Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Labour hopefuls 2 - this time it's personal

Oh boy.  There’s nothing like knowing that you said you’d write about all the Labour leadership candidates to remove all vestige of enthusiasm for blogging.  Oh well, if t’were done and all that.
If the favourite doesn’t win, and it’s worth pointing out that the complication that AV introduces into any electoral system means that the least unpopular candidate has as good a chance as the most popular, then surely the second favourite will.  That would be Ed Miliband, younger than his brother, apparently lefter than his brother, and (according to his supporters) more adept in speaking human than his brother.
I have my doubts about that last point, especially given how much he looks like Wallace out of Wallace and Gromit.  But still, Ed is building up support among those who believe both that he represents a clean break from the past, and that he can rebuild the connection with Labour’s traditional support without entirely frightening the horses of middle England.  The idea that he can take Labour beyond the TBGBs might seem odd to an outsider; he was a Brown acolyte from really very early, known among the Blairites as ‘the emissary from the planet fuck’.  He also wrote the 2010 manifesto.  But then, writing the last manifesto didn’t put much of a crimp in David Cameron re-inventing the party.
Even so, his place at the heart of the Treasury throughout the Brown years ought, by rights, leave him little space to carve out a niche as a changemaker.  Backseat advisers can find their roles and importance being inflated beyond all bounds when it is convenient.  Again, ask David Cameron.
My basic problem with Ed Miliband is that, basically, I don’t get him.  His brother is a wonk.  Ed Balls is a thug.  Diane Abbott is a loon.  Andy Burnham is…  Anyway, I can’t seem to place Ed Miliband; he hasn’t stamped his identity on the media.  This can be a good as well as a bad thing – it is the baggage carried by Balls in particular that is hamstringing his run – but it carries with it the risk, as with William Hague, that his identity gets fashioned for him by an unfriendly media.
All of which is a rather verbose written shrug.  Miliband E is more of a hole in the air than his brother, or Ed Balls.  How that hole gets filled would be the early story of his leadership.  Provided he keeps away from Notting Hill Carnival he ought to be OK…


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