Labour need not only a decent leader they also need a decent strategist to help the new leader

Labour need not only a decent leader they also need a decent strategist to help the new leader

Video: Michael Fallon warning Ed Miliband will stab UK in the back just as he did to his brother David.

It can be argued that the next Labour leader has the hardest task any Labour leader faces since Arthur Henderson. Labour are vulnerable on their left flank, from a Farron led Lib Dem party who will be more attractive to Labour supporters than Nick Clegg. They will also have to deal with the Greens and the SNP on their left. They also have UKIP to contend with on their right flank.

But most crucially Labour have to face a Tory party intent on parking its tanks on the centre ground, as further evidenced by George Obsorne’s announcement this week on the living wage. Coming up with policies that appeals to all those groups without annoying any of those groups will also be a challenge.

The new Labour leader also has to contend with how to deal with the previous Labour government’s economic legacy, an issue that proved so damaging for Labour at the last election. Given past trends, Labour are unlikely to win a majority in 2020, but they could be in a position to  form a government in 2020 with SNP support. So the other major issue that they will have to deal with is how to make a Lab/SNP coalition in 2020 appealing to voters in England.

Labour would be making a strategic mistake if they ignored these issues, and hoped that things can only get better for them if the government screws up. If the new Labour leader thinks they don’t have the ability to deal with these strategic issues, then they should bring in someone who can deal with these issues.

There’s only one person who seems egregiously qualified for such a task, that’s Lord Mandelson. He has the track record, he helped Tony Blair with his first two election victories, he also put the party first, by burying the hatchet with Gordon Brown, and helping Gordon Brown’s government. There are those who say, that Mandelson’s approach in the run up to the 2010 election, helped deny the Tories a majority.

It should also help the new Labour leader negate the inevitable deeply personal attacks on them that will come, the Tories weren’t afraid to say from the very start of Ed’s leadership that Ed Miliband was the guy who stabbed his brother in the back, which as in the video at the top of the thread, was amped up during the election campaign, to say you can’t trust him to run the country because he stabbed his brother in the back.

You can see how the Tories might use the events at Stafford Hospital or Yvette Cooper’s past health problems or who her husband is to attack the leadership of Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper in the same way they managed to damage Ed Miliband’s leadership from the the very start by not making him look credible or competent, because in the world of politics, sometimes perceptions matter more than the facts.

The most interesting thing I read this week was James Morris, Ed Miliband’s pollster saying, “no point analysing [general election] campaigns as they don’t really matter. The die is cast earlier in the electoral cycle.” Which means the new Leader cannot afford to let the Tories define who he or she is, as Ed Miliband found out to his cost.

Whilst David Cameron will not be fighting the next election, the architects of the Tory majority, George Osborne (in one capacity or another), Lynton Crosby and Jim Messina should all still be there in 2020. Like the advice Eliot Ness was given to defeat Al Capone. They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. Bringing back Mandelson would be the metaphorical gun to the Tory knives.


PS – My bit of a free advice to the Labour party on how to put a positive spin on a potential Lab/SNP coalition at Westminster. Point out that the Tories had an unofficial alliance with the minority SNP government at Holyrood between 2007 and 2011, if the SNP in government is so terrible and evil, why did the Tories inflict it on Scotland for four years?

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