It has not been Ed Miliband’s most successful week as Labour leader. His response to the budget last week was filled with the usual Labour sound bites which resulted in a speech that simply was not relevant. It simply just reinforced the clear fact that he is not (and probably never will be) in a position to become Prime Minister. It has been very enjoyable flicking through the papers seeing the Labour leadership in crisis. Both The Times and The Telegraph stating that Miliaband is under pressure, the Financial Times saying that they are in a mess over pensions. There is also the very interesting poll that concluded that 41% of the electorate think Miliaband is weird (backed up on the video of him sniffing a woman on TV).
Almost four years after being elected, it is not surprising that there is anxiety on the backbenchers. Grassroots are also panicking. They are worried that their top man is simply not getting any better. The concerned in the party have now acted. They have essentially told Miliband to toughen up and not to ‘play safe’. They are anxious that the Labour leader is solely relying on the unpopularity of the government to win a majority. His populist policies too, according to the signatories of a letter sent to him, do not appeal to the widespread voting public. Now while this letter is not a direct criticism of his leadership, it does show the concerns within the party. With the general election looming, I think it is safe to say that these events are just the beginning. As we get closer, they will realise that Miliband is simply not suitable to be given the top job.
No doubt though Miliband will try to improve. Will he roll up his sleeves and become more aggressive? The answer is no. He will give it all he has got but frankly it does not seem to be in his character. His ‘Wallace’ image will always stay with him. After almost four years, it is very difficult to change the public opinion. He has failed to prove himself as a real leader and now time has essenatilly run out to change that.
After failing to find a Labour supporter who praises him, it is difficult to understand why he is still there. There have been a few quiet suggestions for a possible ‘coup’ with Alistair Darling being lined up. Soon, one could imagine a scene from The Thick Of It, with a senior Labour official stating that ‘Miliband is unelectable’. While it is unlikely, I am sure some members are saying that very quietly to themselves. Despite the pressure that will be put on him, it is unlikely he will change. Strong leadership does not seem to be one of his traits. As tensions grow, I cannot wait for the divisions in the party to emerge.