Friday, 30 December 2011

Ed Miliband; doomed to lose the next election?

Three months on from my first blog post on Ed Miliband's leadership it is being questioned by the polls and there are warnings that 2015 won't go Labour's way in a pamphlet warning of "Cameron's Trap" unless they change tack quickly.

Lets start with the Leadership;

According to the ICBM poll carried out for the Guardian 48% of people believe David Cameron is doing a good job, second on 33% Nick Clegg is doing a good job and finally on 32% Ed Miliband.

A further blow is that 44% thought Cameron/Osborne were doing a good job of managing the economy compared to 23% who would like to see Miliband/Balls doing it, this is a gap of 21% which has grown from October's 11 % lead for Cameron/Osborne!

Could Cameron's lead have been extended by his stance over the Euro? Or the further strikes including the Tube strike on Boxing day?

All we can do is speculate but in a time when Austerity is biting down on the people of Britain and with every passing week we hear how the Chancellor is mismanaging the economy and how Vital public spending is being cut, you'd think the opposition party would be receiving more support.

Ed says; I'll carry on being what I am. I think that's what people want

I think he is right, people want substance in a leader rather than flashy showmanship, although they seem to like to vote in the showmen. I guess they're not sure that Ed has the substance but as I have said before, he is still relatively new in post and he has not been able to show any potential and leadership.

Which brings me to the Cameron Trap, no it isn't an awesome new Computer game, nor a Mills and Boon story based on a young Liberal Democrat leader joining a Coalition...

Gregg McClymont MP, the shadow pensions minister wrote in a pamphlet about the fear that Labour could easily fall into a trap that caught Neil Kinnock, Michael Foot and even the respectable Ramsey MacDonald. At times where Conservative governments have been carrying out harsh spending cuts that affect the country and rising unemployment they have won more and more elections returning Stanley Baldwin to parliament consecutively and even Margaret Thatcher offering enough prosperity for enough of a time to convince the electorate of the Government's credibility, in fact McClymont speculates that the Conservative line of;
It's tough now but under Labour it will be WORSE!!!
May have won them the 92 election!

Indeed the trap itself is that if Labour continue to support the failing Public Sector and Public spending rather than appealing to a vaster Middle ground of people they will lose public confidence.

This is true. The strikes have had a lot of public support but at the same time people are being hit in their pockets as they are forced to take days off work to look after their children or rearrange their busy lives. Other strikes like the RMT strike on Boxing Day are seen as unnecessary and Bob Crow is disliked by a vast swathe of London Commuters who face more arduous journeys as the already well paid Tube drivers seem to haggle over yet another rise. If Labour were to cling to this then they will certainly fall into a trap.

An easy Conservative retort would be that if Labour got in they would raise spending and ring fence more Public services and thus forcing other cuts over a longer period of time.
The Coalition wants to say in 2015 ; Job done. Then they can offer tax incentives and relief to people in their manifesto.

Ed Miliband has already moved to try and head for the middle ground and in a very Clegg way said;

We need a more responsible Capitalism, a new approach to our economy and our society.

Anyone else hearing Nick Clegg April 2010? Still it is true that Capitalism needs to change, greed has badly affected the nation polarising it to Victorian levels.

Ed Miliband also has warned in his New Year message that the Government's measures are reminiscent of the 30's Conservative Government's measures and;
When politicians shrug their shoulders in the face of other people's despair, they are not just abdicating responsibility, they are making clear choices. That is as true now as it was in the Great Depression during the 1930's.

Just a quick History lesson;
1. Stanley Baldwin may have been a Conservative Prime Minister but he was PM of a NATIONAL GOVERNMENT with Ramsey MacDonald the Labour leader and previous PM as his deputy so it wasn't all the Conservatives crushing the people - Bear in mind that Labour were a lot more left wing in the 30's.

2. Britain's economy never sank to the levels of Germany in the early 30's where Deutschemarks were near enough worthless and had fully recovered in time for the Second World War.

Also another observation. A true leader, a real leader in military and political terms has to be hard. Tough decisions have to be made to help the people and the nation. It is sad but sacrifices have to be made for the greater good and you do have to shrug your shoulders at the plight sometimes and keep on going, however tough it may be.

It is suggested that Labour should come up with better plans to encourage the private sector growth than the Conservatives as encouraging growth rather than spending cuts will attract votes in the same way that Clement Attlee did in 1945.

Also if they were to concentrate on the Coalition's regressive charging mechanisms and focus on Labour's plans to cut tuition to £6000 pa.

As the authors of In the Black Labour have said, Labour need to stop this vague economic plans and actually pull a white rabbit out of their hats and show that they can be a credible party on the economy with actual policy that will actually work rather than "Not the Coalition's way".
As for Ed as a leader, only time will tell and I don't think one poll now necessarily means that he will not win in 2015, after all that is still a long way away and anything could happen.

Afraid I can't find my link to the Guardian's story but here is a link to the Sun's article on the poll.


  1. With all due respect Chris you have fallen into the trap set by the Tories

    The economic plan George Osborne is following after November IS the Labour plan set by Darling. The difference is we would not have had a year of austerity going into it causing a fiscal drag on the excheqeur.

    The Tories are essientially following Labour spending plans set in March 2010.

    You are absolutely right we do need a plan for growth; a green economy, a high-tech high-education manufacturing sector. A regulated banking industry. A fairer distribution of wealth.

    We have policies for growth and jobs that could be immediately implemented.

  2. Hi Tris how are you?

    As I've said I'm no economist and my knowledge on the subject is pretty limited but to be fair from an external observer (my lack of knowledge of the subject precludes me from following ANY party line.) Labour didn't seem to have a plan just criticism.
    As for the article most of the opinions came from the pamphlet.

    I've read the plan and reviewed it here;

    Growth is the key and I hope someone/anyone comes up with a plan for all our sakes!

    Hope you're well and Happy new year. If you're ever near the Three stags in Lambeth or The Cricketers in Gillingham there's a pint on the bar for you.



  3. Just some brief corrections to your history lesson above. The National Government started out in 1931 as a genuine Con-Lib coalition with the addition of the previous Labour Prime Minister (Macdonald) and Chancellor of the Exchequer (Phillip Snowden). Although it failed in its primary purpose of maintaining the Gold Standard (the euro of its day) it was able to go to the country with all 3 party leaders (although Labour disowned Macdonald & Snowden) in its ranks.

    Labour lost catastrophically - winning only 52 seats out of 615 - due to the electoral pact between the Conservatives and the Liberals and the generally accepted idea that Labour had shirked taking difficult decisions whilst in government especially those which would hurt its core voters.

    In 1932 most of the Liberals left the Coalition, mostly due to pressure from their rank and file, because the Government adopted Imperial Preference - a form of Protection taxing foreign imports. A small group remained however under Sir John Simon who took over as Deputy Prime Minister in 1937 when Macdonald (who remained as PM until June 1935) left the government, thus preserving the 'National' character of the government. In the 1935 election it was the Liberals who took the hit for, like Labour in 1931, shirking their responsibilities in government.

    The inflation in Germany struck in 1923, not the 1930s, and was deliberately caused by the German government printing money in an unsuccessful bid to wipe out its foreign debts caused by the imposition of war reparations by the Versailles Treaty in 1919. However once the President of the German Central Bank, Hjalmar Schacht, took charge and introduced a new currency, the Rentenmark, the German economy bounced back incredibly quickly (Greece and Ireland take note) and the rest of the 1920s were years of strong economic growth and rising living standards in contrast to Britain and France which languished in the doldrums as did the Nazi Party which remained a regional party in the single digits of popular support.

    The crisis at the beginning of the 1930s which elevated the Nazis to power came about due to a combination of a cessation of American grants and loans (which exceeded reparations payments) due to the Wall Street Crash, a banking collapse in Central Europe and an overly-rigid monetary policy pursued by the German Government which overvalued the deutschmark thus making exports difficult to sell.

    When Hitler came to power monetary policy was effectively abolished, the value of the deutschmark allowed to decline increasing the demand for e German exports and reducing that for foreign imports. Furthermore Schacht was re-employed creating a kind of German economic area in Eastern Europe through bilateral trading agreements which virtually excluded goods from other countries such as Britain.

    Schacht was one of the few defendants at the Nuremberg Trials to be found not guilty (Hitler's predecessor but one as Chancellor, Von Papen, was the other). It is arguable, however, that as the most intelligent of the defendants he was the more culpable.