Could Miliband be Labour’s Nick Clegg?

Could Miliband be Labour’s Nick Clegg?


    Has he really got what it takes to undermine Cameron?

Now there’s a headline, I know, designed to provoke a largish slice of the PB audience but it could be correct.

For every Labour person I’ve spoken to over the past forty-eight hours, and for various reasons that has been quite a few, has told how under Gordon they are heading for oblivion but that David Miliband is “the one” who can turn the party’s fortunes round.

They believe passionately that he has what it takes to take on the Tories, to get Labour’s message over and to exploit what they see as serious weaknesses in David Cameron’s position.

    The qualities and powers that are being attributed to the young Foreign Secretary are similar to the hopes that many Lib Dem supporters invested in Nick Clegg after Ming Campbell stepped down last October. Without upsetting the latter group too much most would agree, surely, that he has yet to live up to the billing

For just because one party has managed to turn itself round by electing an articulate and apparently charming leader in his 40s with an Oxbridge background does not necessarily mean that the Lib Dems then and now Labour should consider doing the same.

What we need here is some named leader polling – something that in spite of a mass of surveys in recent weeks no one paper has yet commissioned. This involves voting intention questions along the lines of those we saw in the two years leading up Brown’s June 2007 coronation – “Suppose the Conservative Party were to be led by David Cameron, Labour by David Miliband and the Liberal Democrats by Nick Clegg. If there were to be a General Election tomorrow how would you vote….?”

Precisely the same weightings and turnout elements were applied in these surveys as with the main voting qutestions and those up to last June proved to be remarkably good indicators about what would happen to Labour with Gordon at the helm. The factions within Labour who sought to rubbish them every month are paying the price now.

So how would Miliband do in a similar match-up? Let’s hope that one of the pollsters repeats the exercise.

Mike Smithson

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