Ed Miliband, the younger of the two brothers, fighting it out to be leader of the majority opposition in British politics has won the leadership campaign. He will succeed Gordon Brown and interim-boss Harriet Harman. Harman has particularly impressed in the recent months following the resignation tendered by former-Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Ed Miliband can take some satisfaction away this week that he will be heralded as a much more popular boss than his previous boss, Gordon Brown. However, he must capture the mood of Britain if he is to be electable in the pre-set election dates of May 2015. The country will take to the polls with two different opinions of three different parties. The Conservative and Liberals will have to man up to the cuts that they have chosen to direct and Labour will have to face up to the argument that they put the coalition in that position.
Ed Miliband is electable. He appeals to all of those invigorated left-wingers of the party, but his class and character will also – in times- appeal to those core middle class voters (who, generally always turn out for a good bit of voting come polling day). Ed needs to talk effectively about the thirteen years of Labour that he was strongly part of. Whether he was an advisor or a Member of Parliament, he has to seek the attention of the British public and orchestrate the reasons why Labour failed. As a counter manoeuvre, Ed needs to develop an initiative away from ‘New Labour’. He has quickly sought to ensure people are aware that New Labour will not exist in the Labour manifesto all the time he is leader. Whilst some right-wing journalists and newspapers will argue that this is a plan that deviates away from electability, it is also a plan that could reintegrate those that voted Tory at the last election. Ed has already prioritised the work of regaining the trust of Middle England, to start ensuring them that their mobility is, and will be, assisted. Ed will also address contemporary social problems to reconnect with those that voted Labour so overwhelmingly. Entrepreneurialism; business and innovation; education; poverty; defence strategies; immigration and law and order – these are all categories which chime well with how people such as you and me think. Although I consider myself strongly as a liberal, there is no hesitation in my mind that those who commit crimes should be punished as well as rehabilitated. There has to be some sort of swift and certain punishment (to paraphrase Beccaria). Ed needs to get this law and order message over, in a sense he has to renew what Blair tried to integrate. Blair believed that whilst he was a liberal, the Labour class who will vote in-and-out at every election were conservative in their policies towards law and order, immigration, etc. Ed needs to ensure he does this.
Ed also needs to chime with the left of people’s mentalities and ideologies. Climate change, equal rights, religion, the living wage are all ideological steps he needs to do to get empathy from the British people. He needs to attract the old as well as the young. Surprisingly enough the majority of British people are of a liberal mind-set but will always go conservative if they feel hard done. If Ed can start showing that Labour has the attraction in categories such as climate change and even to a larger extent electoral reform he will put an image across of a ‘fair kind of guy’ (not a straight kind of guy as Mr Blair was). The British population are, at times, irrational kinds of people. Most will not mind giving when they need to but dislike the idea of the government lacking consultation. The current British Government and British population collaborated extremely well in order to get relief effort to Pakistan, when they were battling with the most desperate of Earthquakes. This gained us international credibility, but at the same time in the back of the minds of people in middle-lower England they wondered why this was. They see themselves as about to embark on the biggest cuts programme ever to be seen by a British government (pending the Comprehensive Spending Review) and they (rightly or wrongly) believe this money should be channelled at home – as some peoples philosophy is ‘charity starts at home’. This is fine but when we need bailout, intelligence or trade from countries affected by the disasters we will not be in a position to argue our side of the coin. However, let us be clear with the British public, let Labour inform not patronise over why we are adopting such initiatives. Ed needs to continue to inform the British public of each decision he takes, whether in opposition or in government. By talking, not lecturing, with the British people you build a rapport (this links well with the PM debates held this year. Who were the most ‘chatty’ and your ‘average kind of guys’? Well Clegg and Cameron. Who won power? Clegg and Cameron). Ed needs to go to the country a lot more often than Labour did at the end of their rule.
There are a few more points Ed will also need to equip himself with to be a credible leader of the opposition or government. The first is he needs to get on board David Miliband. In order to bat away the levels of disgruntled MP’s who believe they have been unfairly outvoted by the influence of the unions he must get Miliband into the most senior of positions. He needs to direct a mandate that will be liberal, red and left wing but will also be a mandate that will attract the middle-upper class members of our population. David will do this. He is attached to the projects of Blair, whereas Ed has been camouflaged as a union boy who strongly distanced himself from either Brown or Blair towards the end of electoral defeat. But Ed needs David for his political awareness and his appeal; he must become shadow chancellor as soon as he throws his hat in the ring to be in the pool.
Good Luck, Ed!