The Thick of It


Monday, March 21, 2011

Do problems lurk for Labour?

Which Ed will succeed in making Labour credible again? Ed Miliband is continuing to grow into leadership and fight for his status while Ed Balls is carrying Labour's fight to the Tories.

Last week saw discussion about whether Miliband's lack of support will damage Labour's chances of success under him. The jury is still out. It is clear that the media will continue to paint Miliband fatal to the party's chances of success. This early into the job and with so many unknowns ahead it is hard to say. There is the reduction in the number of MPs, the AV referendum and the risk of a double-dip recession. It is certain the political landscape will change dramatically over the next two to three years. Many paint this is a huge threat to Labour but Miliband should see this as a huge opportunity.

Much of Tim Montgomerie's weekend Telegraph article resonated with me. Yes, he writes for the Telegraph and runs Conservativehome. Yes, he is also right even though he is a Tory. He highlighted several issues that Labour needs to address to succeed, one of which included Miliband himself, but also:

  • Are Labour too reliant on Tory failure to grant them success by default
  • How will Labour win in the South? Just as Cameron had to win outside the South
  • Ed Balls seems to have the answers that (he suggests) Miliband lacks
The Labour Party has to address these problems. The party cannot rely on the other side messing up - that is not a long-term and stable basis for power. It might work in the short term but will only lead to problems. If you win by default you will have nothing positive to offer the country with your power. 

Continuing to highlight falling living standards and hammering home that it doesn't have to be like this is one part of that strategy. There needs to be more, which includes fighting the claim, that currently sticks, that Labour and not the global financial crisis is to blame for the country's deficit.

Which Ed comes out of that struggle with the most to show isn't clear. They can do it together, or one of them could do it alone. Could it be that another Ed scuppers the other Miliband's chances of leading Labour in the future?

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