HenryG on the challenges facing the Labour leader
A significant article has just been published on the Tribune website – the journal of Labour’s heart and with longstanding union ties. It accurately sums up the frustrations many of us who supported Ed Miliband for Labour leadership have.
It correctly identifies the importance of the London mayoral election and the growing unease at a tactical lack of unity behind Ken Livingstone’s campaign. It is my firm view that if Ken loses then there will be a serious attempt to destabilise Ed Miliband.
Towards the very end of the Labour leadership campaign I wrote on politicalbetting.com that the worst thing that could happen would be for Ed to win just the trade union section of the election college. This was always going to be a problem.
The Scottish parliamentary results have caused some to ask ‘nice bloke, but is he a winner?’ A Labour defeat in London would cause widespread alarm. It would give a disgruntled rump of Blairites an opportunity to make a move.
Here are 5 ways for Ed Miliband to strengthen his position internally and externally.
1. Appoint Jon Cruddas as Party Chair and get him on the airwaves as much as possible. He’s English, Southern and can make a far better fist of the Blue Labour agenda than anyone else. Sure he supported his brother but he’s has more politically in common with Ed. He’s completely wasted at the moment writing pamphlets and is a relatively fresh face to the public having not been a minister. His sole focus should be taking on the Tories.
2. Alongside this, appoint Iain McNichol as the party’s General Secretary in July. The GMB Political Officer is a respected trade union moderniser who can cover the leader’s back internally and strengthen the party organisationally. Flirting with appointing a Blairite such as the RSA’s Matthew Taylor only weakens Ed’s standing.
3. Allow Peter Hain to carry on the party renewal process but give him joint ownership of redesigning the whole Scottish Labour operation away from Jim Murphy’s sole control Let it be known that Ken Macintosh it the preferred leadership candidate recognising that he’s the only figure who can plausibly take on Alec Salmond. Ensure he has the full resources to win decisively.
4. Ensure that Ken’s Livingstone’s London campaign isn’t left to Ken. Build a national fundraising strategy for the campaign, have trusted staff members on the campaign team and insist on a strategy that will also appeal to sufficient parts of outer London too. A perceived ‘core vote’ approach will reflect badly on Labour nationally – win or lose.
5. Do more to exploit Coalition weaknesses on law and order. The cuts will mean that police numbers are falling, courts are being closed, legal support is being withdrawn and sentencing is being reduced. If there is one single issue to show the Conservatives as being out of touch it is this. Being tough on crime is not a right-wing issue – most victims of crime are ordinary working class people – but fear of crime reaches everyone. The media support for this will be significant and it will cause internal difficulties within the Coaliton parties.
If Ed Miliband doesn’t substantially strengthen his position over summer I fear that the odds of 12/1 for an Ed Miliband exit in 2012 with William Hill could well be of significant value. And for the Labour Party, that would be a disaster and a shame.
Henry G Manson @henrygmanson (Twitter)
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