If the Milibands work together, we can win the next election

23rd September, 2010 11:30 am

sky debate milibandsBy Rory Kinane

This summer I have missed much of the leadership campaign as I have been embroiled in American politics, working over in the U.S Congress. Coming back to Britain I have been trying to catch up in order to make an informed decision on who to give my vote to. However, my overall judgment has been guided by what could be seen as a superficial gut instinct.

When looking at both Milibands on the campaign trail one thing strikes me about the image presented by both brothers. Ed looks like a Labour leader in waiting, David looks like a Prime Minister in waiting. It is wrong to base your vote for anybody simply on appearances, but this judgment of the two favourites is not merely a shallow opinion.

David has more gravitas, style and composure than his younger brother. More importantly, he appeals much more to regular voters and those all important swing voters.

This is not to say Ed is without style or merit. In fact he enjoys a large advantage over his brother in that he seems to understand the average Labour voter in a way David doesn’t. Ed speaks clearly and passionately on issues of real importance that matter deeply to our movement. He speaks with an empathy and understanding that makes me think of him as the conscience of the modern Labour movement. He sees where we lost working class support through poorly handled policies like the 10p tax issue. He realises we need to rebuild the trust we lost with the public over Iraq.

David does not have these qualities that have made Ed’s campaign so effective at coming from nowhere to level pegging. However, there is a reason David has been the man to beat from the start. He has the right combination of experience, relative youth, intellect, presentation and political skill.

In conversations with Labour friends, even those who have voted for Ed seldom disagree; David is the leader most likely to beat Cameron in five years’ time. We must remember that winning the election is the important thing, and that opposition is simply time where our achievements from the last thirteen years will be ruthlessly undone by an uncompromising Conservative government.

This analysis is not meant as a simple endorsement; in fact my main point is quite the opposite. While I hope David will win, my primary concern is that his victory not be seen as some kind of triumph of Blairite over Brownite or centrist over left wing or whatever label people want to use. The fact this contest is so narrow, the fact we were split almost fatally for over ten years between two personalities shows that we need, more than ever, to come together.

David Miliband was infamously nicknamed “brains” in his younger years working for Tony Blair. If he wins this contest, David may be the brains of the Labour party, but he needs his brother to provide the heart. He will need to bring his brother in and give him a real seat at the table. The two brothers working well together will mean we can rebuild the electoral coalition that made us unbeatable for three elections.

We need to move beyond petty concerns over personality-driven factionalism. Let’s hope the Miliband brothers can see that.

Comments are closed

Latest

  • Comment About tonight Ed…

    About tonight Ed…

    Tonight is the second of the Leader’s debates. This is the weird pile-on debate with seven different people all vying for our attention. It will be hard to stand out from this crowd, Hard to break from the pack. But tonight might be Ed Miliband’s best chance to win over voters who are considering the smaller parties. Tonight’s performance may be even more important than last week’s non-debate. So how should Ed approach this event and the other parties taking part? […]

    Read more →
  • Video Miliband on music, cricket – and the Sinclair ZX Spectrum

    Miliband on music, cricket – and the Sinclair ZX Spectrum

    Ed Miliband sat down with Absolute Radio’s Geoff Lloyd today, and was question on his taste in music, whether or not he’s a geek – and (because there’s an election on) Labour’s immigration policy too. Questions also came in from England Cricket legend Geoff Boycott (a sporting hero of Miliband’s), former snooker player and commentator Willie Thorne – and Ali from the Monsoon curry house in Kentish Town. Miliband also reveals what last made him cry – and dispels some myths about his childhood. […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Labour release their own letter, signed by businesspeople, supporters and zero hours contract workers

    Labour release their own letter, signed by businesspeople, supporters and zero hours contract workers

    After a Tory supporting letter appeared on the front page of this morning’s Telegraph, the Labour Party have tonight released a letter of their own – signed not only by businesspeople and Labour supporters, but also by many on zero hours contracts – backing Labour’s plans, including cracking down on zero hours contracts. Update: The party have started letting people add their names to the letter. The letter has been sent to – and will presumably be splashed on the […]

    Read more →
  • News Unions Labour launches workplace manifesto

    Labour launches workplace manifesto

    Labour’s major announcement today has been on zero hours contracts – but that shouldn’t obscure the unveiling of a much broader set of policies (of which the zero hours contract crackdown was only one) as part of a “workplace manifesto”. The other key policies in the document (which have largely been announced over the past few years, but which are now collated into a single offer for working people) are: Raising the National Minimum Wage to more than £8 Scrapping the […]

    Read more →
  • News Peter Mandelson standing in Manchester: Labour peer in running for top job

    Peter Mandelson standing in Manchester: Labour peer in running for top job

    Former Labour Cabinet minister Peter Mandelson has confirmed that he has put his name forward to be the next chancellor of Manchester University. Mandelson, who was elevated to the House of Lords by Gordon Brown, said he is “excited about what’s happening in Manchester”. The New Labour architect was the minister responsible for universities between 2008 and 2010, and is thought to consider widening participation in Higher Education is one of his proudest achievements of the Labour Government. Although the role is […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit