Labour struggling for leadership as public rejects Miliband

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By a Newsnet reporter
 
Labour is suffering a full leadership and identity crisis north and south of the border as the party holds its UK wide conference.
 
As Labour politicians and leadership candidates in Scotland line up to condemn the party’s lack of policies, a Sunday Times YouGov poll shows most Scots don’t know what Ed Miliband stands for and those that do don’t think he’s doing a good job.

The poll shows 54% of Scots think Ed Miliband is doing badly or very badly as leader, 60% think he has not provided good opposition, 67% of people in Scotland don’t know what he stands for and 58% don’t think he’s up to the job of Prime Minister.

Asked who should lead the Labour party, David Miliband and Ed Balls appeared as the top choice amongst people in Scotland.

Labour in Scotland has been hit with string of damaging revelations in recent weeks with news that over 20 Glasgow councillors face being de-selected and threats of a rival party being set up.  It has also emerged that former Labour minister and MSP Frank McAveety has been kept off of Labour’s list of replacement councillors as police continue investigations into claims of expenses fraud.

The party are also struggling to find a replacement for Iain Gray who remains leader at Holyrood nearly five months after announcing he would step down after leading the party to a humiliating defeat in the Scottish elections.

Candidate for the Scottish leadership, Tom Harris, gave a scathing critique of the party.  Mr Harris, who is a reluctant candidate for the role of leader in Scotland, claimed that Labour in Scotland faced being seen as irrelevant.

Mr Harris said: “We are not taken seriously today.   We are not saying anything that’s relevant.   The only think keeping us in contention is all the alternatives are crap.

“…This is a life or death election for us.  I think it’s quite conceivable the Labour party could stop being relevant in a few years.  It happened to the Tory party.  That could happen to the Labour party.”

Commenting on Ed Miliband’s poor performance in Scotland SNP MP for Dundee East Stewart Hosie said:

“Labour is facing a crisis of leadership north and south of the border.  On the opening day of their conference Ed Miliband is plummeting in the polls and the leadership in Scotland is non-existent.  The few people in Scotland who know who Ed Miliband is are clearly not impressed with what they are seeing.

“Even more damning for Ed Miliband is that people across Scotland prefer David Miliband and even Ed Balls to Labour’s current leader.

“There is utter confusion over what Labour stand for and who Labour are.  The anonymity of their UK leader and Scottish leadership contestants is only making matters worse.”

Meanwhile outgoing Labour leader Iain Gray is exected to launch a personal attack on Alex Salmond as his party seeks to dent the SNP’s dominance in Scotland.  In a speech to the Labour conference today Mr Gray is expected to launch an attack on Alex Salmond’s economic Plan MacB labelling it as “nothing but MacBull”.

Mr Gray is expected to attack the SNP’s growth record as worse than George Osborne’s and will claim that the SNP have cut thousands of public sector jobs.

SNP business convener Derek MacKay said: “Iain Gray is talking nonsense on tax, nonsense on the economy and utter rubbish when he talks down Scotland’s record on health, safety and education.”

Sunday Times/YouGov poll
22nd – 23rd September, 229 people in Scotland.

Do you think Ed Miliband is doing well or badly as leader of the Labour party?
Well 30%
Badly 57%
DK 13%

Asked if Ed Miliband has made an effective opposition to the Government
No 60%,
Yes 23%
DK 17%

Has or has not made it clear what he stands for?
Has 18%
Has not 67%
DK 15%

Would or would not be up to the job of Prime Minister?
Would not 58%
Would 24%
Don’t know 18%

Who should lead the Labour party?
David Miliband 24%
Ed Miliband 8%
Ed Balls 10%
Harriet Harman 6%
Yvette Cooper 2%
DK 50%