The right path: Ed Miliband, valiant but futile?
In the interest of balance, Liam Curran’s ‘The right path’ will offer an alternative to ‘All that’s left’ every other fortnight. This week Liam takes on the conferences.
At the end of 2012 Conference season there is no mistaking which party leader came out on top.
In terms of coverage, Ed Miliband and his recycled ‘One Nation’ maxim is what will stick in the minds of the electorate from the past few weeks of conferences.
This rhetoric along with his inconspicuous push to show he is not part of the public school regiment like David Cameron et al. is an attempt to help voters identify with him, and move past his somewhat ghoulish exterior.
While his performance at the Labour Conference may have cemented his position as leader of the Labour Party, the idea of this self-confessed policy wonk representing our country may be a step too far. Indeed if the Labour Party possessed the stronger, more inspirational figures of the Blair era, those who actually induced fear in the Conservatives, it is arguable how far Miliband would have got.
But enough counterfactualism. Ed Miliband’s valiant attempt to rebrand himself and his party is ultimately futile, partly due to the dearth of Labour political talent backing him up, shadow chancellor Ed Balls being a prime example, but more importantly the formidable Conservative team he has to face.
David Cameron has at his disposal an impressive, authoritative Foriegn Secretary in William Hague, the increasingly popular and active Michael Gove, and even in the backbenches there are exciting politicians (did I just put those two words together?!) like Rory Stewart. All of these people make Ed Miliband’s campaign for leadership of our country harder, and this is without factoring in the political juggernaut that is Boris Johnson.
Johnson has forged a popularity that other politicians can only gawp at and while Ed Miliband may be quietly pleased with how his Conference went, it must be a little disconcerting to see the media scrum that took place as soon as the Mayor of London set foot in Birmingham.
Although he might have once been conceived as a comic figure, with his victory in the London Mayoral Election, and the subsequent success of the London Olympic and Paralympic games, there is no doubt that Boris is now a serious politician as well as immensely popular.
With every media appearance he comes across as funny and intelligent, as well as down-to-earth. Displaying a tangible passion for his country and the desire for its success. The combination of all these traits comes across watching his speech at the Conservative conference as he expounds the work of his colleagues in cleaning up Labour’s mess, in a way that’s not only understandable to all, but also comic too.
Watching Boris Johnson, you see not just a natural speaker, but also a natural politician. Ed Miliband is neither of these things, despite his attempts to convert himself into a political animal and viable leader of our country. Miliband is operating at a time when the Conservative leadership is strong, and is backed up by effective and experienced ministers, as well as one of the most popular political figures in recent history.
Regardless of what changes Ed tries to make, Labour will still have a lot of catching up to do, considering the formidable set of politicians the Conservatives possess. It appears that the future of British politics, for now, is blue.