Two down, one to go
Party conferences are meant to give political parties a boost. Not so with Labour’s conference this week. Most pundits viewed the Conference as flat and Ed Miliband’s speech as even flatter. As The Sun (never one of Ed’s fans) cruelly pointed out, arguably the most exciting bit was when the live TV feed failed. As attention now turns to the Conservatives, where does Labour stand?
Although Miliband receiving a drubbing in the media, his position in the Labour Party is not in imminent danger. Of his colleagues only Yvette Cooper, wife of Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, is being touted as a potential leadership challenger. Most observers believe it a near certainty that Miliband will lead his party into the next election. With the Coalition likely to last at least three more years Miliband and his party have plenty of time to put flesh on the bone of his “new bargain”.
So far, the only groups who have bought into the bargain are the trade unions and Labour faithful. Instead of using the Conference as an opportunity to establish himself on the centre ground, Miliband planted his colours on the left. His attack on the “predators” of private equity – which provoked the ire of the City (as one might expect) – shows not merely his left leaning instincts, but also highlights the degree to which he owes his position to the trade unions. If there is industrial unrest in the autumn (over pensions), it is likely to test Miliband’s leadership still further.
Finally, one bad conference does not kill a party. Compared with the Conservatives after their wipeout in 1997, Labour has many strengths. Trade union cash, 258 MPs (almost a hundred more than William Hague had) and – most important of all – being the only main Opposition party still means it has the potential to be a significant fighting force. If the economy does dip back into recession, and Ed Miliband’s attack on “vested interests” finds its mark, maybe he can strike – as he hopes – a “new bargain” with the British people. If…
Posted by Quiller Consultants
on 30/09/2011 00:00:00
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