Is Ed our IDS?

This is a sure sign of too much time on my hands.

To worry about the possibility of Ed Miliband, our leader of just over a year, not making it to the next General Election exposes an underlying unease.

I didn’t vote for Ed and he wasn’t even my second or third choice.

That said, democracy is about accepting the outcome and I have.

Ed has had a hard slog this year and leader of the opposition isn’t a great gig for anyone at the start – you have to grow into it.  Dave-call-me-dave was pretty mince to begin with and look how that turned out. (failed to win a majority with Ashcroft’s millions, media support and a Labour government on its knees – ooops sorry I digress).

Being leader of our party is a bit like herding cats, you really have no chance of instilling any discipline until you gain a profile that looks like you might win the next election.  At the moment Ed doesn’t have that.

The polls put him in the lead by about 3-9% routinely, which sounds fine but when you consider the savaging the country is taking from giddernomics and this coalition it should be much more.  It seems the voters aren’t yet sure.  Punishing Clegg and the Libdems apparently just not sure about us.

He started slowly but with the right idea of accepting where we went wrong in government.  However, he needed to defend what we did right more robustly.  Outcome of this was to irritate our own supporters and get a grudging ‘about blooming time’ from those who might have supported us once, and a’ TOLD you’ screamed from those who opposed us and always will.  Guess whose voice got heard on that one eh?

Had a refounding Labour review.  Not at all convinced this will do what he hopes – (see herding cats above).

Bumbled along a bit until #hackgate came along and it was at this point my opinion changed of his chances (up until this point I did think he was our IDS).  He did very well on this, got the tone right, held dave to account and didn’t look like an opportunist (too much).  The corner was well and truly turned.

Riots came and went and the momentum was with Ed on looking the part.  This carried on through the worsening Eurozone mess as he landed good blows on the hopelessly out of touch complacent Cameron.  All going well then.

However, this has stalled for me on the public sector pensions issue and the day of action that allowed Dave to make him look weak and say so.  This was a big call and I think Ed has found himself stuck in a politicians dilemma.  Wanting (i hope) to support the action but knowing it will be used as a club to beat him with.  2m workers gave up a days pay to protest and he didn’t support them.

If he had said I support your day of action and blame this intransigent government for causing it, I think he’d have been a shoe in to really make some progress.  He didn’t, he allowed the right-wing media to portray the Public sector as enemies of the state and was too careful about his response.

November 30th was my first ever day on strike and I want my party leader to support our struggle.  His questions at PMQ’s weren’t bad but for me it was too little too late.  The safe political reasonableness that is for the south of England is alienating traditional labour voters (and there are many of us).

Clarkson and the right-wing are winning the media battle on pensions and we need Ed to be more robust and combat at every turn their misinformation and drivel.  It aint happening.

Which brings me to my question.  Is he going to be our IDS?

Perhaps, he’s not blowing my skirt up and if he makes too many judgement errors I think he will be.

If he keeps getting spanked by Flashman at #PMQs then he will be.

If he doesn’t get some economic credibility (which considering Gidders et al) he will be.

If the cuts are weakly opposed he will be.

Ed is a genuinely decent chap, personable, articulate and bright.  Is that going to be enough or will regret that he isn’t his brother always dog his steps?

So Ed =IDS?  Not yet, and I hope never or we will be in opposition for a looong time.

Of course my next question is ‘IF not Ed Miliband then who?’

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Posted on December 4, 2011, in Political matters and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I agree..

  2. Paul Krishnamurty

    I think most of us on the Left share your unease, although I wouldn’t necessarily blame Ed. Unlike IDS who took over 4 years into a Labour government, we must remember that the public were never likely to listen to Labour for a while after the election. The Tories have to be seen to have failed first. We may be almost there.

    On the strikes, he faced an impossible position, a Tory trap. As all Labour leaders have historically. The party is in a no-win position here, although it could try and explain its historical role better.

    On the economy, the whole party needs to be braver. Halving the deficit over 5 years was only a 10% better policy than Gideon’s voodoo economics. At this pivotal moment in political and economic history, Labour needs to be bold, reject neoliberalism, stand up to big finance, invest properly in jobs and growth, and be prepared to tax wealth. Particularly tax havens and crackdown on financial secrecy. There is a huge electoral space opening up, but too many Labour people seem wedded to old, failed ideas. Their performance in media situations is an embarrassment – allowing myth after myth to be peddled.

    Ed has probably gone further than anyone in repositioning – the conference ideas about predators/producers is a good one, suggesting he gets the new political reality and wants to take the party there. Sadly, there has been little support. Apart from the admirable Stella Creasy and John Mann, why aren’t Labour MPs screaming about the Tories loanshark donors, while personal debt swamps the public? Why isn’t the heat on over the constant link between Tory donors and govt policy? How have they got away with giving Lord Ashcroft a government job? There is a chance here to expose Conservatism as nothing more than an empty vessel for vested interests, and a new Occupy movement ready to amplify the attack. Instead, the Left is coming under fire for representing workers!

    However, I’m sorry to say the one area I am concerned about Ed is in the superficial, personality department, Whether we politicos like it or not, personality matters. Why is he always wearing a suit – even at the March for the Alternative? He comes across as just another elitist politician, impeccably educated but detached from voters’ everyday experience. Of course so was Cameron, but he’s a better actor. Ed needs proper coaching, just like Thatcher did. For me, that lack of charisma is the only comparison with IDS.

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