Monday, September 27, 2010

IDS with hair?

Who can fathom the workings of the Labour machine?  Not me, that’s for sure, although on a closer inspection perhaps I identified a part of the problem.
Miliband D seems to have based his campaign on the David Davis/Hillary Clinton model of inevitability.  It’s actually a good technique, so long as there are no unexpected hiccups along the way, but he hasn’t been desperately visible so far.
Anyone spot what Davis, Clinton and Miliband D have in common? Quite.
I think I can be forgiven though for assuming that David would be the choice of the party – not least because he was the choice of the party.  The intricacies of AV and the Union votes handed victory to his brother by the slimmest of margins and on the final round of voting.  Which, one would think, should be the mother of a political problem for the new leader – not the choice of his MPs, not the choice of his party, scraping home thanks only to the votes of Trade Unionists.  That’s a pretty hefty handicap at the beginning of your leadership.  What were my thoughts about Ed back in the summer?
My 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.
Well, ‘Red Ed’ hasn’t got off to the best of starts on that front, although it’s early days.  But looking at the reactions of the left to this news, I’m pretty happy. People who I respect as being on the sensible, electable wing of the Labour party – Tom Harris, John McTernan, John Rentoul and so on – are unhappy and are worried both about the fact and the nature of Ed’s victory.  On the other hand, Charlie Whelan, Tony Robinson and Sunny Hundal are delighted.  That tells me pretty much all I need to know right now.
The Coalition are probably quietly satisfied as well – the ‘wrong’ Miliband won, and only because the Union vote trumped the wishes of the Party.  On the basis of his acceptance speech it’s also hard to see Ed triumphing often at PMQs.  On the other hand, Labour were cock-a-hoop in 1975 after the victory of that shrill, extreme and unelectable woman, so it’s best not to count any chickens just yet.


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