The Thick of It


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband beat his brother by the narrowest of margins. If you read the early comments of some this means that Labour is lurching to the left with "Red Ed" at the vanguard. I admit that I didn't vote for him as I felt David might present himself better to the media and to the country. I would have been happy had any other candidates won with the exception of Diane Abbott. Interestingly he is Labour's first English born full time leader since Michael Foot.

I watched the new leader's interview with Andrew Marr this morning and was impressed. He came across better than many have given him credit for and also showed that he understands the pressures faced by many in the country. He also has decent credentials and will contrast sharply with David Cameron, whose actions in government are likely to be unpopular. Perhaps the Tories should stop gloating and take him seriously. To have got this far and beaten the favourite shows that this he is no fluke.

What is clear is that Ed will face questions unlikely to have been asked of his brother, had the result been slightly different. Gaining victory through the trade union section was unfortunate, making it easy for detractors to claim that he is some sort of 1970s Jack Jones. Ed was right to point out that he was voted for my more individuals than any other candidate. The union block vote was abolished almost 20 years ago.

Ed also has as much experience as Tony Blair or David Cameron did when taking their respective leaderships. What he now needs to do is show that he can talk centre-ground policy to ensure that he broadens Labour's appeal. I hope this starts immediately, with Tuesday's leader's speech to conference. He had the guts to talk about Labour's lost votes repeatedly during his leadership campaign. I hope this conference shows he knows where to find them.

The early signs are that he does. He chose to begin his leadership by writing for the Sunday Telegraph, with a hostile Tory audience. He used that article to stake a claim for the centre of British politics, the right move. I'm impressed and suprised by him so far, though he will face a hostile media and will need to convince many more people than just myself to make a difference.

1 comment:

Idle Pen Pusher said...

"I would have been happy had any other candidates won with the exception of Diane Abbott."

Sounds a bit racist. :(