Wednesday, May 12, 2010

David Miliband's Tactical Error

So, David Miliband is the first out of the traps in the Labour leadership contest. It could be that to announce on the first day of a Conservative government - oops, Conservative-LibDem government - is a tactical mistake. Why do it when all the media lenses are trained on the Conservatives and the LibDems. He would have done better to wait a while.

And why on earth do it outside the St Stephen's Entrance to the House of Commons? Far too safe. I'd love to know who the woman is on the right of the picture. I suspect she is a newly elected Labour MP, but she looked like someone who had just been grabbed off the street to take part in a staged photo-op.

I don't think David Miliband can win. When you evaluate likely election winners you need to look at the electorate which will be voting. In this case I don't think Miliband has enough appeal either with his fellow MPs, the unions or party members. MPs see him as a serial coward. In addition, he will be seen as the bearer of the Blairite torch. That is toxic in today's Labour Party.

My prediction - and you know how good I am at those - is that his brother Ed Miliband is a far better bet if he chooses to compete for the leadership. My outside bet is Andy Burnham.

56 comments:

Michael Heaver said...

The dark horse for me, and someone who would actually be a good leader I think to emerge from New Labour's collapse, is Jon Cruddas. He would at least give Labour back a purpose and identity.

Miliband would just blend into Cameron and Clegg.

Neil said...

Andy Burnham would be a disaster for Labour. I hope they vote him in.

Dont rate Ed Milliband either.

Desperate Dan said...

In the absence of James Purnell I'd go for Andy Burnham. But I think Labour would prefer to stay out of office with a Miliband as leader than in office with someone else. Its a bit like the way the Tories cut off their noses to spite their faces by denying the leadership to the vote winning Michael Heseltine.

Dr Snuggles said...

They do look glum! The woman on the right looks like the woman on the left; maybe she was photoshopped in to boost the numbers.

Bill Quango MP said...

Miliband D maybe a toxic Blairite,
But Balls is a toxic Brownite.
They are all toxic alike.

Neil Evans said...

He's an unbelievably insincere slimeball - every time you see him smirking on tv you feel he's just on word away from embarrassing himself or the country (again). He's got absolutely no leadership qualities, he doesn't come with any money for the bankrupt hulk of NuLabour and he's an arch Blairite who has nothing to offer that's not now been homogenised into the Con/Lib coalition.

I genuinely don't know who to put my money on, but considering Labour have lost so much ground in the middle england and the middle class that they're going to have to turn to 'grass roots' not the 'trust-fund roots' of the NuLabour project - that means a lurch to the left surely?

p smith said...

I wouldn't profess to know how the PLP and party membership would vote, not since they chose Harman over Johnson over the deputy leadership at any rate.

But from my point of view (ie the point of view of a natural Labour voter who utterly accepts that we deserve to be out of office but who looks optimistically at the challenges of opposition and reducing the Libdems to a rump at the next election), I would much prefer Ed over David.

Why? Because Ed doesn't look like some kind of constipated android when he speaks. And because he didn't spend the last two years briefing against his own leader like a coward rather than getting on with his job which just happened to be one of the great offices of state.

Burnham is too green and overeager and if they choose Balls, they will deserve to be out of power for a generation. The man is an abomination.

trevorsden said...

My money would go on Ed Milliband. Labour would be plain daft to chose anyone else - but we will have to see how he performs if he goes for it.

may I repeat by commet from yesterday 9if indeed i made it here) but it was quite clear that there was a rainbow over Buckingham palace as cameron arrived.

But where was his bullet proof Limo and police outriders on the way back - he seemed to leave in the car he arrived in.

FX Man said...

The re-grouping begins:

http://fxbites.blogspot.com/2010/05/re-group-strategy.html

Conand said...

Ed Miliband said the Lib-Lab talks were really positive. :)

It wasn't really true.

James Burdett said...

I think that his biggest mistake was to attack, albeit in veiled terms, the Lib Dems for joining the Cameron coalition.

50 Calibre said...

And I thought that Mr Balls was an absolute certainty given his immense support base within the Labour Party...

Patrick said...

The Milibands are about as appealing as the Kray Twins.

Trubes said...

Iain, the woman on the right of Millibonkers is the new Green party MP.

Di.x

ollie said...

The one man who could have saved Labour from oblivion is standing down - James Purnell.

Miliband hasn't got the guts to be effective, Ed is too much of a geek. It's great seeing Labour gasp for breath, though, isn't it?

Jim said...

The odds have certainly been a bit weird. eg last weekend Burnham as a 25 to 1 outsider while David Miliband is something like 1/2 on.

Douglas said...

Ahem. David Cameron called in a Liberal Conservative Government.

Its going to be strange being on the same side as Tories like yourself who are totally willing to try this coalition.

I really hope it works.

steve said...

Ed really? You know these people I don't. But really Ed? They need that Hung Parliament guy everybody voted for at the election....

Alan Firth said...

Don't agree. DM has excellent communication skills, is very personable, has a sense of humour, and imo knocks the spots off anyone else when he's on TV - and we all know how important that is. Moreover, Lab MPs recognise he is electable across the spectrum of voters (which must include those who switched from Lab to Con this time). My money would be on DM winning the leadership vote and I and doubtless many other Lab supporters would be very happy with that.

golden_balls said...

What better day to announce it than the first day of a Lib-Con government. Lots of Labour and left of centre voters will be looking at todays new con-dem nation with horror.

D.Milliband is the only show in town Ed Milliband doesn't have the gravitas of his older brother. Lets have a proper contest though 8 weeks is long enough and we can have a Labour leader in by July.

On a day that The Lib-Cons are corrupting politics with the annoucement of making confidence votes dependent on 55pc of MPs - not 50pc plus one as now - is profoundly undemocratic and wrong.

We would never have had the Thatcher Government of 79 if this goes through. I still see no comment about this on your blog iain. I

boggartblog said...

I confine my betting to horses, they are ore intelligent than politicians and less easily corrupted than humans. But if I was having a bet I might have a highly speculative few quid on Jack Straw to come through as the compromise candidate.

I'm not saying he'd be a good leader mind.

<http://www.greenteethmm.com/labour-contenders.shtml

Paul Halsall said...

Since Harriet is not running, I would go for Cruddas. After that Ed Milliband. After that David Milliband. And Yvette before Balls!

And I would not mind Darling.

Sean McHale said...

That is Mary Creagh MP for Wakefield on David's right, not sure about on his left.

Ed the Shred said...

Good grief, who died?!

That lot look like they are at a funeral of some disliked person.

On second thoughts ....

javelin said...

I dealt with Andy Burnham when he was at health on behalf of a charity and he seemed a really nice guy.

I think he will be best for Labour for two simple reasons.

After the scale of the cuts (100s of billions) then the UK will (a) look for somebody who is a "nice guy" and (2) that both the boys Milliband will be disgraced by association with Brown and the humungously, massively galaxian size debts he has run up.

Having said that Burnham could well do with waiting until the election after next. I think the public forensic analysis of Brown's completely mental and irresponsible spending spree will still be ringing in the voters ears.

John said...

I hope the odious and poisonous Ed Balls (my MP!) wins.

That should see them out of power for a generation.

Do power players in the Labour movement like Charlie Whelan really think that a Labour tribal loyalist like Ed Balls would appeal to the electorate? Are they mad?

If Dave and Nick can make a success of this coalition then a party tribalist like Ed Balls will look like a dinosaur.

Dave Robertson said...

I think the woman on the right is the MP for Stockport, Ann Coffey (see http://www.epolitix.com/mpwebsites/mpwebsitepage/mpsite/ann-coffey-5/mppage/picture-gallery-5/)

John said...

@Tubes at 6:08 pm

"Iain, the woman on the right of Millibonkers is the new Green party MP."

The bloke 2 to the left of him in the background is Adam Boulton wearing glasses.

He probably thought Alistair Campbell would be there and wanted a quiet word with him...

Chris said...

Interesting, this...see reference on No 10 website - Cleggy has special responsibility for political and constitutional reform. Wonder what that tells us?

Deputy Prime Minister, Lord President of the Council (with special responsibility for political and constitutional reform)

The Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP

bewick said...

Can't agree with the Miliband supporters. Maybe they are seeing and hearing something different from that which I perceive. They are both "strange" with facial and other "ticks" - just like Brown with his bucket jaw and hand movements. I think such often indicate underlying character flaws - or maybe I'm just too biased!
Ed SEEMS more sincere. Then again he spouts the most amazing load of ********. Reminds me of a nutter at Kings X station who once cornered me and very sincerely explained to me how people on the the television spoke directly to him. At the moment Labour do not have a credible successor. With luck they still won't in 5 years.
Then again it may not matter because if the EU has its way we won't need a Parliament by then.

Moriarty said...

Nice of goldenballs to bless us with his prognosis.

Personally, if I'd spent the last three months making predictions that proved to be garbage I'd be silent for a while. But like a rubbish-spewing shark he obviously thinks he has to keep moving or die.

Goldenballs - a period of humility might be appropriate.

wendy mann said...

i can predict that whoever is voted in as leader it will be pro israel, pro war and someone who can be relied upon in the imperial adventures of the neo conservatives led by the americans.

wendy mann said...

i can predict that whoever is voted in as leader it will be pro israel, pro war and someone who can be relied upon in the imperial adventures of the neo conservatives led by the americans.

Moriarty said...

Andy Burnham will be the next leader of the Labour Party.

norman said...

@Sean McHale. Yes it is Mary Creagh who was the leader of Labour Party in Islington Council, a Blairite and a champagne socialist. I want Balls to be elected to consign Labour into oblivion.

Peter said...

When you look at the contenders you see why they never quite got around to dumping Brown.

Nigel said...

The gravitas of banana boy !?!

Good to see that the recent news hasn't robbed you of your sense of humour, g_balls.

Whoever it is, the process ought to be fun to watch.

Allan said...

Strange that no-one has mentioned Darling...

Alfie said...

I agree. Ed Miliband will win. He's a much better bet than his rather arrogant brother (who obviously believes he's the anointed one).

Sibling rivalry eh? It's just like the good old days of young Tone and Gordy.... I wonder if they'll be having dinner at the Granita? Then they can agree a sort of Milidynasty...

Miliband and Miliband the Sequel.. what a prospect...

RJF said...

Given what seems like a fairly radical agenda being bandied around by the new government, it was strange just how tired David Milliband's words sounded.

Part of me simply doesn't care which apparatchik comes out on top. The fact that the totalitarian inept scoundrels have left the building is sufficient right now.

redandproud said...

The fact that you appear troubled by DM's announcement must mean he has time it right!

Lauchlan McLean said...

I think Desperate Dan is mistaken
It was Hague that was dumped by the Tory grandee's for being a grammar school product. He is still more popular with the rank and file than DC and did not lose as many to UKIP.

Crumpled Fiveskin said...

Cruddas.

spiritleveller said...

I'm hoping the left of the party can ensure Cruddas makes the final round. While I don't necessarily expect him to win, it's symbolic value is important. The left wing of the party, which I would contend makes up the bulk of its membership, has been marginalised for too long and now needs to use this opportunity to make itself heard.

Merseymike said...

Most of you are Tories, so to be frank, it doesn't really matter all that much what you think. Labour's focus will be on those who voted LibDem this time rather than on convinced Tories

Similarly, Labour need to make sure that their platform will be distinctly different from the Libservatives - I certainly think the localism obsession will prove to be deeply unpopular when it is realised that its outcome is an institutionalisation of the postcode lottery

As for who will be leader, that's initially our business - though I agree that David Miliband won't be the victor.

tapestry said...

Haven't you heard. Gordon Brown has cancelled his resignation, saying he was tricked into it by Nick Clegg. He'll be back next week.

Unsworth said...

"MPs see him as a serial coward"

I cannot think of a single current Labour MP who is not a coward. Bob Marshall-Andrews was pretty good, but even he had limitations. I suppose the late Robin Cook might be another with some nerve.

These people will be very happy to stand behind their elected Leader - both in order to avoid the onslaught and the better to place their stilettos.

I look forward to the emergence and, particularly, to observing the machinations. It's going to be a fun summer, what with the unions flexing their muscles and simultaneously trying to appear as statesmen kingmakers.

Wonder what Mandelson will do to entertain himself now.

Unsworth said...

@ P smith

Well said.

Unsworth said...

@ Merseymike

Not quite. What about those constituencies where the vote moved from Labour direct to Conservative? What would Labour do about them? In my area a Labour majority of a few score was turned to a Conservative majority of well over ten thousand. Will Labour now abandon this constituency, turn its back?

As to the choice of Leader, yes it certainly is your business - and your party may or may not regain popularity depending on who it chooses. Your policies are one thing (and largely decided by unions etc), their presentation is another. Which of the candidates is best at that?

Thus, whether you like it or not, your party is obliged to consider and take account of the entire voting public's view of your likely contenders.

Windsor Tripehound said...

Who to choose as Labour's new leader? I echo the words of Dr. Johnson:

“Sir, it is not for me to apportion the degree of iniquity between a louse and a flea.”

james said...

If I had a vote the sensible option should be Alistair Darling,seems a decent bloke and make a fair job of what GB left him with, and has no left/right factions for or against him.

Mike Law said...

I'm interested to see if any BME or female members puts themselves forward.

I was a Labour Party member for 29 years and could never quite get my head around the incessant banging on about equalities (will pointing at the Conservatives poor record - regardless of the fact that the Conservatives are the only UK political party to have selected a woman leader!) while continually failing to develop the talents of, and encourage, more of their BME and female members.

Erskine May said...

What are we to read into the fact that readers cannot agree on who the woman is stood on the right?

Peter Baruffati said...

St Stephens? Is his Feast Day not shared with Boxing Day? Seems entirely appropriate to me.

Martin Bain said...

The woman on the right of the picture is Ann Coffey, MP for Stockport and former PPS to both Blair and Darling.

Unsworth said...

@ Mike Law

Do you think its a lack of encouragement or a lack of inclination? Maybe we ought to consider that before starting down the long and bitter road of enforced diversity. Anyway, what's your view?