Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Different Labour, no longer New Labour

A large amount of Ed Miliband's speech today could have been given by David Cameron, and even more of the speech could have been given by Nick Clegg. The new Labour leader wanted to show that he is very different to the past few leaders of his party.

The Iraq War, the removal of civil liberties, mass emigration, even how to combat the deficit, Ed Miliband said that the Labour government had been wrong. He was trying to show that under his leadership, Labour will be a very different party to the one that lost the election last May (even though it was Ed Miliband who wrote the 2010 Labour manifesto).

Although there was a lot of criticism of the Prime Minister, which was expected, there was nothing about the Deputy PM. Perhaps Ed Miliband is thinking of a future coalition government of his own - or maybe he'd like to gain the support of those Liberal Democratic voters who feel disillusioned with their party's union with the Conservatives. At the general election, the Conservatives received 36% of the vote, Labour had 29% and the Liberal Democrats 23%. The most recent poll showed the Conservatives at 39%, Labour in the lead at 40% and the Liberal Democrats down to just 12%. In order to become Prime Minister, Ed Miliband will have to keep those Liberal Democratic voters who have switched to Labour.

The speech itself was good, but Ed Miliband is not yet as good an orator as Tony Blair, President Obama or David Cameron. However, such skills often come with time. The wounds in the Miliband family, caused by the leadership election, will probably heal with time as well.

All the indications are that David Miliband will not seek election to the Shadow Cabinet, and thus leave frontline politics. So there will be no Miliband equivalent of the Blair-Brown rivalry on the Labour frontbench, and from now on when I say 'Mr. Miliband' I shall be refereeing to Ed.

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