Ed Miliband is sinking without a paddle
Ed Miliband’s leadership of the Labour party following their second worst defeat in living memory has been poor to say the least. It is true that he has improved upon Gordon Brown’s leadership, but Brown’s leadership was so anaemic that any politician – even Diane Abbott could have improved the fortunes of the party. The poll results of the party are dangerously low for a party in opposition. Labour has averaged a 2-5 point lead on YouGov and other polls which operate on a 3% margin of error. This may seem like a consistent lead for Labour especially when the electoral map favours them due to the constituency changes, which were incorporated by the New Labour government. However one of the golden truths of elections in this country is that the current government usually build up support the closer the election gets. If this remains the case then the soft Labour lead will disappear as the election comes closer and the coalition can offer the electorate more goodies as the election moves ever closer. So what is it that Ed Miliband has lacked?
The criticisms which have radiated towards Ed Miliband’s leadership of the party are numerous. One of the most devastating is that people don’t see him as Prime Ministerial. This may seem as a ‘nothing issue’, an issue based around looks, performance and vocal qualities are surely not relevant and not important. However this is wrong, if you look at electorally the most successful Prime Ministers of recent history especially Thatcher and Blair they exude authority. They exuded authority, positivity and a certainty which people could believe. For Blair in essence he still does an authority which made voting for them seem like a natural instinct, as our electoral battles have become more presidential in their nature the leader matters more than ever. Ed Miliband doesn’t exude authority, he exudes the authority of a little kid being picked on in the playground which is not positive. This translates into personal approval ratings of 19% for Ed Miliband who feel he would make the best Prime Minister, this is half of the people who feel David Cameron would make the best Prime Minister. While some political commentators may shrug off these approval ratings they are important, people more than ever with the TV debates make their decisions based around cosmetic factors, one example of this is Nick Clegg’s rise to popularity after the television debates.
A second criticism of the Miliband leadership is the lack of a coherent message and the lack of professionalism within the team which is closest to him. While it is true that in recent months he has hired names such as David Axelrod who was one of the masterminds of Barack Obama’s campaign which led him to the Whitehouse this seemingly hasn’t focused the opposition which continually make mistakes. There have been accusations of unprofessionalism amongst the Miliband team, from having the wrong message for the local and european elections to using euphemisms such as ” Let Bartlett be Bartlett” which were created on the west wing. Not only this but recent moves to oust Mr Skinner from the NEC which were allegedly made by the inner circle of Miliband does nothing to stop the impression that the team handling Ed and the message are not up to the job.
While much of this has been corrected big mistakes have still been made, these have ranged from his toothless and horribly backfired attack on the economy to Ed posing for the Sun newspaper and within 24 hours apologise to the general confusion and even derision from the general public. Essentially there are two main criticisms of the the inner circle, they are scatterbrained with no strategy which can be seen through Ed Balls one moment criticising profit making businesses but then such as yesterday saying labour doesn’t have a problem with profit making companies. This lack of a coherent strategy and trying to please everybody is destined to defeat. The second criticism is that they aren’t in tune with the electorate. In many opinion polls they trail on the issues ranging from immigration, the economy to welfare reform.
Ed Miliband has only several months until the election and at the moment things are looking grim not only for the party’s prospects but also for his. He was never a favorite among the main body of the party and while he has retained support of the unions with ‘bold new policies’ according to McClusky it won’t be long until he is buried if he cannot win the popular vote next May. He appears to be sinking with the lead ever tightening and more and more issues going against labour he doesn’t seem to be able to right the ship. Only time will tell if Ed is destined for defeat but at the moment things are not looking pretty.