Monday News Review

Ed’s first move

So it’s all over, is it? Labour has lurched to the Left, handing the next election to David Cameron. The selection of “Red Ed” Miliband will doubtless have been toasted in illicit champagne by Conservatives on Saturday night. For the Tories, brother Ed is an easier opponent than David, and his victory by machine politics – Charlie Whelan having persuaded six union-backed MPs to switch their second preferences – supports the idea that Ed owes his position to the bruisers. But, in the sober light of Monday morning, the Conservatives should file away their excitement under C for Complacency. For it would be a big mistake to underestimate the new Labour leader. For a start, he is no fool. Like his brother, Ed is intelligent and politically astute. He is hardly going to join a picket line against Coalition cuts. If anything, he knows that he now has to sound tougher on the unions than David would have done. – The Independent

Ed Miliband has sought to convince voters he is not a puppet of the trade union barons, who helped secure him the Labour crown, by insisting: “I am my own man.” He branded the label “Red Ed” as “tiresome rubbish” yesterday and made clear there would be no lurch to the Left under his leadership, declaring: “I am for the centre ground of politics.” – The Herald

Even Ed Miliband’s triumphant supporters will feel nervous awaiting his first speech as Labour leader. Having been selected in the controlled party show room, Tuesday’s appearance will start to tell us how he will perform on the open road of public opinion. A welter of post-victory punditry is pulling him in many directions; he must defend Labour’s record but explain what went wrong; land a blow on the coalition but appeal to disaffected Liberal Democrats; and rally the troops while appealing to the nation. To top it all he must display authority, show humanity, speak to the heartlands and woo middle England. – The FT

MPs and constituency members backing David, union members handing him the crown, is a handicap. The unions whirred into action to Stop David not Get Ed. And the relationship will be fraught – but trade unionists have a right to be heard. The block vote disappeared in 1993 and it was individual workers who voted for Ed. A leader championing fairness and social justice should promise better rights at work, job security and a living wage. To run away from employees because of flak over union support would be the worst of all worlds. Predictions that Labour will lose the 2015 election are silly. Anything could happen. Labour expects Ed to prove his doubters wrong. And will be merciless if he doesn’t. – The Mirror

What now for David

ED MILIBAND yesterday vowed to unite the party after his knife-edge victory in the leadership contest. But while the party’s top team moved to heal the wounds of a battle that set brother against brother, there were still questions over what role, if any, David Miliband would take in the shadow cabinet. Ed Miliband said his brother, who was long considered the favourite for the leadership, had shown “generosity and graciousness” in defeat but he would not be drawn on whether he would remain in frontline politics. He said: “I think he needs time to think about the contribution he can make – I think he can make a very big contribution to British politics.” –Scottish Daily Record

Mr Miliband has been considering his future, and whether to stand for election to the shadow cabinet, with his wife Louise. He said during the leadership election campaign that he would be prepared to serve under his brother, who until Saturday had always been his junior in politics, but he has not confirmed that he will since Ed emerged victorious. He has until 5pm on Wednesday to put himself forward for the shadow cabinet. There is some speculation that he may serve as a shadow minister for a short period until a suitable position comes up outside Westminster, possibly in Europe or the US. – The Press Association

Close allies of the former foreign secretary talk of a personal tragedy for the elder Miliband. They talk of how he pulled his punches in the last few weeks of the campaign, and wonder aloud if he was too squeamish to make the same concessions that his brother Ed was only too happy to make. It is common to hear people make the comforting prediction that soon the older Mr Miliband, who is only 45, will head off and seek a top international job, either in Brussels or in America. I have heard people speculate that he could become the next head of the International Monetary Fund, or that he could take over from Baroness Ashton as the European Union’s foreign policy supremo. – The Economist

And finally

Ed Balls shows he’s not got the blues over his leadership loss in a lively football performance yesterday. The shadow education secretary bullishly raced round the pitch in the annual match against journalists at the start of Labour’s conference in Manchester. Ed certainly took things seriously, doing press ups before kick-off. Fellow leadership loser Andy Burnham scored in the 5-3 triumph by politicians. You win some, you lose some, guys. – The Mirror

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