anything else).

"Robin Cook was deemed to look too much like a garden gnome to become Labour leader (not that it seemed to reduce his attractiveness to women, but that's another story)"

One of the most baffling features of New Labour, to me at least, remains the success of Robin Cook, David Blunkett and John Prescott in the lists of love. It's almost as incomprehensible as Edwina Currie being an object of passion (only almost). Are there any studies that you know of considering how wealth and/or power can overcome what appear to be the most formidable romantic hurdles? And if so, do they use these as case studies?
I'm baffled too is the answer. I think Blunkett was merely a victim of a woman who liked powerful men. Henry Kissinger allegedly was a similar beneficiary of female interest of the 'aphrodisiac of power.' Interestig area of research but for someone anticipating a career in the tabloid press perhaps....
Alas I have similar feelings about Ed to those I developed in Sept 2007 when I first saw Gordon Brown in action at a non-choreographed, unscripted event. I should have placed my bet on Cameron being the next PM then when the odds were still favourable.

We have little hope of winning with a leader who lacks the common touch whatever that might be. Unfortunately it's quite difficult, even for the someone, to determine what sort of leader someone will be until they actually become one.

Even more unfortunately it's pretty well impossible to depose a Labour leader however inept they prove to be. The Tories have always been much better at that nasty sort of thing....
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