Sunday, 1 April 2012

Into the abyss with Mister Ed Miliband

What is the Labour Party actually trying to achieve in 2012?  The disaster in Bradford may presage the deeply depressing prospect of Boris being propelled back into office not out of antipathy for Ken but out of the despair that Labour has actually learned its lessons from Blair's hi-jacking of the party into a spurious centrism that is as rootless as the mendacious populism emanating from the Tories - and there is no clear strategy to get out of the whole.

Labour's mountain to climb is huge: the effect of being humiliated by the SNP and the decline in the Liberal vote being likely to let more Tories in through the impact of the electoral system in marginal seats in England.  Miliband is not striking home where he should be hurting, for example over the cash-for-access scandal and the inability of Osborne to develop anything approaching an expansionary economic policy, and the extent to which we now have two societies and economies.

We have a government that is unpopular, but increasingly Labour are seen as part of the problem - the victim of 1990s spin and the desire not to be seen as having principles but triangulating towards the centre-right, courting the self-styled doyens of Middle England while ignoring core support and those who might be prepared to recognise that there is a priority for social justice and the narrowing of economic inequalities to promote cohesion and wider growth.

Misted Ed has been silent on Europe, silent on the economy and mute on the stump.  It won't surprise me if they do very badly in local elections this May on the back of very low turn-outs.  Last year, I thought Miliband would lead Labour into an honourable defeat in 2015, but I'm no longer quite so sanguine.  Whether there's appetite for a Duncan-Smith-style regicide could be interesting...

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