Monday, 6 September 2010

Ed Miliband: Labour Leadership Special

Ed Miliband wrote Labour's 2010 election manifesto and is the son of renowned Marxist theorist Ralph Miliband. The previous Secretary of State for Energy and Climate is being backed by former Labour leader Neil Kinnock and is being endorsed by various trade unions including UNISON, GMB and UNITE.

Ed is being supported by prolific blogger and Chair of Birmingham Fabian Society Claire Spencer:
In many ways, the leadership candidates are homogenous – four are 40-something males and all are Oxbridge graduates, with overlapping stances on the biggest issues. This means that whoever we do elect needs to be able to empathise with those in the Labour movement who have had different paths through life, and most importantly, those who have not had their advantages. Ed Miliband has that empathy, and it comes across as warmth, appreciation and understanding. “Ed speaks human”, the campaign said in its early days – but just as important to me is that “humans enjoy speaking with Ed”, and that they will be listened to and valued.

Furthermore, he is determined that, come the next leadership race, the line-up will look very different. His pledge for gender parity in the Shadow Cabinet, the trust instilled in him by the trade unions (including Unite, Unison and GMB), and his ideas on improving party democracy will make the party more representative of the movement, which will have a positive effect at the top.

Also important to me are his priorities – his unwavering focus on equality, dignity and fairness. Making the Living Wage a central plank of his campaign demonstrated that he cares about life outside work, and that he is determined to create a world where people who work hard to support family and friends can afford to spend time with them. But he also cares that they can work, and that Britain becomes a place that nurtures industry (particularly based around green technology) and continues to equip people with skills and knowledge via higher and further education. I want to live in that Britain, which is why I’m supporting Ed Miliband for Labour leader.
Do you agree with Claire? Is Ed the candidate who can unite the party? Does he have the gravitas to be Prime Minister? Or are his policies too left-wing? Let us know what you think below.

Tomorrow we’ll be looking at Ed Balls.


Michael R said...

I take exception to the idea that humans enjoy speaking to Ed - I've found him incredibly rude, as have a few others. Only seems interested in you if you indicate you're thinking of putting him in your top 2.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Ed Miliband is that a lot of the things people say about him - that he's good with people, he knows how to make good speeches, he's 'progressive' - were things people said about Blair. This makes me suspicious of what he actually stands for. Is he really as left as he 'speaks', or has he identified the benefit of having union and mass Party member support and just portrayed himself this way? I don't want to sound overly cynical, but isn't it possible that he is just part of this new generation of chameleon-like post-Blair and Cameron 'progressives'?

Claire Spencer said...

Michael R: I have never had that experience with Ed (or indeed, met anyone in person who has), before or during the Labour leadership process. Without knowing how your interaction went, there is little else I can say other than that.

Anonymous: My post centred around his policy ideas and priorities as much his qualities - you need that combination to be a good leader. I hope that his policy ideas, and the priority he gives to those ideas, will give you a good idea of what he stands for. I have a fuller list here, if you're interested:

My answer to your specific concern would be that I don't think Blair has the monopoly on the qualities you list - further, it would be very sad if we stopped trusting every person who exhibited such qualities.

Michael R said...

The interaction went essentially thusly...

EdM: Hi, nice to meet you. Would I be in your top two preferences?

Me: No, I don't think s...

*EdM turns and speaks to someone else*

I'd also met him in Merseyside during the General Election campaign, he wasn't the most personable of characters then either. Got flustered by questions and interactions with a floating voter or two.

Claire Spencer said...

Ah, but without my having been there, I can't really be an adequate judge of whether he was rude to you...or indeed, whether you were rude to him. Either way, I am sorry that he hasn't impressed you.

Dan @ Eyes on Power said...

Micheal R: Is your only issue with Ed Miliband that he seems rude? What do you think of his policies? I know personality is important - particularly in the age of PR - but surely policy should matter most.

I find it quite strange that Ed Miliband has been characterised as a 'Bennite' candidate. Few people would describe Ed as a Bennite (not least Tony Benn) so where has this assertion come from?

Tweet4Labour said...

Look lets not kid ourselves most of the candidates here are virtually identical in practical terms DM isn't to the right of Blair EM isn't to the left of Benn. Balls can breathe independently of Brown and Burnham has left Leigh to go to something other than an Everton game.

Diane may be different but that doesn't make her more electable by any means.

I'm voting for Ed Miliband because

1)He has the greatest understanding of the electoral landscape and how we return to power.

2)He combines the maximum of electability and the maximum of progressive values

3)He realises this is not 1994 anymore and the need to leave the comfort zone.

Labour Lefty said...

@Dan I agree where does that come from?
I think EM will be our next leader and deserves to be so his proven track record stands him in good stead and his policies really shine ... though as with all candidates it's a little hard to find any flesh for those bones.

Dan @ Eyes on Power said...

Interesting comments. Would you all agree that Ed Miliband is the most likely candidate to attract disaffected Lib-Dem voters?

Tim said...

Dan: yep I'd def say he's best placed to win back lib dems and also labour voters that have left. He has a sophisticated and sensible view onwhy we lost and how we can win again. Recent polls show his policies appeal to massive sections of the voting population; those policies are why I support him

Anonymous said...

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I voted Lib Dem in the last election. I'd like to see a return to the progressive policies made under Tony Blair pre-Iraq war so David Miliband's the man for me. I'm not sure which disaffected voters Ed Miliband is trying to attract, but his proposed shift to the left (complete with a criticism of capatalism) is not going to reach out to us Lib Dems.

Liza said...

All of the candidates are human, let's face it!

I met Ed Miliband at the Manchester Hustings and although he was polite enough, he was the only candidate that didn't appear to want to make a conversation with myself or the others I was with, perhaps he wasn't as relaxed as the others, I don't know.
I enjoyed my conversations with the rest of the candidates, so I was quite surprised at Ed having heard about this so-called "human" affect.
His brother however, and yes I have been a supporter of David all along, was chatting away to all of us and anyone else around him as did Andy, Ed B and Diane when we eventually caught up with her.
If anyone, because of his political upbringing/experience and status as foreign sec or shadow as it is now - I would have thought it might have been David who couldn't relate to or empathize with anyone. But he really can and can have a laugh at the same time which I think makes him very like us and approachable at the end of the day.

I don't think Ed will attract disaffected Lib-Dem voters either, he's made his bed with the Unions - not a bad thing as I'm all for them but I personally think the Unions need a big shake up too. And as they are closely associated with the Left of the party perhaps it might put some off.

Anonymous said...

When meeting Ed, I don't think he came across as rude - I actually thought he came across as shy. When engaged in a conversation he was charming, polite and funny - but he has that initial sense of unease at the very beginning.

But being shy shouldn't detract from his very good policies and the fact, when he speaks about the Party, he engages with the audience and has swung a lot of people back to us (as have other candidates).

If this was purely a personality contest, Burnham would win - but it's not, and we need to stop looking for another Tony Blair.

Johnsonite said...

How would Burnham win on personality? He's hardly Mr Universe. I think personality is a dangerous thing for a modern politician. Alan Johnson is probably the only Labour front bencher with a shred of personality - but he didn't want to stand. He wouldve been my choice all the way

Post a Comment