It's now been 18 months since Ed Miliband shocked the Labour party by usurping his brother to take the leadership. Since that time, instead of building a solid platform of support, his leadership has hit crisis point as his popularity has nosedived. So what's so wrong with Ed Miliband?
A recent Sunday times poll shows that over 70% of the public do not perceive him to be a viable Prime minister.
- 43% of Britons say that Ed Milliband's policies are 'wrong, and he does not look or sound like a possible Prime Minister'
- 27% say that although he doesn't look or sound like a PM, his policies are 'right'
- 4% say that although Ed's policies are 'wrong' he still 'looks and sounds like a PM'
- Only 7% say that Ed has both the 'right' policies AND 'looks and sounds like a Prime Minister'
Despite this more than 50% of those polled believed he had the right policies. This leads to issue number one for Ed.
Despite facing an opponent who looks embalmed and ready for the mausoleum. It's also doubtful that he could tell the price of a pint of milk. (The standard Average Joe test for politicians in America.) Ed Miliband still comes across as the weaker image. The reason is twofold. First the exterior look of someone whose had his head flushed down the toilet at school too many times. But perhaps more worrying is his voice, You can have excellent policies but if you ex pout them in a nasally grating tone then no one is going to listen. Idealistically we wish our debate was based on substance rather than style, realistically we know this isn't the case. If initial reactions count for much in todays 24 hour news cycle environment. Then Ed could be in trouble.
Where does he stand?
With the country facing economic ruin, unemployment rising, standard of living decreasing, you would think it would be an easy target for any opposition leader, especially with the amount of flip flopping the government has been performing. Yet Ed Miliband seems to be unable to land any substantive blows on Cameron or the government. Part of the reason for this is the constant change in policies of the opposition, particularly in regard to the economy and cutting the deficit. Politicians can change their policies due to events occurring but is difficult to place your trust in a leader who seems to change tact as soon as he realises it's not connecting with the public. He has at times seemed desperate to shift from supporting working class voters and working class values.
At times Ed has shown a willingness to move away from the trade unions and that Red Ed tag that has haunted him. This is to be applauded but supporting poor families struggling to make ends meet doesn't make you a communist. Fair treatment for public and private sector workers doesn't hold you under the thumb of the trade unions.
Miliband needs a clear concise message which appeals to the majority of hard working British people, A message of fairness, equality and a true vision for economic and social solutions to lead the country out of the mire and into the future. Once he has this he should not switch or tweak after every bad poll or article.
Legacy of New Labour.
One of the major difficulties for any opposition after a sustained period in office is to avoid being tarred by the mistakes, mishaps and fumbles of your party while in power. This has been a constant problem for Labour and Ed Miliband. Any political heavyweights left in the front-line of the party are a ex ministers or advisers of the former administration and any shift in political ideas will be tarnished by past failures.
What was vital for Labour to do was to admit mistakes had been made, apologise for their part in the economic crisis while still pointing to the improved situation that was occurring before the General Election. While they did this briefly they have laid it to bed while the opposition continue to spout the deficit, and the cost per day on almost every media appearance.
It's coming up to two years since the ConLib Coalition took office and it's now time for Labour to go on the offensive, let slip the dogs of war on media appearances. Have hard hitters do the dirty work on shows such as Question Time. Leave Miliband to look dignified and above it all.
This blog seems a damning verdict of Ed Milibands' leadership and his ability to lead Labour back into power. It isn't; I genuinely like the man, I feel he is the countries best bet for getting out of the troubled times we're in. But changes need to be made and fast. Else Ed will be the new Michael Foot in another long walk in the wilderness for Labour.