Saturday, 25 September 2010

Being Ed?

So, the Labour Party has made its choice, and Ed Miliband is now the leader. The eventual results of this will not be shown for some time, but it would be a mistake either for Labour to see him as leading to the promised land, or the Tories or Liberal Democrats to write him off. You don't get to the place he is now, without talent and intelligence, and the ability to make your case, or stand your ground.

Those who know nothing about politics have christened him 'Red' Ed, which demonstrates a real lack of political knowledge. Ed Miliband is a typical social democrat which is not the same thing as being a socialist by any stretch of the imagination.

The public will now need to get to know him, and decide whether they like what they see and hear. That, of course, is the issue, and would be the same for any leader. However, he will have a baptism of fire on October 20th, as the coalition present the spending review. During the campaign he said we should have an alternative ready, and I hope he carries through on that. If he fails to do so, it would put him straight onto the back foot.

However, that is for the future, even if it is the very near future. There will be a lot of goodwill towards him, and he has a short honeymoon ahead of him. He needs to grab it, and present himself as a serious heavyweight politician, starting on tomorrow's Andrew Marr Show.

Unfortunately, in this day and age, people, led by the media, are prone to instant judgements, whereas it will take him time to create his public persona. Just as it did for David Cameron when he became Tory leader, after all, at the beginning of his campaign, his standing was at 5%.

There is also, in the end, a huge difference between being leader, and just a member, no matter how influential, or senior you may be. Leadership is a totally different beast. Think about how Nick Clegg said last week, how different it was being in government, to being in opposition, and how much harder it was.

Ed Miliband, will be a different person to how he was in cabinet or just an ordinary opposition shadow, he will now have to decide the direction, and the policy, and persuade others that that is the right way to go. That in the end will be the real test of his leadership. It's all very well leading the opposition to the government, but leading your own forces, is often more difficult, as honest Tories will admit, watching the way the right wing of the Conservative Party is constantly sniping against the leadership, and the coalition policies.

I give Ed my support, but it can't be unconditional, because that would be irresponsible. Labour needs to reposition itself to the centre-left, as the 'New' Labour agenda has been somewhat hijacked by the Cameron wing of the Tory Party. I don't think he will take us far to the left, but position us near the ground the Liberal Democrats tried to grab, with some success, before they went into government.

So if Ed does that, i will be happy enough, if he lurches too far left, I will be critical. So, best wishes and good luck Ed, and let's go to it!

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