Posts Tagged ‘Rick Nye’

Miliband must make, not accept, the political weather

20/05/2013, 07:00:18 AM

by Jonathan Todd

β€œAre our problems so deep nobody can actually make a difference to them? My emphatic answer to that is yes.” The state of the nation was revealed in Ed Miliband’s slip of the tongue in the run-up to the local elections. Only one in three of those eligible to vote in these elections bothered to do so, down 10 points from when these seats were last contested in the halcyon days of 2009. Where given the opportunity, one in four voters gave their support to Ukip, which is as near as it gets to voting ‘none of the above’.

This is no glad, confident morning. It is a nervous twilight. “When Cameron talks”, as Rick Nye notes, “about the global race – the opportunities that lie ahead for Britain and the risks of being left behind” – those that voted Ukip “look at their very personal race, and fear it has already been run. They feel they have been abandoned by all political parties. It is no accident that Ukip does disproportionately well among older, non-graduate, white men.”

One Nation Labour is yet to convince that it can build hope in this cold climate. Politicians make, as well as experience, the weather, however. Perhaps voters would be more confident about the future if Ed Miliband seemed to them more of a prime minister in the waiting with answers to their problems.

Conservatives have long insisted that Cameron looks more prime ministerial than Miliband. Given that Cameron is presently the prime minister, this is to be expected. Yet Miliband is behind where Cameron and Tony Blair were at the same stages in their leaderships in terms of being perceived ready to be prime minister.

While 19 percent more voters thought Jim Callaghan “the best PM” than thought Margaret Thatcher in the last poll before the 1979 election, the sea change that was that election still swept Callaghan from office. His current polling may not be a barrier to Miliband being a similar sea change prime minister.

But Miliband should not assume such a sea change or that he would be its beneficiary. It’s hard to look at the rise of Ukip and feel we are living in a country moving to the left. This rise has contributed to Cameron finally abandoning his modernisation project and adopting policies reminiscent of their 2001 and 2005 general election campaigns: tough on welfare, strident on immigration and offering a referendum on the EU.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon