Tag Archives: Ed Miliband

The great Ed Miliband makeover

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Last week I wrote of the ‘image’ problem that Ed Miliband – and by extension Labour – has. I highlighted the fact that the latest polls suggest just 26% of the electorate think Miliband is doing his job well and a whopping 64% think he is doing it badly.

To put it bluntly, this is not the sort of image that a potential Prime Minister in waiting wants.

Interestingly then in today’s Times ($), Sam Coates writes:

‘Labour’s new American election strategist will give Ed Miliband a makeover to make him more appealing to voters, amid jitters among senior party figures over a dip in the party’s poll ratings.’

This ‘American election strategist’ is of course the six figured salary man, Mr David Axelrod who oversaw Obama’s two election victories.

The Times article goes onto state that the Miliband makeover will,

‘look at Mr Miliband’s performance in front of the cameras. Until recently this was not a feature of Labour’s election planning. ‘There is no strategy for Ed the person,’ one senior figure said recently, despite widespread criticism of his performances. The party has been aware for several months that this is an issue. It has conducted focus groups in which members of the public were shown clips of Mr Miliband on television. The participants reacted badly.’

Or as the Daily Mail so tactfully puts it:

Ed’s dismal ratings: Four years on, he’s still less popular than Brown’

That’s right, whilst in opposition to an incredibly unpopular government, Ed Miliband is still less popular than Gordon Brown was in the dying days of the New Labour disaster.

It is interesting to see that this is on the Labour radar but one wonders, what’s the solution other than a coup d’état of the Labour Party leadership?

Can Labour win a majority in 2015 with Ed has the helm?

I don’t think so.

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Leaving the Greens to join Labour


Stephen Wood, a high profile Green Party activist has today announced that he is leaving The Green Party and joining ‘Ed Miliband’s Labour’.

Stephen was Secretary of the local Brighton party when Caroline Lucas became Britain’s first Green MP and has previously Chaired the LGBTIQ Greens. You can read his reasons for leaving in full here.

I post this message here because, despite disagreeing with his decision, I can see why he would be tempted with this move. I have met Stephen a handful of times and I have admired the pragmatism within his radical progressive politics.

At the very least I hope this acts as a wee wake up call for those active within The Green Party. A simple message can be taken from Stephen’s article that I would fully endorse. Strengthen internal structures to ensure the party remains fully democratic in both its decision making and decision implementation.

Also, no-one likes petty party politics. I know other parties don’t exactly hold out olive branches to Greens, but Green Party activists must try to rise above this. Stephen’s point about the strain of thought within the Greens that “arrogantly presumes that the Greens have the monopoly on progressive ideals” is an important one. Almost this exact phrase has been said to me by both people within the Labour Party and without.

Even if Greens don’t think it’s true, it is something that must be acknowledged to be a common perception.

It is also worth highlighting the cross-party nature of many of these problems (poor internal democratic structures, putting party before principle, power corrupting etc). Hopefully those reading this from all political persuasions will take note.

Lastly, a note of good luck to Stephen. I genuinely hope his progressive voice is heard within the Labour Party.

UPDATE:

For balance: Natalie Bennett, the Leader of The Green Party, has just tweeted this blog in response. It is the story of Pauline Ward and why she left Labour to join The Green Party. Enjoy!

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What would happen if you were judged by what you wrote when you were 17?

On Saturday, the Daily Mail chose to publish an article about him under the banner headline 'The Man Who Hated Britain'Geoffrey Levy has defended his article in the Daily Mail in which he accuses Ralph Miliband (father of Ed and David) of hating Britain by saying, “my piece was based entirely on his political views in his own words, from his early caustic diary entries about the British.”

Ignoring the fact that Levy offers no evidence to support his title that suggested Ralph Miliband hated Britain, one also has to judge the nature of this hatchet job journalism that relies primarily on a diary entry from a 17 year old Ralph.

Imagine that your 17 year old thoughts were recorded and then used against you? My 17 year old self is only 10 years behind me but already I have changed physically, politically, emotionally, spiritually and socially almost beyond recognition. I cannot even begin to imagine their irrelevance in 50 something years time.

One of the many differences between me and Ralph is that at the age of 17 I was still forming my political views. I felt passionate about issues but I lacked any context to my views. At the age of 17 Blair’s government invaded Iraq and my immediate opposition to the war was based on a crass gut instinct. My naivety led me to a response that I am proud of today in this instance but it also led me to some idiotic decisions.

To give an example, my parents and sister were both involved with local fox hunts and as such came home with Countryside Alliance materials. I read some of it and was taken in by the soft rhetoric of needing to stand up for the British countryside (something that I am still passionate about). Of course I now wouldn’t touch the Countryside Alliance with a barge poll, their inward looking blinkered conservative approach leaves then on the opposite side to me in almost every debate but I remember proudly (and my fiancé who I met at college won’t let me forget) wearing a Countryside Alliance badge to my sixth-form college.

The shame of it! But what can you deduce from this about me? I would hope very little other than teenagers sometimes make bad decisions!

My point here is simple – my 17 old politics were crass and I said and did some things I am proud of and some things I am not. I am sure the same could be said for most people.

To base an entire hatchet job of a man who, amongst other things, authored at least two books, battled the NAZIS in WW2, holds a PhD from LSE and has taught at Universities around the world, is journalism that is barely worth the paper it is written on.

For some real journalism and a sense of who Ed and David’s father was have a read of this obituary for Ralph Miliband.

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Poor old Ed Miliband – he is not as bad as he makes himself look

Poor old Ed. I feel sorry for the guy. Just as he was thinking he could leave the ‘Red Ed’ PR disaster behind him, he effortlessly slips into the persona of ‘incompetent Ed’ (however unfair that may be). Within 24 hours of the media going crazy over Diane Abbott’s supposedly racist tweet, Ed pulls this tweet out of the bag. Sigh – why can’t something, anything, go right for the guy. I dislike the current Labour Party and what it stands for, but this just makes me feel sad.

No one deserves to be this unsuccessful. Already on twitter they are having fun thinking up #EdMilibandgameshows including ‘Wheel of misfortune’, ‘Who wants to be Ed Miliband’ and ‘I’m sorry I haven’t a Clue’.  

While everyone else laughs, and I feel sorry for Ed, Labour stumbles around failing to provide any real opposition. Just imagine next weeks PMQs – Cameron is going to have a field day.

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Ed Miliband’s speech entrenches why I could never vote Labour

Ed Miliband’s key note speech has entrenched why I could never vote Labour. I was left feeling furious at his moral hypocrisy. Miliband tried throughout his speech to paint a new path for his party. To do this he seems to be enforcing a form of collective amnesia. Only by apologising for the heinous decisions both he and his colleagues made can he hope to move his party forward.

Firstly, on the economy Ed comments, “we will manage your money properly… I have a special responsibility to show that every pound that is spent, is spent wisely”. Excuse me Ed? If there is one thing that defines New Labour, it is the incredibly unwise way that they spent our public money. Think £12 bn on a failed NHS IT system, think £2.8 million on furnishing government offices, think of the unknown billions of pounds spent on the illegal war in Iraq. Was this wise Ed? If not, apologise.

Secondly, on the NHS, Ed commented, “The NHS offers the highest quality care when we need it…And nobody asked me for my credit card at the door”. I agree Ed, a National Health Service is important, but was it not Labour who spent years institutionalising the practice of allowing private providers to cherry pick the easiest cases? By guaranteeing private providers fixed prices, irrespective of performance, Labour spent £252 million on private providers to do literally nothing. Was it not Labour who pushed (now acknowledged to be) disastrous PFI schemes which are threatening the future of hospitals around the country?

Thirdly on education, Ed comments, “In any one year more than a quarter of our schools don’t even send five kids to the most competitive universities”. I agree Ed, that is a disgrace, but don’t you think this is just a little bit your party’s fault? I mean, these kids grew up under Labour, and ultimately failed to get into Uni under Labour. The problem is that it is not that your party didn’t do anything Ed, it is that the attainment gap between private and state schools doubled over the 13 years Labour were in power. Apologise for this legacy!

Fourthly, Ed commented on Murdoch by saying, “I knew when I said what I did that I was breaking rule number one in British politics. Don’t mess with Rupert Murdoch”. Ha! Sod off Ed. Labour were (are?) so in the pocket of vested interests it is not even funny. Remember your boss, big Gordon attending Brooks wedding? Remember Tony flying out to Hayman Island just to see Murdoch? Remember Brooks popping over to Chequers for a sleepover. This is without even starting on your inability to critique the Unions! I assume though Ed, that when you attended Murdoch’s summer party you raised the phone hacking scandal? Didn’t you? You must of! No? Sigh.

Lastly (I could carry on), on HE funding, Ed whimpered (that’s right he’s stopped commenting now and started whimpering – that’s how cross I am), “If we were in government now, we’d be cutting the costs of going to university from a maximum of £9,000 to £6,000”. Whoop-be-do Ed, way to be radical. Two problems though. 1) This is clearly regressive.  As research by Martin Lewis shows, it will have no impact on the poorest graduates and will only benefit those on well above the average wage. 2) Again Ed, was it not Labour (with a huge majority and a booming economy) who introduced tuition fees (breaking a promise not to). Why were you so opposed to the coalition raising from the current £3,000 but now support a doubling of fees?

Sigh, I am aware that this blog is quite negative. I apologise. I am just fed up with Labour stumbling around failing to provide any real opposition because every rubbish policy this coalition comes up with has its roots in New Labour. Ed Miliband is not, and cannot provide effective opposition. Labour needs to be honest about the degree to which they have been dragged off a progressive course or forever be susceptible to people pointing to their track record. Ed, if you carry on like this, I and millions of other progressive minded individuals will not be able to vote for you. Get a grip mate.

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