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.

Latest

  • Europe Featured News Brexit would be a “gift to Putin”, Dan Jarvis warns

    Brexit would be a “gift to Putin”, Dan Jarvis warns

    A vote to leave the EU would prompt fresh uncertainty over Britain’s security, Dan Jarvis will warn on Wednesday. In a speech in South London the former paratrooper will spell out how he believes an Out vote would be seen by Britain’s enemies as a sign the nation does not take seriously its global alliances against emerging threats. Jarvis will lay out a stark message that “Britain leaving the EU would undermine vital efforts for peace and stability”, and would be […]

    Read more →
  • News Weekly survey: English patriotism and devolved mayor selections

    Weekly survey: English patriotism and devolved mayor selections

    This week Tristram Hunt and Jon Cruddas have both called on Labour to embrace ideas of community and to develop a progressive idea of English patriotism. Do you think this is an effective way for Labour to win over voters in England? There are now three people in the race to become Labour’s candidate for Greater Manchester Mayor: Andy Burnham, Ivan Lewis and Tony Lloyd. Who do you think should be the Labour candidate for next year’s election? There are two people, […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Featured News Momentum swings behind vote to stay in EU

    Momentum swings behind vote to stay in EU

    Momentum has vowed to throw its weight behind the campaign for an In vote in next month’s EU referendum after it held a consultation with supporters. The pro-Corbyn group surprised many people earlier this year when it confirmed they had not taken a position on the referendum, despite the Labour leader and the party adopting a firm stance in favour of Remain. It was seen as the first time that Momentum had not automatically supported Jeremy Corbyn’s position, and led to […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Blair questions whether Corbyn can win in 2020

    Blair questions whether Corbyn can win in 2020

    Tony Blair has cast doubt on whether Jeremy Corbyn could win a general election as he called for a ground war to defeat ISIS. The former prime minister, who spoke out against Corbyn’s campaign last summer, also described his surprise at the rise of populist political movements in Britain and the US. In comments that will spark a furious debate among Labour supporters, Blair questioned the appeal of Corbynistas after their leader’s overwhelming win in the leadership contest. “It’s not yet […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Apprenticeships pledge reveals another broken Tory promise

    Apprenticeships pledge reveals another broken Tory promise

    Another month, another broken ministerial pledge. It centres around the delivery of a promise on apprenticeships, and it fuels the let-down felt by people and businesses in my Bristol South constituency. It seems a long time ago, but the 2015 Queen’s Speech highlighted apprenticeships as a big part of the government’s plan, with a pledge for three million new ones by 2020. Home to some of the most economically deprived wards in the country, Bristol South sends fewer of its […]

    Read more →
x

LabourList Daily Email

Everything Labour. Every weekday morning

Share with your friends










Submit