Posts Tagged ‘Ed Miliband’
Can Ed Miliband’s Labour Challenge the Westminster Consensus?
The Scotsman, April 27th 2013
Ed Miliband does not have to seek out his troubles and much of it seems to come from his own side rather than from opponents.
This week Len McCluskey, head of Unite laid into Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander claiming that if Miliband listened to them, ‘he’ll be defeated’ and ‘cast into the dustbin of history’. Worse, George Galloway endorsed Miliband for PM, just the sort of thing to scare off marginal voters.
Labour’s poll ratings are on average 9% ahead of the Tories producing a predicted Commons majority of 96 seats, but most people think it should be further ahead at the moment.
The electoral system may aid Labour and hinder the Tories, but underneath the headline figures there is a lack of conviction in Labour. 66% of voters think Miliband isn’t ready to be PM with only 24% feeling that he is ready. Only 12% of the public thinks Labour are the most capable party to take tough decisions, while 48% think this of the Conservatives. Read the rest of this entry »
How Ed Miliband’s Labour could change the Face of British Politics
The Scotsman, September 1st 2012
The state of the Labour Party matters in British politics, with consequences for who will win the next UK election, the dynamic of Scottish politics, and the future of the UK.
Ed Miliband has been leader of the Labour Party for coming up for two years next month and for many the jury is still out: ‘Red Ed’ to some, Wallace and Gromit to others. Yet Labour has recovered significantly from its 2010 election defeat when it achieved its second lowest post-war vote, with poll ratings and membership up, yet questions still remain about the prospects for Labour.
This matters in terms of the nature of British politics, of how the Cameron-led government is opposed, where disaffected Lib Dem voters go, and the wider contours of political debate; and north of the border it will influence how people approach the 2014 independence referendum. Read the rest of this entry »
Debating the Future of Labour: A Conversation with Polly Toynbee
Open Democracy, August 28th 2012
The Edinburgh of Scotland’s late summer is awash not just with rainstorms but a plethora of festivals and happenings: the International Festival, the Fringe, the Book Festival, Television Festival, and even a Festival of Politics in the Scottish Parliament.
If all this sounds like an expression of the Scots ‘democratic intellect’ or a modern day ‘Enlightenment’ city, while conversations, deliberations and cultural happenings cover a multitude of concerns, there is usually an absence of connection to the host city and anything seriously Scottish.
This year the Book Festival has tried to overcome some of this with a range of packed political discussions – international, British and Scottish; Gordon Brown on social justice; considerations on Scottish independence; and a wide ranging, provocative international writers’ conference. One such discussion before a sold out Saturday audience was myself and The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee examining what future there was for British Labour.
This was a genuine conversation and exchange which established real common ground and difference; it was an occasion where Polly Toynbee, an important figure on the British centre-left and in senior Labour circles both engaged with different views, while surprising myself with some of the views she articulated. Read the rest of this entry »
The Age of Responsibility
The Scotsman, August 13th 2011
As the burning embers fizzle out and the streets and cities of England return to some degree of normalcy, so the inquest begins into the causes and consequences of what we are all now calling ‘the English riots’.
It is clear the losers are those who have chosen to simplify and attempt to make too obvious political capital out of the troubles: Ken Livingstone for one was disowned by many Labour colleagues for jumping on ‘the cuts were to blame’ bandwagon ahead of next year’s London Mayoral contest.
All of our political classes are struggling to find the right words, avoid clichés and connect with the public mood. The simplicities of many on the left and right have jarred even more in these times. The left blaming ‘the cuts’ and falling police numbers, the right a police service neutered by a PC culture, alongside the last Labour Government busting the nation financially.
To some, the young people on the streets are Thatcher’s children, to others Blair’s children. They are neither. They are our children and all of us bear a responsibility. Read the rest of this entry »
After New Labour, the Limits of the New Socialism and the Need for a Radical Politics
Compass, December 20th 2010
British politics are in a strange place – one where while some of the landscape remains the same so much is different. All of the three main parties have been disorientated by the result of the election and coalition along with the scale of the crisis.
One response to this from parts of the left is to retreat into the hoary old slogans of opposition and struggle, of shouting ‘Tory cuts’ without strategy or the need for rethinking. Another approach of part of the centre-left is to hope it can at an elite level influence the Labour leadership and win it to a progressive agenda; an approach which has paid scant dividends throughout history and nearly always ended in disappointment.
The dominant Westminster commentariat opinion has already established its position on Labour after the election. The narrative is that Labour is heading back to its old comfort zones and that Ed Miliband has already failed as Labour leader: branded by the mainstream media as illegitimate, indecisive and lacking in political strategy.
Then there are the opinion polls. Labour may be cheered by the polls – and in most it is at or above 40% – and ahead of the Conservatives. However, Miliband’s ratings – are so critics allege – the lowest for any new leader apart from Michael Foot, William Hague and Nick Clegg; Neil Kinnock, John Smith, Tony Blair and David Cameron all had higher ratings. The argument is clear: Ed Miliband is a loser. Read the rest of this entry »