30 August 2010

The best publicity Ed Miliband could have had

Still very busy but the need to post here has become so pressing that goddamn it, I'm just going to post anyway. September - with the attendant party conference merry-go-round - is looking a lot more promising in terms of posting time.

The recent (albeit coded) endorsement of David Miliband by Peter Mandelson - who has warned against a return to a "pre-New Labour" party - is probably the best news the Ed Miliband campaign has had so far. If Tony Blair decides to endorse David Miliband - or at least endorse a continuation of the Blairite political cul-de-sac - in his Andrew Marr interview on Wednesday, that will be even better for Ed.

The idea that Mandelson - long a Labour hate figure, now an object of derision after publishing his ludicrously self serving memoirs The Third Man earlier in the summer - and Tony Blair, FFS! - are helping Dave Miliband's chances of election with these interventions is absurd. These guys play badly with the electorate at large, and abysmally with the Labour party and trade unions, who hate their guts. It's almost as if the Ed Miliband campaign was orchestrating shows of support for David from the people most likely to influence people to vote the other way.

Only the endorsement of David by Jon Cruddas earlier this week could be described as in any way helpful to the David Miliband campaign. But even there, I think most of the left - Jon's natural constituency - will conclude that he has made a misjudgement, and it won't influence the final vote very much.

If you look at the supporters that David Miliband has in the media commentariat it's very revealing; mostly ultra-Blairites like Martin Kettle and John Rentoul, who are so right wing that they find the Coalition a bit wishy-washy. If the Ed Miliband leadership precipitates a departure of Blairite dinosaurs and no-marks for the wintery climes of the coalition, it could be the best thing ever to happen to Labour; get rid of the duffers and replace them with people who can actually Do The Job.

Likewise, the fact that Dave Cameron is reported to be backing Dave Miliband for Labour leader is important. Dave C claims to be "scared" of Dave M but in fact he knows that Dave M, while not actually a Tory (let's be fair here) is least likely to reverse any of the gigantic vandalisms currently being carried out on the UK economy and public services in the name of "deficit reduction". Dave Miliband, like Tony Blair, is the Labour leader Tories can trust. It's trolling of the basest sort.

All in all I'm entering September pretty confident that Ed Miliband is going to do it. Especially as the three other candidates - Diane Abbot, Ed Balls and Andy Burnham - are all running pretty left-of-centre "surrogate Ed Miliband" campaigns. It would be odd - although not beyond the realms of sanity - to vote for any three of those and put David above of Ed Miliband on second preferences.

This means, I think, that while Dave M may enjoy a narrow lead on 1st prefs, Ed M is going to be way out in front on 2nd prefs - and that should carry him over the top. The resuscitation of the Labour party as a true political force - maybe for the first time since the 1960s - is about to begin in earnest.

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