25 September 2010

Has 'Red Ed' Played the Clever Game?

If you hadn't heard, Ed Miliband has pipped his brother to the post by 50.65% to 49.35% of the rather abstract Labour vote

This is widely seen as a win for 'the left' - as David Miliband was the only notable Blairite, favoured in the polls of both Labour voters and the general public, the opposition parties will be gleeful at the prospect of Labour's so-called return to the left

Likewise the fact that this result was essentially created by the unions, mainly the ones led by Whelan and Simpson, whereas the more pragmatic Labour party members and MPs overwhelmingly backed his older brother, will reinforce the view that he is the unions' man, a vain, self-interested choice likely to lose the election four years away

But I'm left wondering, after hearing his rather blatant attempt to appeal to the right in tomorrow's Telegraph if he simply hasn't played this all rather well

Yes, the unions won it for him - but what loyalty does he now owe to them?

He espoused some more left wing policies than his brother, and the unions put their support on the one most likely to win who wasn't a Blairite, but he's now leader and he can get away with whatever he wants, if he wants to adopt the same line (which is pretty vague) as his big bro then essentially, he can - he's just played it incredibly well when David was the massive favourite throughout the race

He's now leader, the unions do not control the party, and nor are the unions the be-all and end-all of Labour thought - they like their symbolic victories like today, but the membership is mostly indifferent these days, and unless he's particularly weak, then there's little reason he'll be in the pocket of Whelan and co. It's a potential ploy worthy of Blair himself

That of course, doesn't mean he'll fare better than his brother, we'll never know - undoubtedly the press will make sure he is seen as a left-wing and union choice, but what this relative unknown says between now and an election may well be more important, it may be that his small stature and geeky voice cause him more harm than the tabloids could

So I'm not writing him off as the next Kinnock, just yet

(I don't think he'll win the election, I'm just going to be impressed if he has manipulated the system so well)


  1. Yes. I'll also give Ed credit for winning. It didn't look likely at the outset. I exchanged tweets with him last year, and formed the impression that he was more interested in spending all our money to save Bangladesh from drowning than tackling the equally difficult problems we face here in the UK. Sorting out the colossal mess in the UK can be swept under the carpet, but saving Bangladesh wins student votes...

  2. He's Labour - they have this weird idea about spending money they don't have

    You know when I was a student I only ever met one Labour voter, most were admittedly liberal - but that's actually diametrically opposed to socialism