Will the real Ed Milliband please stand up?

Graham Murray

It’s been just over a year since “Red Ed” stole the spotlight from brother David and became the driving force behind the opposition. Though what has Ed achieved this year? And what elements of his vision for Britain have been made clear?

Miliband the younger’s first year has been marred with low satisfaction ratings, lack of clarity and endless comparisons to Wallace and Mr Bean. In order to say that Ed’s first year has been a complete failure one would have to overlook his popular response to August’s riots and his never-ending ability to criticise New Labour’s thirteen years in office, which goes down a treat with the left wing of the Labour Party.

Despite this, what Ed has yet to do is clarify what kind of prime minister he would be. Is he as left wing as the tabloid media makes out? Is he really any different from former Labour Prime Ministers Gordon Brown or Tony Blair? The 2015 election is still some way off, but Ed really needs to at least drop a couple of hints to the electorate before it’s too late. It is this lack of clear vision which has contributed to his recent low personal public satisfaction ratings. YouGov’s 29th – 30th Sept poll gives his satisfaction rating at a poor minus 32, compared to Cameron’s minus 8.

Though what has arguably been the most important factor is his perceived incompetence, for example: in a BBC interview about the public sector pension strikes, he incessantly repeated himself. Last month he was unable to name the front running candidate in the Scottish Labour leadership election, Ken Macintosh.

To an extent, Ed set out some kind of vision for the future at the Labour Party conference, saying he would cap tuition fees at £6,000 a year compared with the Coalition’s £9,000 a year, and call for the end of the free market capitalism which has dominated British society for the last 30 years. However, none of these promises has yet to make an appearance in any kind of policy..

The fact is, despite Labour leading opinion polls for the first time since 2007 and performing acceptably in this year’s local elections, Ed Miliband is seen as a liability by many Labour Party supporters. This raises questions as to whether the right Miliband won the leadership. Ed must clearly set out his policies and market himself as more of a leader and less of a follower. If he doesn’t, then the chance of him standing as leader in even one general election is only going to dwindle further and further.

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