Political Promise

Ju Shardlow On… The-Run-Of-The-Millibands

In Ju Shardlow on May 10, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Regardless of the outcome of this weekend’s Con-Lib bartering, “the electorate has spoken…” and we know what they’ve said. They’ve said no thank you, Mr Brown. Today, Bassetlaw MP John Mann came out in full force against the PM, claiming it was a “disaster” for Labour to try to “stagger on” while Mr Brown remained in charge.

Clegg isn’t going to prioritize propping up the PM now that he has promising lead from Cameron… an elected leader of his own party and object of at least some of the public trust. A senior Lib Dem source said: “The public have made it clear that they don’t want Gordon Brown to run the country….if we get to the point of negotiating with Labour, it would have to be with a new Labour leader.”

It is astonishing that an unelected man can stay in office for so long, especially after the Glasgow by-election leadership threats of last year. The party message and ‘Brown’ have become synonymous and need to separate, so if Labour are to be a credible opposition for the next few months/years they need to shop around for a replacement. Someone who can carry through the strong economic message that got those 258 seats, is on the parallel between the Primrose hill club and Brownism, and is media friendly/popular enough to shuffle into a second election.

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So who would usher the broke, strained party into its second shift in the post-Blair era? I have my opinions. For starters, no one with the surname Balls. Ed Balls will not be seriously considered until he legally changes his name. Cruel but necessary, considering that Balls’ leadership might lessen the ability of the British press to take the piss out of foreign leaders like Burlesque-oni or President Hu(?)

 It’s difficult to see the public ever warming to Harriet Harman enough when she steps in for the cooling period as Deputy leader. A woman who possesses all the menacing traits of Thatcher but without the blonde locks won’t deceptively soften us. Darling’s just been bogged down with the economic mess, Johnson never seized his moment and neither did Straw.

Ed and David Miliband outside Number 10

The BPIX/MOS poll last week in the Telegraph showed 45 per cent of voters believe David Milliband should replace Mr Brown as Labour leader if he is ousted. Milliband’s not exactly media-friendly and lacks the presentation skill needed for the future of televisual campaigning. However, post-bananagate he’s surrounded himself with a good team of advisors, and my does he want to job. Dejected Labour supporters could warm to his party optimism – a far cry from the tired Brown we last saw on the campaign trail. Granted, David has made some incredible gaffes. But he’s also made controversial and forward-thinking statements about Kashmir, the Tamil Tigers and GM foods, of which the boldness must be applauded.

But what of Ed “Mr lovely” Milliband? Will he emerge from the nice sofas of the Energy and Climate Change department to challenge his older brother? I genuinely, genuinely hope so. So far he has the vote of existing Brownites, having worked as a speechwriter for the then-shadow-chancellor in his early days. His brother’s neo-Blaritie persuasion helps keeps him in with the Primrose Hill set. He has made some exciting advances to cutting carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. Oh, and he looks like a Labrador (wife vote granted).

Both brothers seemed to fare well from the expenses scandal – Ed being hailed by the telegraph as one of the “saints” of the debacle, and David only rating 569th out of 647 for expenditure. They also share a similar voting record – falling broadly under the party whip on issues such as ID cards, anti-terror laws, Iraq and control orders. With either Milliband we’d have a greener Britain, further autonomy for schools, an elected house of lords, upgraded trident, the possibility of further electoral reform, a counting out system for immigrants and biometric passports, a maintained EU profile but more say on matters with the US and China, and a Mandelson-maintained economic recovery plan.

Something becomes clear from this list: many of Labour’s unfavorable policies would still be pushed in the house, a hangover from Blair’s anti-terror driven state. Even more worrying is the issues that are completely out of any party’s hands – inner-EU immigration, proper electoral reform – now the plaything of opinion polls, referendums and the markets. I suppose it’s the least anyone would have to contend with as leader. As a minor fan of Greek tragedy, I’d love to see a contest between the siblings. The alternative would just be balls.

  1. Interesting read. I’ve got to say I quite like Ed Balls. I know the name might be a problem but I think the bigger problem is that he lives in a marginal seat.
    To be honest I think all of the candidates have got a job on their hands to convince the public that they can be Prime Minister.
    For me though, David Miliband is not a desirable choice.

    • I’m quite drawn to Balls as well, haha… Sorry, I’m very immature for being in my 20s.

    • Desirable, I agree, is the last word that springs to mind when someone says “Miliband”.
      After shirking the Leadership contest last time, he’s hardly got the fearlessness of McDonnell or the honesty of Abbott. But maybe that’s the price to pay of being in the inner circle- your only ‘gutsy’ moments come when everyone else has backed out of the arena.

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