Labour’s Leadership Crisis Explodes into the Papers
Following Labour’s poor local election results and the huge damage done to their electoral base in their Scottish heartland by the SNP it was probably inevitable that questions would be asked about the leadership of Ed Miliband. It is worth remembering that a majority of Labour MPs didn’t vote for him, neither did a majority of Labour members; he won the election due to the block votes of the Trades Union, over his older brother. In recent weeks his leadership has been criticised for the lack of vision and his refusal to apologise for Labour’s economic failures, of which he and Ed Balls share much responsibility.
The last week has brought the added revelation of the plotting and divisions with the Labour party during the latter days of Tony Blair’s premiership. The “Brownites” were determined to remove Blair and install Gordon Brown soon after the 2005 General Election. The two Ed’s have been shown as key conspirators in the plotting. Now it seems that the younger Miliband is facing growing troubles over his own leadership, or lack of it. The papers today are full of articles questioning whether Ed will survive until the next General Election and bemoaning his poor start in the job. David Miliband has even had to issue a denial that he still covets the leadership and he has urged the party to unite behind Ed.
The one thing which seems to be saving Miliband’s face is the continuing (albeit small) lead in most opinion polls. The daily YouGov poll continues to show Labour over 40%, although few others do. The respected site Political Betting.com highlights the poor ratings Ed is receiving when the public is asked about his leadership.
Some Conservatives are worried that if Ed Miliband is toppled by the Labour Party that we will face a more credible opponent. The betting markets are already open for his successor, with some seeing David Miliband as a likely candidate and others siding with the Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy. That of course is possible but it is unlikely that Labour will be able to get rid of him, unless he is persuaded to go of his own accord. Whatever the speculation may be at present, I am convinced that Ed will still be leader at the time of the next General Election and that he will lead the party to an historic defeat comparable to Michael Foot in 1983. It seems that at least one other commentator agrees with this conclusion.
In the mean time the Labour party will no doubt make some gains in local elections and by-elections but fall well short of what they need in order to be on course to win a General Election. Individual donations to the party have plummeted in recent years as business people conclude that the party has no chance of winning a national election any time soon. The party is therefore increasingly dependent on the Trades Unions to stave off bankruptcy.
Is it any wonder that Labour is now led by someone who has earned the nickname of “Ed Moribund”?