You need more than courage to win

by Dan Hodges

We have to understand. We need to grasp what has just happened to the Labour party.

Ed Miliband did not have a bad week. He had a grotesque, cataclysm of a week.

When the Leader of the Opposition finds himself having to rebut charges he’s “weird” you know something is amiss. But if you spend the whole of your own conference rebutting you know the wheels are detaching. And by Thursday morning there were more wheels bouncing around Albert Dock than a formula one pit lane.

Rebutting the idea the NEC was going to move to have Tony Blair indicted for war crimes.  That the party intended to licence journalists and kick out onto the streets those it caught misbehaving. That Ed Miliband planned to march into the Big Brother house and evict the lot of them.

And they were just the noises off. The fact Labour’s leader has no idea who his Scottish counterpart is was a mere footnote. The rapid unravelling of the tuition fees pledge a long forgotten irritant.

Just to put things into context, here are the responses from three shadow cabinet members to Ed’s speech on Tuesday. “I don’t understand what he was doing”, said one. “I feel physically sick”, said another. “I’m in shock”, said a third.

Those are members of a Labour shadow cabinet. Not minions of the Murdoch Empire, or Cameron cronies. Nor are they cartoon Blairites. They are serious politicians who want to see their party back in government. And they were, literally, in despair.

I just cannot understand Ed Miliband. He did not suddenly roll into town on a turnip truck, but worked at the very heart of the New Labour project. He may not have been a fundamentalist, and he saw at close hand the excesses and psychodramas.

But he is also a serious politician. He knows full well how an attempt to label elements of the business community as “predators” will be branded. What it means for a leader of the Labour party to turn his back on “consensus” politics. How, after a year of trying to cleanse the “Red Ed” stain, a speech which involved sticking two fingers up at the British establishment would be received.

So why did he do it? “You have to understand”, says one insider, “Ed has a genuine sense of destiny. He genuinely thinks he is going to be Labour’s Margaret Thatcher”. Another supporter sees a more pragmatic basis for the strategy, “”If you want to win an election in one term you have to take risks”, he said, “a safety first approach just won’t cut it”.  Miliband’s team knew full well the passage on “predatory” businesses was indeed what they describe as, “high risk”. But they are adamant that he was not attacking business, and by drawing a distinction between good and bad business practice, actually making a case made to them by many members of the business community; “Many business leaders have been saying to us they’re sick of the way good businesses are being given a bad name by a few bad apples” said one aide.

Ed Miliband was right. He is not Tony Blair. But he still has what it takes to be prime minister. On phone-hacking he showed an ability to pick up and run with an issue of national importance. His stance on public sector strikes, in particular his recent speech to the TUC where he voiced clear opposition to industrial action, demonstrated genuine courage and even won him grudging respect from union leaders themselves. His championing of the ‘squeezed middle’ represents sound positioning, and has allowed to him to outmanoeuvre David Cameron and George Osborne on issues like the 50p tax rate.

But having the tools, and having the skills to use them to construct a substantial political foundation are not the same thing. And Ed Miliband is seemingly unable to deploy them with the professionalism and consistency to really challenge the coalition and present himself as a credible alternative leader of the nation.

Opposition isn’t easy, but it is simple.

You begin by deciding where you want to position yourself politically. You then develop a policy framework to support that positioning. And finally you construct a philosophical and intellectual narrative to define your programme as you sell it to the electorate.

Ed Miliband and his advisers are attempting  an identical process, but in reverse. Rather than think about where they need to be politically they are starting with abstract, ideological, even theological, debates about the nature of community, society and the nation state. From within this stream of consciousness an occasional policy idea will emerge, though again it is anchored in socio-economic theory, rather than political necessity. And out of this Miliband and his inner circle hope a successful strategy will emerge by some strange process of osmosis that can lead Labour party back to the promised land.

Some of his supporters dismiss this as the jaundiced view of bitter Blairite obstructionists. “The world has changed” they say, “You’re still fighting the last war”. Perhaps. But one thing hasn’t changed from the eighties and nineties. We’ve still got a Tory government.

Is it really Ed’s critics that are stuck in the past? The last election was won by David Cameron, Bullingdon boy, despite the excesses of the bankers and the wealthy elite. Voters shifted in their millions to the Tories even though big business interests were overtly lining up behind them, and openly attacking the Labour government. Cameron pledged to cut further and faster than either the Balls or Darling plans.

Yet the lesson Ed Miliband draws from all this is that the centre ground is shifting to the left. And that Labour must shift left too in order to keep in step. That’s not the new Politics. That’s politics circa 1981.

At least one thing can be said in Ed Miliband’s favour. This week he fulfilled his ambition to be his own man. “This is the real Ed Miliband”, said a shadow cabinet source. “There can be no more arguments. This is who he is, and this is where he wants to take the party”.

“This week liberated him”, said one supporter, “he’s started putting forward arguments he believes are true, and that he also thinks the public believe as well. When we get through the heat of the last seven days he’s confident people will begin to recognise this”.

Another insider points to the phone-hacking scandal as the moment Ed Miliband’s course was set:

“That morning we were preparing to go out and attack Brooks was terrifying. Much scarier than preparing for the “predator” speech. But that was the moment Ed decided things don’t just have to remain the way they are, and he was going to go out and say so”.

Only the most bitter of Ed Miliband’s critics could deny he has courage. And his instinctive desire to confront the established order deserves admiration from anyone who truly views themselves as a progressive.

But courage is not enough. Nor can sentiment, however noble, be the basis of a political strategy. Ed Miliband is brave. He is principled. But he’s also wrong.

And at the end of the day, that is all that matters.

Dan Hodges is contributing editor of Labour Uncut.

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36 Responses to “You need more than courage to win”

  1. Nick says:

    Shock horror. I reasoned assessment of the reality.

    Now perhaps you can do the same with the economic reality. There is one and only one economic reality now.

    It’s debt, and in particular the Maddoff style debts that the government has hidden using accounting fraud.

    It’s the reason why civil servants aren’t going to get all of their pensions. If the government doesn’t admit its a debt, then the government view is that its optional.

    That’s the driver going forward for all politics.

    Labour needs to avoid being tarred as the cause of it all. Imagine if the Tories gave every tax payer a statement for all the debt, and individual’s own share. A bill for 225,000 pounds?

  2. Prodicus says:

    Peter Oborne loved it, apparently. That’ll cheer you all up.

  3. Eastender says:

    By coincidence the almost perfect repost to all of the above has appeared, in the Telegraph of all places written by Peter Oborne

  4. Lee Butcher says:


    Your critique of Ed seems almost entirely unstructured, and lacks any concrete alternative. This article reads simply as, I don’t like him, never have and I’m using his conference speech as another reason to espouse that view.

    I saw the speech away from the conference bubble, and I liked it. There has certainly been media spin in the later reporting. It was a speech that was branded anti-business and left wing, however it also contained substantial sections on the value of SMEs to the country and a call to do more to support them, and acknowledging that on some issues Thatcher was correct. That is certainly not left wing.

    The sad truth is that within the party we have too many people frustrated with being in opposition, with too little to occupy their political attention; so we get an excess of court intrigue and an obsession with the more mindless froth that party politics too often generates.

    The country has been let down badly by a detached political, economic and business elite in very recent history – from too many lives lost in needless wars and now economies destroyed and jobs lost. Ed is walking the line of expressing the public’s anger at those issues, while avoiding throwing the baby out with the bath water. To listen to the more Blairite members of the party, and Tory facing press, you’d have thought Ed’s conference speech was a denunciation of capitalism and the promotion of a command economy. To read anything more into it then it was a centre left (ish) reappraisal of past economic working practices and a potential direction for reform I’m afraid is just silly ranting by under-occupied minds.

    I hear there is a policy review going on, may be those so keen on a whinge might better serve their party and their people by contributing some ideas, rather than indulging themselves in such trivial banalities.

  5. Peter Ward says:


    The more and more I stop here to read, the more and more this strikes as me being an echo chamber for disaffected Blairites who are unhappy that the party has moved from a party of triangulation to one of principles. The election result in 2010 demonstrates that not only were people blaming Labour for the economic crisis but that voters were getting increasingly fed up with spin and triangulation. Its obvious (since Eds election) that you have been unhappy with the result and have been doing all you can to undermine his position so you can have another Blairite placeman be elected in his place.

    I assume part of this is that you see the party moving away from your comfort zone of triangulation and that your influence, in so far as you have it, will be compromised. I also query your idea that Cameron won the election, no-one won thats why we have a coalition (you should look at John Curtices piece that one party government even under FPTP is unlikely in UK elections from here on).

    Also the ideas he set out were broad brush and the policy will be arrived at through the review. Blair rarely made policy pronouncements in opposition, neither did Cameron. (Both strangely ended up Prime Minister). The importance of setting this mood music is obvious, its a challenge about what type of society we want at a point where the current system (political and financial) has been shown to have significant holes, if not failed. And thats the message that in my view people will engage with and respond too. Unlike you, I choose not to second guess the electorate.

    The press response has focussed (by and large) on the good/bad company issue but thats not what its about. Its about responsible capitalism after 30 years of irresponsibility and short termism and rather than to penalise bad behaviour its to encourage good. The fact that this challenges orthodoxy explains the press it is getting, the orthodoxy in the right wing press is stating that this is how it must be forever and a day.

    So while I agree in one sense that I might have liked more policy meat on the philosophical bones, I think and hope the message will resonate.

  6. Jane says:

    I too am bewildered by the speech and agree with you that he is so, so wrong. I have stood by the party even in the bad old days of 1973 until the last election. I was one of the millions who deserted the party. I was so looking forward to returning but never, ever under this man. I dislike his politics and his disloyalty standing against his brother. What is so sad is that he believes all this rubbish. When he tried to set out his own stall by distancing himself from previous PMs he was clumsy and offensive. I will never forgive him for not pulling up those in the audience who booed Tony Blair. An absolute disgrace. A leader must address all sections of the party and this he failed to do. He will never become PM as he is out of touch with the electorate. We out here have not shifted to the left – the opposite.

  7. Jon da Silva says:

    Just more Blair/Brownian stuff. Research find people don’t like pigs at trough and complain. Come up with rhetoric and back fit policies to rhetoric. Ensure policy will be arbitrary, create examples and be above all tough just don’t worry about tackling or even identifying a real problem. Pure Blairian and as guaranteed to improve the lives of people as sticking pins in their eyes.

    Nothing this week to correct a view that like his godfather Brown he does not randomly campaign against things he does not personally, or his focus groups, do not like like. More like a Daily Mail editorial than a serious politician with any answers? I hate this because…..

    Labour need to challenge the Investment Banking/QE/Bailout/PFI/low interest rate cult they created. That is the central problem of an un-balanced indebted economy dominated by speculative forces who undermine what our Govt alleges it wants to achieve. If he had to demand anything more positive a rapid ring fencing of Banks would have been a start and done more to fix things than the gimmicks he played with. Also a Chancellor with an ounce of economic credibility not some bully boy with a different view every week. Taking out investment banking from the economy is the most pro-business thing he could do. Save us a fortune long term as well.

    I would not mind a more intelligent voice and promise not to do things like: automatically follow the US: no more 90 day internment: MI5 MI6 reduced to looking like clowns denying Monday is Monday to prevent themselves and their minister bosses being labeled war crimes because of the Govt insatiable need for torture porn (or whatever reason they had): detox the feral Police force they created who demand internment and yet never need more than 14 days in reality – instead of sucking up to them for rhetoric against current Govt: A genuine environmental commitment even if demanding world wide action.

    As well as better Govt i.e. if chase for foundation status is killing people stop: if MRSA CDIFF kill 1000s clean the Hospitals don’t stick to rhetoric and dogma: End pledge making as Pickles shows it makes for bad Govt see unlimited bus travel etc.

    A strong credible message Miliband and the cabinet obviously believe will work better than vote chasing even if it challenges some perceptions or losing poll ratings initially. Popular/populist polices are the hall marks of most losing parties at elections.

  8. doreen ogden says:

    Just one point – Cameron did NOT win the last election !

  9. Rachel says:

    So Dan Hodges writes another article saying that Ed is wrong. It wouldn’t be so tedious if it said anything interesting. It is argued like some sixth form A’Level assignment.

    The idea that Blair didn’t make policy announcements in opposition is nonsense. Anyone older than 20 would remember the run up to 1997 – some very simple policies that could be easily remembered but also some atempts just like this week at pointing to something bigger i.e. the stakeholder society.

    People like Dan Hodges are trapped in some kind of 1994-1997 bubble with the entire perception that there is only one way to behave as an opposition.

    One last thing, Cameron didn’t win the last election – he lost despite facing a very unpopular Prime Minister, an incumbent government for 13 years and the country facing the biggest recession since the war. This idea that we need to somehow copy Cameron is ludicrous.

  10. Greg says:

    Dan has a very odd approach to opposition. He believes a) Labour should entirely accept the Tory austerity programme, even as it falls around our ears; b) the nation desperately wants Tony Blair back. Both are entirely ridiculous.

    As I read the lines:

    “You begin by deciding where you want to position yourself politically. You then develop a policy framework to support that positioning. And finally you construct a philosophical and intellectual narrative to define your programme as you sell it to the electorate.”

    I thought, no, you do that in reverse. An low and behold, that’s what Ed is doing. You can’t backfit an intellectual narrative into political positioning. It will be hollow and very quickly exposed. You must make clear where you stand, fundamentally, on issues affecting the country before you start throwing policies around, but you’ll have nothing to anchor those policies to. Everything looks cheap and opportunist.

    What Ed did successfully at Conference is to make a powerful statement that business as usual simply won’t cut it. It’s a risk, up to a point, but it’s an awful lot less of a risk than just apeing the Tories and leaving everyone wondering what the hell the point of your party is.

    He now needs to put forward the policies that will give life to his (welcome) intellectual analysis of neo-liberal short-termism. If he does this, he will have a potent package to present to the electorate. Much better that than getting sucked into a Tory battle fought on Tory turf with Tory rules.

  11. Mark Laffan says:

    I’m not sure he is. I think that there’s a reasonably broad feeling in the country that certain businesses are not acting responsibly. Rather than a broad front attack on “business”, it makes sense for the Labour party to be able to say “these are the sort of businesses we value and will support, these are the sort that we won’t”.

    The problem, imo, is that we’ve been afraid to name them. Kraft buying Cadbury and then offshoring large portions of the operation was a deeply unpopular act that a Labour leader should be free to criticise.

    In terms of policy, it should be relatively straightforward. Make it more tax efficient to invest in businesses that employ people, or export, or manufacture. Make it less tax efficient to speculate share prices.

    We need to create an investment environment in which it makes more sense to make long term investments in businesses and help them grow than it does to short that business and hope it falls over. The latter adds nothing to our economy.

    I think that post financial crisis, in an era of rising unemployment, offshoring, onshoring and all the rest that there is a cohesive message to be built around how Government can support businesses that deliver decent jobs, training, production in the UK etc, and how it will not extend the same largesse to businesses that offshore, that evade tax, that don’t employ people and all the rest.

    That this can be seen as left wing is ludicrous. It’s no more than the capitalism that exists in most other European countries, and the capitalism that we had here before the Thatcher/Reagan revolution.

    And, all positioning aside, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown manifestly failed in their attempt to implement an economic model based on deregulation and distribution.

  12. paul barker says:

    The article makes some good points but misses the fundamental truth, that when Voters talk about Leaders that is a stand-in for how they feel about their Parties. Thats why the standing of The leaders predicted the outcome of The Holyrood Election so much better than The Voting Intention figures.
    When the Voters say that Ed is “weird” they mean Labour, all of you, blue, brown or purple.

  13. Jeremy Poynton says:

    Ed IS the established order. As much as Dave. As much as Nick. And they are all as useless as each other, although I suspect Ed even more than the rest, as a result of the bubble he has spent his whole life in, and the fact that many voters see Dave & Nick as at least resembling human beings, rather some weird bug-eyed beast who flails around with his hands. Sorry.

  14. harry says:

    oborne only liked it because blair got booed.

    an iron law of politics is that when lefties are in agreement with peter oborne, you can be sure they’re all 100% wrong.

  15. Forlornehope says:

    “Voters shifted in their millions to the Tories even though big business interests were overtly lining up behind them.”

    This is an interesting insight. Anyone who worked in the private sector over the last thirty years knows that the better companies, such as Ed’s favourite Rolls-Royce, put a huge effort into getting their workforce “on-side”. This has actually been quite successful. In many companies the employees don’t have to be persuaded to wear the company logos, they love to. With the decline of the unions in private industry it’s not really surprising that when people hear their Chief Executive saying that a policy is going to be harmful that they will believe him (it almost always is him!). The idea that most workers see the company as “the enemy” is as outdated as the 1970s and it probably wasn’t even true then.

  16. john reid says:

    Peter ward, Luke akehurst blogs here, Hopi sen has, and He has put a blog on his support from brown and how it was A mistake, Alex Hilton blogs, and O.k he’s the exception, But I find this website one of the better ones, sure it’s a small wing of the party , who have A genuine concern,Not that Labour is swinging left, but it’s swinging left on Issues that are in wards Looking, What ever Hodges and Co. view that the only way Laobur will win is by beign progressive on technicalities in the Human Rights act that left criminals off, or that there are such things as Letting ecenomic migration to get cheap labour ,or that Welfare has resulted in generation of families thinking they have a Something for nothing society
    But Whatever Some bloogers here view, they can’t get away form the fact that the Inwards gazing, anyone who disagrees shouls be silenced view of the Left in the 80’s resulted in us doing worse in London in 87 than we did last year or worse in 83 in the rest of London than in 2010 ,too.

  17. Henrik says:

    Comrades, honestly, you lost the election and folk think you’re untrustworthy and odd – deal with it. One quite understands that things are still shaking themselves out and it’ll be a while yet before we have an Opposition that knows what it’s for – and actually has some sort of idea of ‘what good looks like’, which it will use to seduce my precious vote into the Labour ticky box come 2015, but could you please, for the love of the Purple Velvet Elvis, get a move on and get the bloodletting over and done with and then just crack on?

    Look at it this way. From where I’m sat, your current Front Bench is as toxic as a polonium sarnie – all polluted by their association with the late lamented PM of GB&NI, the Rt Hon Member for somewhere in the Kingdom of Fife. Should any one of them (and I’m looking at you, Cooper and Balls) actually start to get some traction in Opposition terms, it’ll be the work of seconds for the media to remind us all of just how wonderful you all thought Gordon was. Ergo, the current leadership can’t take you into the next General Election. Accept it and start looking around, now, I should – you’ve got two years tops before you need to have a war chest handy and a policy programme and a leader who looks like Prime Ministerial material. How’s that working for you right now?

    Even if the Coalition has a disastrous bad hair year and you somehow fall into government with a narrow majority in 2015, the current Shadow Front Bench will, I absolutely guarantee, make an even bigger Horlicks of it than they did the last time some idiot let them at the levers of power.

    Now, I imagine my ranting will be dismissed as just more Tory trolling (and to an extent it is, it’s infinitely amusing to watch all this nonsense going on), but there is a serious point here – the standard of political debate in this country is at an all-time low and the Tories (who aren’t doing the worst job in the world) do actually need a coherent and mature Opposition and you guys are the only game in town, given the almost certain destruction of the Lib Dems in 2015.

    So please just get on with it. Some hard decisions need to be made, will you *please* make them?

  18. Allan says:

    I think the problem is that the perception of Milliband the Younger’s speech was that this was some sort of huge shift to the left.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Viewed from the part of the country that turned its back full square on Labour in May (and by the way none of the leadership candidates for Holyrood are hardly inspiring), this speech was a New Labour speech that had more than a touch of the blairs about it.

    Milliband refused to scrap Tuition fees, there was no alternative plan to Osbornes Scorched Earth policy, and rather than attack the likes of Vodaphone and Goldman Sachs for evading tax Milliband attacked benefits cheats. Now Benefit cheats are a problem, but in the grand scheme of things they are not as big a problem as companies indulging in tax avoidance schemes.

    The thing that will sink Milliband (& Balls) is their economic iliteracy (if i may mix my metephors). They are pressing for the reduction of a tax on spending. This might work if people are spending. But they are not. What is required to put some liquidity into the economy is to raise the tax threshold at the bottom, to help the people Labour left behind under Blair & Brown.

  19. Sungei Patani says:

    @ john reid.

    Can you please translate this into English please?

  20. matthew bond says:

    Very powerful article. What disconcerted me most with Ed Miliband’s speech was how much it echoed themes from Vince Cable’s last two conference speeches. I’m referring to his attacks on vested interests and predatory capitalists. It’s a lot of warmed up radical liberalism. Being a good socialist I think the liberal analysis is empirically and normatively wrong but even if I had different sympathies I’d view this as the wrong angle. We are in a economic crisis now. Ed should be taking a more optimistic and consensual line. When the economy has stabilised and growth resumes then we can start tackling vested interests. Right now we have to promise security.

  21. Liberanos says:

    It was a poor speech, confused, conflicted, uninspiring. And it was appallingly delivered, lacking rhythm, style and conviction.

    I’m afraid it demonstrated with tragic force, how right the party was to choose David. And how wrong the unions were to elect Ed.

  22. Dave C says:

    Bemused by commentators above describing Dan as a Blairite! That’s not my recollection at all !!!

    I felt Ed’s speech summed up the entire experience really. A wasted opportunity. The party as a whole still appears unsure of where we are headed and how to attack the govt without trashing our own record. There was a distinct sense of treading water in the Albert Dock. No clear sense of what the Party hoped to achieve over the 4 day AGM either in terms of really fundamental internal renewal, or using the media attention to develop a new narrative.

    That said, few Conferences are all that seminal. ’85 (Kinnock declaring war on Militant) & ’95 (Clause IV) spring to mind, but most fail to live up to the hype. Ed’s in no immediate peril and the Party is more at peace with itself than I can recall in my 20 years of membership. We are approaching a very tough period as the cuts really start biting and it will be a highwire act to both nail the Tories (and their quisling partners), while avoiding unrealistic commitments, which enable the Tories to reinforce their charge of economic incompetence. If he doesn’t manage it, and if Boris wins, then the pressure to act will make for a nail biting week in Manchester next year.

  23. Jonathan says:

    I’m totally fed up with Labour members and senior supporters trying to destroy and undermine the leadership of Ed Miliband.

    Let those shadow cabinet ministers stand up and declare publicly their disloyalty. I’m certain that party members would back their new leader, ratherthenn wannabe usurpers who are most likely old time Blairites!

  24. StrongholdBarricades says:

    The wierdest thing about the speech in branding “bad” businesses was that Ed didn’t apologise for the things he did in government along with Bliar and Brown tinkering with the tax system so that it encouraged businesses to adopt the asset selling (only pay capital gains tax), offshoring (avoiding corporation tax) and debt structures (debt relief for taxation purposes). The Guardian corporation structure is a good example

    Meanwhile policies introduced mean that the lowliest worker in the UK could pay a tax equivalent rate of 76p on every extra £ earned, whilst those at the top could pay as little as 20% if domiciled here.

    The “Third Way” ensured that policies were followed which encouraged the asset and debt bubbles; it could be said that the introduction of the new Bankruptcy Laws was recognition that eventually that bubble would burst.

    To be meaningful the speech needed to actually address the fundamental issues with the economy produced by the policices followed whilst at the helm of government.

  25. Joshua says:

    Can we please stop with the Ed Miliband took on the Murdoch empire rubbish! When Vince Cable was found to be saying he was declaring “war” on him Ed’s response was for Vince to stand down! What a disgrace that he can then use the scandal as an excuse to make out he was in opposition to Murdoch all along! Pathetic.

  26. “You begin by deciding where you want to position yourself politically. You then develop a policy framework to support that positioning. And finally you construct a philosophical and intellectual narrative to define your programme as you sell it to the electorate.”

    Wow. I mean, this is a labour website saying about Labour we, all who detest the post-war Labour Party have always said. That Labour is simply playing politics, it is a bunch of people who think they know better, and have to lie to and cheat the electorate in order to persuade them to allow this dishonest bunch of self-righteous, self-satisfied, over-credentialled-but-under-educated fools into office where they can enact their real agenda.


  27. john reid says:

    sungo petani, no

    Henrik ,you ask what opposition is for, But Labour in opposing the NHS reforms and the Elected police commisioners ,have got several Libdems on side, You know half the government.

    joshua, the Last Labour govenrment Opposed Murdoch buying up Manchester United FC.

  28. Hamish says:

    Dan, you start with: “Ed Miliband did not have a bad week”.
    You then descend to surprisal rhetoric:” He had a grotesque, cataclysm of a week.”
    To respond in the same coin, this article is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    On a minor point, I am aware that Ed did not instantly come up with the name of the third contender for the post of Scottish Labour leader.
    I find it difficult to believe that he could not name his current counterpart in Scotland, Iain Gray.
    Can yoo provide a source?

  29. Henrik says:

    @john reid:

    Actually, I’m not asking what Opposition’s for – I know. My point is that Labour needs to rediscover the answer to that question. As to the Lib Dems, they have a very clear ‘best before’ date, which is May 2010. They are a distraction until 2015, after that, no sort of a factor.

  30. Emma says:

    Dan, please stop attacking Ed! I am by no means his biggest supporter but he is leader now and deserves complete loyalty from Labour members. It wouldn’t have mattered if Ed had delivered the most amazing speech ever, the media would still say it was rubbish. I think objectively it was a good speech, not amazing, but not bad. If our own members cannot even stand up for him what chance does he have?

  31. AmberStar says:

    @ Dan

    The fact Labour’s leader has no idea who his Scottish counterpart is was a mere footnote.
    You’ve got your facts wrong. Ed knows very well that Iain Gray is the Labour opposition leader in the Scottish parliament. Iain Gray has said he’ll step down during this parliament & Ed didn’t know the name of one leadership candidate – Ken MacIntosh. And the contest hasn’t even really begun. Neither the Scottish media nor Alex Salmond made a big deal of it so you are scraping the barrel by mentioning it. 🙄

  32. AmberStar says:

    Ed Miliband is brave. He is principled. But he’s also wrong.
    Wrong about what exactly? Producers not predators – which was the big ‘take-away’ from Ed’s speech has polled very well. 55% agree, 19% aren’t sure & 26% disagree – mainly fast-buck, predatory Tories who would only vote Labour if you paid them to. 😈

  33. Andy says:

    I agree with Dan’s assessment.

    Sadly Labour has a habit of staying loyal to the party leader at the expense of loosing elections. Labour MPs backed Brown every time they had the opportunity to ditch him, when the rest of the country knew he would not be re-elected.

    Miliband Junior has had one year to make a strong impact on the electorate and has failed. This is a government without mandate, making unpopular cuts whilst protecting their own interests. At a time of rising unemployment, wage freezes, no growth, no strategic direction to create jobs or wealth, rising fuel and food prices, student fees and the rest, a Labour leader should be riding high in the polls. Last week’s conference should have electrified the country but it failed to do this.

    Miliband Junior has had his opportunity to make a difference. Now it is time for Labour to suss out if it wants to win the next election or if it should ditch an unpopular leader and seek one that will inspire both the party and electorate.

  34. john reid says:

    Henrik, fair point, I was dispaointed that the last labour government never went through with allowing women to set up their ownred lgiht districts,t o avoid pimps or being attacked,, the police mergers,or changing the abortion laws in Northern ireland, that were all in the manifesto, there’s actualyy been things in the 2010 manifesto like a referndum on AV or fixed term parliaments that werent’ in the tories manifesto that were in ours that have been implemented,

    Blue aobur, Purple book and helen goodman have some great Ideas, what we need to show is were the toires are goign wrong and what we would do if we were in power.

  35. Henrik says:

    @john reid:

    Yeah, showing what Labour would do if they were in power would certainly be a start – and I’d encourage some sort of joined-up narrative which might be attractive to voters, rather than a sort of geeky, wonky, tractor-stat-heavy economic discourse. The thinking for the latter would still have to be done and the heavy metal documents illustrating it available, but the narrative should cover the end state which the comrades wanted to reach. Forward to the sunlit uplands, tovarishchi!

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