Subjective Objectivity – The Blog of The Reasonable Man

September 29, 2010

Curb Your Edthusiasm

Filed under: Uncategorized — mikeshotgun @ 8:17 pm

Nick having led the way with new Labour leadership posts, it seems incumbent on me to follow suit. Devotees will recall that I wasn’t particularly enamoured by the line-up, or even what they had to offer. I’m no Ed Miliband fan, but that’s mostly because I find his perpetual attempts to concern troll the Liberal Democrats (for whom I voted for reasons that are too tedious to rehearse here but suffice it to say that I found their entry into the Coalition a satisfying turn of events) both patronising and indicative of the reason why a rainbow or even Lib-Lab coalition was little more than a deranged fever dream. 

Anyway, I agree with Nick that the elder Miliband’s departure was a smart move, both personally and for the party as a whole. Their interests would have been ill-served by a shadow cabinet seen through the prism of perceived fratricidal conflict that would have sent Fleet Street’s finest into what passes for an orgasm among the chronically subhuman. The stories write themselves and would have been so utterly tedious I feel a little sick just thinking about it. 

So, is Ed Miliband as leader a good move? For Labour activists, Union members and the party’s poll numbers, yes.

I could say that I’m not remotely impressed by him, thought his speech was just… awful and that have zero faith that he will be responsible for reclaiming a single lost Labour voter. I didn’t see it, but it certainly didn’t read well to me (though I’ll admit to coming up on the speeches of Lincoln and Roosevelt, so probably a higher than fair standard). Indeed, one of my leftmost friends described it as “sixth form”. That’s about right.

But then I’m not his intended audience. People like Polly Toynbee are. And for them it’s kind of a shot in the arm – he’s apologised for the aspects of the party that most offended the rump of the base, and he took enough swipes at the Coalition to make it seem like he’ll be the combative fella they all hoped and dreamed of. Fine. I won’t go into a blow-by-blow, though the portion where he repudiated Labour’s record on civil liberties while defending the CCTV and DNA regimes in place kind of jarred me.

No matter. The question is, can he lead the party back to victory at the next election, whenever that may be? My gut says he won’t. Yes, the Guardian were trumpeting the polls that had Labour at 40% and the Tories at 39% (with Lib Dems at 15%). These are meaningless for two reasons. Number one, the circumstances that might lead to an election being held tomorrow or next week or next month, would be so cataclysmic to the political landscape it would in no way resemble the circumstances under which the poll was taken. I cannot even imagine them, and I watch too much TV. Number two – Ed Miliband’s personal numbers aren’t great if you look at the underlying figures, which leads me to suspect that this is merely a reaction to the changing of the guard and the fresh blood therein. I also don’t think what whatever support is there for Ed has actually coalesced into anything solid. He hasn’t really had much time to be defined beyond the juvenile “Red Ed” label that he was trying to shake yesterday.

For example, Google’s predictive results when typing “Ed Miliband” in earlier? First came “speech” then came “wife”. Ed Miliband is not married to his partner (though kudos to the twisted denizens of the internets who clearly wanted to see how good looking she was). No one really knows who he is. And why would they? He spent the better part his career as an official in the Treasury and then entered Parliament at the last election.

For the record, these aren’t critiques, just points about how he has no real national presence, and I’m not saying he even needs any, but once he attains some, the shine will inevitably come off and in the meanwhile his voting record as an MP and participation as a minister in Labour’s less than successful third term will be the starting point. 

You see, at the minute it’s really fashionable in Labour circles to hate on Blair, and it almost seems like that’s what he was doing, but if you read carefully he actually defends the first two Blair ministries. And somehow he’s pulled the sleight of hand to indicate that he’s not a product of Brownism or Blairism, when in fact he’s very much a product of both. I don’t think this by any particular rhetorical or political skill, but merely by the fact that of the three candidates that had a shot at this thing, he was such a relative blank slate, that commentators of all stripes have been able to project on him what they believe he thinks, courtesy of a largely inoffensive record, and a pretty well orchestrated (if PR and poll driven) campaign.

Anyways. Mazeltov young Miliband – this is about as generous as I’m likely to get in your direction, especially if you keep saying meaningless tripe like this:

“We may be of a similar age, but in my values and ideals I am of a different and new generation.”

Yeah. I have no earthly clue what that means either.

Though on the plus side “We are the Optimists”, apart from sounding like a Beijing tourism official translated it from “Yes we can”, makes a pretty good pub quiz team name. 

Cross-posted at Something Quotable

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