Wednesday, September 29, 2010

So who liked him before he won?

In case anyone was wondering whether Ed Miliband wasn’t such a bad choice after all, all things considered, lets have a quick look at who the pundits were who originally supported him over his brother.  First up, and from my old alma mater, there’s tribune of the people Seumas Milne.
 
By contrast, his brother has at least begun to absorb the lessons of New Labour's failure and rejected its triangulation, social authoritarianism, embrace of flexible labour markets and support for tuition fees. He has also taken the essential step of denouncing the Iraq war, which he opposed at the time.
 
Next on the list comes long-time Reptile favourite Johann Hari.
 
Ed Miliband's agenda – to appeal to Britain's true middle and the lost low-income workers by arguing that they should have a greater share of the wealth they generate, while not killing a million people abroad – polls well.
 
And finally (yes, there really were only three of them), comes Jackie Ashley, although she does leave herself plenty of wriggle room.  In fact, if ever there were a case of damning with faint praise…
 
Ed's problems would be, in some ways, deeper still. He would not have the big names from the past, or the money. That means he could look dangerously reliant on the unions and unreconstructed leftists among the membership. He could become the "public sector leader" or the "northern leader" rather than, as he wants, the leader of the "squeezed middle". By concentrating his policies so much on pay and not enough (though he's moving) on economic growth and modernisation, he's playing into his critics' hands…That is a formidable to-do list and frankly, Ed may not be up to it.
 
That Milne, Hari and Ashley are the only supporters who always supported you is not, in my mind, much to cheer about…

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