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Posts Tagged ‘Miliband’

Comparison of the day

Brilliant post from Dizzy here.

UPDATE: Minutes to go to Brown’s speech, one can feel the pressure of so much momentum building up

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So we all knew Miliband’s article was going to be controversial (to say the least), but come on people! some Labour MPs are throwing stones on their own roof.

Today’s calls by Brown ultra-loyalists for the PM to sack Miliband are completely out of line and a massive political error on their part. Miliband wrote what I thought was a brilliant article (read the post below for a more detailed analysis). He identifies the key flaws in Labour’s current strategy and sketches a way out for the government to regain political momentum. Are we to sack people just for being good at their job now? The Foreign Secretary is one of Labour’s most precious assets at the moment. As I argued yesterday, he has a brilliant political mind that can help the PM in these difficult times.

If Brownites want to sack Miliband for writing better stuff than the PM is at the moment then they are just digging Labour’s (and their own) grave by denying the party much needed clarity of ideas. A political party is a common project, all ideas should be welcomed and debated not just shot down for being so brilliant they threaten the status quo. I really hope these Labour MPs are acting out of their own initiative and not from orders from Brown. The PM should make clear to his supporters and to the party in general that he welcomes Miliband’s article and ideas. That will show he’s not scared and is up to the job and as he promised when he took office a year ago he will form ‘a government of all talents’.

I will seriously reconsider my support for Gordon Brown to remain party leader in the future if he isn’t able to incorporate new ideas and constructive criticism to his political project. As Martin Luther King once said: ‘the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy’‘.

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The MSM is having an early Christmas today. Yesterday’s slow news’ day ended with the announcement in Newsnight of Miliband’s Guardian article today. I bet most MSM pundits woke up early today to have a go at reading the runes behind the Foreign Secretary’s words.

Miliband’s article today could be a good first step for Labour. Let me explain why. The article identifies two important structural flaws in Labour’s current political strategy. Firstly, he talks about updating the party’s message from rescuing dying public services, that’s been accomplished, to greater redistribution and decentralisation. And secondly, he rightly notes that Cameron’s style of leadership is taken straight out of Tony Blair’s New Labour handbook. Cameron’s leadership should be outdated because it was built to fight Blair, the problem for Labour is Brown hasn’t moved on from the politics and message of the Blair years and is losing to a Blairite like Cameron.

So that’s the core of the article, and it’s a brilliant analysis (the guy was Blair’s ultimate policy wonk, he certainly got the brains for it). Labour must move on, saved public services, now let’s get on with redistribution and devolution to consolidate achievements. If Brown does that, he will a) have a mandate of his own, as Blair had it in 97, and b) outpace Cameron on policy and get him out of his comfort zone, the Blairite style of doing politics.

How could all go wrong? If Miliband is seriously thinking about pushing Brown under the train. I’ve argued this many times before, whomever replaces Brown will have a two-year bumpy ride with both the MSM and opposition shouting ‘three leaders, no election’, and probably lose at the end of it.

Instead, Miliband should go see Brown after his holiday and work with him in the new September message. A new vision for Britain after the success of the late 90s and early 2000s. Give it all out for Brown now and be seen by party members as a loyal party activist next time around (and no knife-wielding baggage either). What’s the worst that could happen? If Brown loses he can run in 2010 for the leadership. If Brown wins, and as he’s only serving one term, Miliband would be leader in 2014 at the age of 49. In politics, timing is everything. This is Miliband’s opportunity to become a big player in the party and further strengthen his credential as future party leader.

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Reading the Sunday press I cannot but feel that Labour has entered into self-destructive mode. One call for Brown’s resignation, another for the appointment of a Deputy PM, but noone is tackling the key question, why are voters disillusioned with Labour.

Let me tackle these three points in more detailed.

Firstly, I have to say I’m a big fan of Alan Johnson and David Miliband. I think both represent the sensible side of New Labour and both have the charisma in them to renew the party in the future. But I have to say now is not the time to be plotting an internal coup d’etat to place any of the two as potential heirs to the throne . This Government has already changed PMs without a general election, it won’t do a second time. So let’s with that argument discard the replacement of Brown as a no-go area.

Secondly, the appointment of a Deputy PM. This could be a viable solution but only if that Deputy was a) a popular heavyweight (Miliband and Johnson again come to mind) and b) was willing to, ‘a la Prescott’, throw his full support behind Brown. Two problems arise here. Firstly, Harriet Harman as Deputy Leader should be the natural choice, but it’s definitely not the right political choice. And secondly, a heavyweight, as the natural heir to Brown, could be prone to pull his punches to position himself for the leadership if the PM loses the next general election.

And our third point, who’s talking about the real cause of the problem? noone is. It seems like Labour thinks a new face will do. But what they don’t realise is that a new face will a) divide the party and b) be doomed by negative process stories in the media. The solution comes, and I won’t get tired of repeating this, with bold policy and leadership moves. Brown is an ideological politician, bring back ideology, stop the ideological blurring of the debate because that only benefits Cameron. The least specific Labour is about its project (which currently doesn’t exist as such) the better for the Tories. Having said that Brown can’t do this alone. He needs a strong and united team behind him. He can’t get the party back on message if he has to keep putting off fires within his own party and if the heavyweights aren’t out there defiant and ready to battle inch by inch both in Parliament and in public.

The longer Labour MPs keep fuelling the debate on Brown the worst it’s going to get independently of the outcome of the revolt. The best option the party has to rebuild its electoral fortunes is to give Brown a final real chance, with Deputh PM or without it.

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