Is Labour being punished for picking the wrong Miliband?

Is Labour being punished for picking the wrong Miliband?

Is this the reason for the disappointing polls?

Just after mid-day, when Ed Miliband gets to his feet for his first PMQs as leader of the opposition, you can bet that some commentator somewhere will observe that the new Labour leader does not have the backing of the MPs behind him.

For ever since EdM was declared winner on that September Saturday in Manchester there’ve been ongoing suggestions that somehow his election was illegitimate. It was as though newspapers and broadcasters covering politics had made up their minds beforehand that DavidM was going to be Gordon Brown’s replacement and they’ve been thwarted.

The collective “group-think” by large parts of the media has impacted on the coverage of EdM’s first eighteen days in the job and he has had nothing like the honeymoon that many, including me, were predicting.

Just recall the coverage of his first big speech at the Labour conference a couple of weeks ago. The story was not his vision for the movement but the reaction of his brother to the comments on Iraq.

We’ve also seen on the one hand him being described as “ruthless” for sacking Chief Whip, Nick Brown, and then, often by the same journalist, criticised for being “timid” for not choosing Mr. Balls as his shadow chancellor. So is he ruthlessly timid or timidly ruthless – you choose.

All this, I think, is impacting on the polls and last night’s News International daily poll from YouGov had C43-L36-LD12 which must have been depressing for the red team.

This is quite serious for Labour because new leaders need and usually get media honeymoons. Just recall the boosts that the media gave John Major in 1990, Tony Blair in 1994, David Cameron in late 2005 and Gordon Brown in the summer of 2007. All these saw improved polling numbers.

Is it recoverable for EdM? We’ll have to see.

Mike Smithson

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