The Thick of It

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ed Miliband's opportunity

One of Ed Miliband's undoubted strengths is that he isn't as closely associated by the public with the Blair-Brown years as his brother or Ed Balls. He worked closely with Gordon Brown for a number of years but is seen as a "new man" and his focus on a "new generation" leading Labour is right. He needs to draw a careful line under the previous regime(s) in today's conference speech.

Ed Miliband also needs to be very careful. Several times during the hustings for the leadership other candidates Ed Balls and Andy Burnham were forthright in criticising other candidates for "rubbishing the record" of Labour in government. Miliband needs to tread a careful path between presenting a vision for the future but not trashing New Labour's achievements. If he goes too far in criticising the past I fear he will give credibility to Tory attacks that Labour's years in government were a failure. If that narrative wins then it will be very difficult for him to claw Labour back into power.

He has a tremendous opportunity demonstrated by today's YouGov poll showing that Labour has overtaken the Tories in opinion polls for the first time in over two years. His speech needs to win more gruond on the Tories to ensure that his lead isn't gobbled up by the Tory conference next week. The perfect start? We'll wait and see...

3 comments:

Colm said...

The chance of moving past the Blairite/Brownite split figured highly in my reasons for voting for Ed Miliband. I found that period completely alienating.

Tim McLoughlin said...

More alienating than a Tory government? Much progress in renewing the fabric of our national infrastructure was made together with the minimum wage and tax credits making people better off. Was it the personality feuds that alienated you?

Colm said...

Yes, the personality feuds, not Labour being in Government.