Off with his Ed – Labour turn on the man who wasn’t meant to win

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By a Newsnet reporter
 
He was never meant to win, the contest that pitched brother against brother for the leadership of the Labour party was supposed to end with the anointment of King David.
 
However the script wasn’t followed and Ed, who had obtained the support of the Unions, pipped his brother at the post.

By a Newsnet reporter
 
He was never meant to win, the contest that pitched brother against brother for the leadership of the Labour party was supposed to end with the anointment of King David.
 
However the script wasn’t followed and Ed, who had obtained the support of the Unions, pipped his brother at the post.

The looks on the faces of Labour senior figures that day said it all and now those same senior figures appear to be making their move to usurp Ed’s throne.

Ed Miliband hasn’t set the heather on fire in his tenure and his jousts with David Cameron in the Commons have been lacklustre.

But these verbal exchanges are puffery.  They may make for great theatre but at the end of the day they do little to inspire or persuade the voter.

It’s about how you react to the big news events and how you set the agenda.  Miliband’s handling of the phone hacking scandal was OK but he has made little capital out of the public sector pension dispute.

The Conservative deficit reduction strategy is another that appears to offer plenty by way of ammunition, and notwithstanding Labour’s role in creating the deficit Ed has failed to dent Cameron and has no clear alternative economic message.

If independent analysts are to be believed the UK economy is heading for a double dip recession and thus far Ed has shown no aptitude for making hay when the sun shines.  Cameron waltzed out of EU negotiations and his popularity increased amongst middle England voters.

Then there’s the elephant in the room in the shape of the independence referendum and Miliband has been all but absent on this. 

The party are caught in a classic pincer movement with a majority SNP government in Scotland and a coalition at Westminster where the Tories have skilfully positioned themselves behind a gullible Lib Dem human shield.

Previous Labour leaders have been able to call upon seasoned ‘trench’ campaigners from Scotland to help out, but the days of Robin Cook, John Reid and Gordon Brown (pre-PM days) are over.  In their place are Tom Harris, Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander, and choosing Margaret Curran as the shadow Scottish Secretary is indicative of the fading firepower amongst Labour’s Scottish contingent.

There’s also no Alistair Campbell to help direct less than enthusiastic media commentators spread the Labour message.  Ed is the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Miliband is to attempt a re-launch of his leadership next week.  In truth though Miliband’s days are already numbered with so called allies issuing less than helpful statements.

Jim Murphy, quick to sense which way the wind is blowing, has marked his own self-preservation card.  The timing of Jim’s ‘credible defence cuts’ statement coming just days after former Blair aide Tim Allan accused Miliband of drowning out Ed Balls’ “highly pertinent arguments” on the Tory deficit reduction plans.

It also followed a less than helpful interview by Lord Glasman who said Miliband’s leadership had “no strategy, no narrative and little energy” – and Lord Glasman is supposed to be one of Ed’s allies.

The stark truth is that Miliband neither looks like or sounds like a PM in waiting.  The Labour party know this and the polls are confirming it.

The only concern for Labour is not whether Ed will remain but whether any attempted coup will be bloodless.

Names in the fray to step into the dead man’s shoes include ‘Mrs’ Ed Balls’, Yvette Cooper and former Chancellor Alistair Darling who is being touted as a temporary leader should Ed volunteer to spend ‘more time with his family’.

The opportunity to ease Ed out of the door may come after May’s local elections.  A failure to make significant gains against the Tory/Lib Dem coalition in England will provide the opportunity.

However May 3rd will present a paradox for Labour whose Scottish members know only too well the need to prevent the SNP from gaining even more momentum than they already have.

In England though many within Labour may be privately hoping the Lib Dem vote doesn’t collapse completely, leaving disgruntled Lib Dems to provide Ed with a spectacular Pyrrhic victory.

It’s going to be an interesting four months, and all the while a referendum creeps closer …