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How red is Ed? 28, September 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in UK.
Tags: , , , , , ,

The Guardian has an excellent little distraction in the form of an interactive “How Red is Ed?” swingometer.

For those out you outwith the UK, the Labour Party has just elected a new leader. The favorite for most of the summer-long campaign, David Milliband, just lost out to his brother Ed Milliband. The vote in the end was close, with Ed winning by a fraction on the alternative voting system. As it turns out, this means that Ed is, effectively, many people’s second or third choice. But because he got more such secondary votes than his brother, he won.

Ed is seen as being much more to the left than his Blarite, New Labour brother. This was confirmed when the votes were case and Ed won thanks in large part to the Union vote. This perturbs some people. Any lurch to the left will surely consign Labour to a longer wait for power: in the UK, as with most places, I suppose, elections are won in the center. Ed, therefore, needs to carefully craft his message not to antagonize his lefty-Union supporters while proving unequivocally that he is not there at their direct behest.


1. KMC - 28, September 2010

What idiocy! What does this “red” business mean? A liberal-minded socialist is Not a “red” communist.

davidbroberts - 28, September 2010

I think Ed’d be pleased that you said that.

2. An old friend - 29, September 2010

Great blog. I couldn’t resist making a few points. As Ed pointed out in his speech “Red Ed…come off it”. I didn’t support Ed for the leadership but those who hope to paint him as something straight out of 1983 will be bitterly disappointed.

Ed is no loony lefty. He recognises that for Labour to win in 2015 (perhaps even earlier….I’m not convinced the coalition has got the election date locked) it needs to remain in the progressive centre. The era of New Labour as a slogan may be over, but I think the party has changed forever. Ed was part of the ‘Project’, his Shadow Cabinet will be full of young modernisers. They ‘get’ that Labour has to ‘get’ aspiration. And that aspirational people aren’t just the middle class.

The speech itself, albeit minus a few bits and pieces (Iraq apologogy, etc), could have been delivered by his supposedly uber Blairite older brother.

Ed recognises that the political commentariat have already lobbed the legitimacy bomb his way. He knows that he can’t be seen to be a Union stooge and that’s why I was pleased to here him unequivocally state that he had no truck with the “overblown rhetoric about waves of irresponsible strikes”. You only had to look at Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson’s faces to see how that went down with his supposed Union masters.

davidbroberts - 29, September 2010

Mate! Great to hear from you. I hope that the front lines are treating you well. Met Miss. Anderson [sic] last week for a drink…all’s well with her. Next time you’re in London…

(Boringly) I agree with everything you write: there’s simply no way that he’s daft enough to pursue some Union-appeasing lefty policy. I expect dark ruminations to emanate from the left left to come out any time now ‘said he’d support the Unions…etc etc’. He can then use this type of criticism as a badge of honor or a as shield or some other suitably cliched simile.

As to questions of his longer term success…hmmm. I was not remotely impressed by his speech. I thought that it was quite weak and his delivery was far from statesmanlike. Still, it’s early days for him I suppose. Hopefully he’ll grow into it. After all, ignoring the Brown aberration (would that we could!), I suppose I’m implicitly comparing him to – love him or hate him – one of the best orators of recent times: Blair.

3. An old friend - 4, October 2010

Great to hear from you too mate. Really interesting blog – I try to have a look every now and again. An expert in Qatari affairs eh…..well at least one of us has gone on to actually ‘use’ their Masters for something in the field!

I don’t venture to the capital that often, in fact I haven’t been back since I left years and years ago. But if i do, I will def give you a call.

I hope we’re both right. I’m pretty confident he and his team have learnt lessons. I don’t know if you saw a pretty stinging article/open letter from Tim Allen in the Guardian the other day? Whilst I don’t agree with the overall sentiment, one thing he said rings true – Ed and the other candidates have spent the last 4 months in the Labour bubble, talking to hardcore grassroots supporters. There’s always a danger with new leaders that they retreat back to the comfort zone because having spent so long talking to party members they begin to think they represent mainstream views. I hope to god he doesn’t fall into that trap.

It will be interesting to see how it plays out over the next few weeks and months. He faces a couple of tests on the Union paymaster front and I hope he sticks to his Conference declaration that he won’t support irresponsible strikes. One positive sign on that front was his early call for BBC staff not to disrupt coverage of the Tory conference.

It may not surprise you to hear that I supported DM, for a number of reasons but mainly because I thought he looked more of a leader than the others, and whilst I’m not slavish enough to think we did everything right, I wasn’t a huge fan of the revisionism and (occasional) hostility to an approach that delivered 3 terms in office for a progressive party in the UK.

I (boringly) agree. The jury’s out on his long term success. For me Ed is a work in progress. As you say, early days. His most inspirational but….we could have had Diane!! And I completely agree (double tedium) about the comparison problem. As unfashionable as it is at the moment, I am a massive TB fan!

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