Ed Miliband by a sliver

by Harry on September 25, 2010

Open thread.



realdelia 09.25.10 at 3:59 pm

As my significant other just remarked: ‘He won’t beat Cameron: too foreign-looking’.


Jim 09.25.10 at 4:00 pm

Hmm, not a great line from Ed: “Today a new generation has taken control of the Labour party”. Cue shot of lots of older stalwarts looking miffed.


Naadir Jeewa 09.25.10 at 4:07 pm



Chris Bertram 09.25.10 at 4:14 pm

I imagine there’ll be a lot of fuss from the commentators and the ConDems about how EdM lost in the constituency section and and amongst the MPs. But the fact that he came from so far behind to win is testimony to his talents as a campaigner and organiser. Now he can turn those skills against the ConDems. I’m very pleased.


paul haine 09.25.10 at 4:42 pm

At least he doesn’t have Lego-man hair like David.


christian h. 09.25.10 at 4:49 pm

Could have been worse is all I’m gonna say.


P O'Neill 09.25.10 at 4:55 pm

It’s probably not fair to go back through the predictions but here’s Nick Robinson just before the result was announced

1649: The BBC’s Nick Robinson predicts that David Miliband will win. He has outpolled the predictions of how he would do among MPs and members, our political editor says.

Which although it led him to the wrong conclusion, is an important part of the diagnosis.


Alex 09.25.10 at 5:13 pm

May I be the first to say how disappointed in him I am?


JulesLt 09.25.10 at 5:19 pm

I always preferred Steve Milliband.


engels 09.25.10 at 5:56 pm

It could definitely have been worse: it could have been David Miliband. Unfortunately the only Miliband worth supporting (Ralph) wasn’t an option, partly because has been dead for some years.


Roger 09.25.10 at 6:02 pm

It may be grossly unfair on him but EM will be the Ian Duncan Smith of the Labour Party: It doesn’t matter how intelligent and committed he is – he just lacks experience, charisma and gravitas to a degree that will make him unelectable – particularly against opponents like Cameron and Clegg who have all the effortless charm of the haute-bourgeoise and will say and do anything to be allowed to complete their project of destroying the welfare state.

However as they showed with Gordon Brown Labour MPs cannot be trusted to deliver a dolchstoss even when their own political lives depend on it – if they had, the chances are David Miliband would be prime minister right now.


Alex 09.25.10 at 6:10 pm

And David Cameron has experience? Of what?


CMK 09.25.10 at 6:26 pm

Is it now just ‘Labour’ or is it still ‘New Labour’? From his appearance on the Channel 4 News debate he seemed, by a comfortable margin, the only half-decent human being in the race. He may well turn out to be an IDS type leader, but I don’t think Cameron and Clegg are as substantial as some appear to believe. No doubt his appeal to the trade unions will be the first stick used to beat him. Good-ish news.


CMK 09.25.10 at 6:33 pm

One more point: he’s an immense advance on his two predecessors – the Labour Party emerging from a long nightmare? His family background suggests that he may have sympathies much further to the left than Bliar or Brown. I, for one, can’t believe that having Ralph Milliband as his Dad won’t have some influence on what kind of Labour leader he’ll be. Again, good-ish news (fingers crossed).


Roger 09.25.10 at 11:29 pm

My point was that Cameron doesn’t need experience – genetics, Eton, Oxford, the Bullingdon Club, Carlton TV, Conservative Central Office and Westminster provided him with all the skills and knowledge to convince the British public that he was their rightful master.

Ditto for Clegg although his silver spoon was of a somewhat lower grade than Cameron’s.

Miliband – as we must know call him – has every intellectual qualification for Prime Minister but simply does not and cannot look the part – and in the society of the spectacle appearances are everything.


David 09.26.10 at 1:31 am

I’ll be the first to say it: Who the party leader is has fairly little to do with which party will win, and to the extent it matters when you’re in opposition, it’s more about their strategic judgement, not how well they come across.


David 09.26.10 at 1:43 am

D Miliband would have been a riskier choice than the others (except maybe Abbott), since he could conceivably become to tarnished by torture scandals.


JG 09.26.10 at 2:23 am

Roger, as I recall Cameron quite clearly did not have all the “skills and knowledge” to convince the British public he was their “rightful master” because he did not win the election, even running against someone who was constantly ridiculed for poor appearance. Ditto for Clegg.

(because somebody had to point out the bloody obvious)


novakant 09.26.10 at 6:15 am

David Miliband has a lot of blood on his hands, so I’m happy he didn’t make it. The sad thing is that at least half of the Labour party doesn’t seem to care much about that.


praisegod barebones 09.26.10 at 11:54 am

Roger @ 11

I disagree. The reason Duncan Smith was unelectable was that the British electorate will not vote for a bald PM. (Cf: Hague, William and Kinnock, Neil). The reason Miliband is unelectable is that the Britsh public will not voted for someone who sounds like a unit of measurement. (Cf: Foot, Michael)


NomadUK 09.26.10 at 12:43 pm


Ed Miliband has insisted Labour will not “lurch to the left” under his leadership and he will not be in thrall to the trade unions, despite winning with the backing of their members.

So, screw the base and suck up to the Right. Business as usual. That’s all right, then.


Alex 09.26.10 at 1:07 pm

Where were you at 5.13pm yesterday? Eh? Eh?


NomadUK 09.26.10 at 2:36 pm

I was having a gin & tonic and fixing supper, and blissfully oblivious. And much happier.


Roger 09.26.10 at 2:46 pm

JG – so who is Prime Minister now?

Winning is about who holds real power when the smoke has cleared.

Given that the Orange Book clique who control the Lib-Dems are fundamentally right-wing Cameron only needed the votes and seats he got.

In fact if he’d won a slim Tory majority he would have found his job a lot more problematic.


praisegod barebones 09.26.10 at 4:02 pm

‘Too foreign-looking’?

That’s a very fine looking dog-whistle you have there.


Harry 09.26.10 at 9:39 pm

pg — realdelia’s spouse was, presumably, commenting on the quality of the British electorate, not on Miliband himself. My dad said that Vince Cable was too ugly to be a party leader — this was not an insult to Cable.

Attlee could never have won the leadership, or an election, if he were around today.


ajay 09.27.10 at 10:15 am

18: it is actually pretty amazing that Cameron went up against an unpopular, unappealling PM in the middle of an unpopular war and the deepest recession since the 1930s, and still couldn’t win an outright majority.


praisegod barebones 09.27.10 at 1:29 pm


I don’t know realdelia or her partner, so perhaps I was a bit quick out of the blocks with that. But I’ve often heard ‘Of course, I’m only saying what other people are thinking’ as a way for someone to introduce racist and/or anti-semitic tropes into a conversation. (It’s a bit like quality news-papers saying ‘we don’t report on celebrities/reality TV; but of course, we can report on what the tabloids say about it.)

And in a way it’s more insidious than doing so directly – it tries, and sometimes succeeds in suggesting that we’re all complicit in the racism or anti-semitism, and marginalising those who don’t accept it.

I’m not particularly sure what stereotype someone might be trying to appeal to by suggesting that Vince Cable was too ugly to be a party leader. So it strikes me as fair enough to take that remark at face value (as with my own Dad’s often expressed view back in the 1980’s that people would never vote for Neil Kinnock because he was bald) . But if someone said, for example, that David Miliband had too big a nose to be Chancellor of the Exchequer, and particularly if they said it out of the blue, and without any obvious context, that might be another matter.


Hidari 09.27.10 at 2:57 pm

‘Ed Miliband has insisted Labour will not “lurch to the left” under his leadership and he will not be in thrall to the trade unions, despite winning with the backing of their members’

Why do people always ‘lurch’ to the left anyway, as if the whole party was drunk? Why can’t they glide smoothly and gracefully to the left?

If it was up to me, of course, Milliband would put the pedal to the metal and zoom off to the far left as fast as his supercharged political hot rod would take him, but that’s just me.

How sad it is, incidentally, that nowadyays the leader of an allegedly left wing political party immediately has to deny that his ‘left wing’ political party is in fact a left wing political party.

In future centuries, people will marvel that just at the precise point that capitalism became intellectually (and financially) bankrupt, and completely morally indefensible, it became impossible, politically, to attack it.


Timothy Scriven 09.28.10 at 7:08 am

If there are any future generations.


Hidari 09.28.10 at 10:27 am

‘If there are any future generations.’

Yeah well there is that.


belle le triste 09.28.10 at 11:28 am

To be fair “became intellectually bankrupt” and “became impossible to attack politically” are kind of the same, aren’t they?


AlanDownunder 09.29.10 at 4:44 am

Not “by a slither” as so many would have written, whatever they thought of him.


engels 10.01.10 at 2:21 pm

Something to brighten up your day:

Labour right mourns after Ed Miliband’s victory

The Labour Party’s arch-Blairites rallied at Manchester’s Comedy Store last Sunday—but there were more tears than laughter after David Miliband’s defeat in the Labour leadership election. “I sense there’s a subdued atmosphere at the moment,” Ben Bradshaw MP told the hushed crowd. “I think it’s still sinking in for some people.” This was supposed to be a Labour Party conference fringe event hosted by the Progress “thinktank”—a hard neoliberal faction within the party. But it seemed more like a wake for David Miliband’s leadership campaign.

“I was one of David’s co-chairs of his campaign,” said Jim Murphy MP, almost choking on the words. “You said in your kind introduction that I’m a good organiser… but clearly I wasn’t good enough.” By the time failed London mayoral candidate Oona King took to the stage, there was an inescapable feeling that power had finally drained away from the Blairites. “We had a bruising leadership campaign. The result was a difficult moment,” she said, her voice breaking. Going on to speak about her mayoral campaign, she added, “I really, really learned who my friends are—and it turned out that most of them are in this room.” By then the room was half-empty. […]

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