Tuesday, 7 October 2014

How Ed Miliband can wrestle the initiative back from the Tories-And why he must do so.

Ed Miliband must control the agenda if he wants to win the next election

The Labour Party is currently in very serious trouble. Having led for most of this parliament in the opinion polls, it now finds itself trailing by 2 points in 3 consecutive YouGov polls. Only 17% of people see Ed Miliband as being Prime Ministerial material, whereas 44% say the same for David Cameron. John Prescott has criticised the direction of the party, whilst there are rumours that Alan Johnson and Andy Burnham are gearing up for a leadership contest. As soon as this June, it looked like Labour would easily romp to victory. When did Labour veer off course so suddenly?

The answer is on Wednesday. David Cameron made one of the most powerful and passionate speeches ever seen from a Tory Party leader. He decided to take the fight to Labour on areas where the party is traditionally strong-talking about Social Justice, Equality, and banning Zero-Hours contracts. The electorate were, on Wednesday night, whether Labour figures like to admit it or not, reminded of the credentials that David Cameron has for being Prime Minister, something that Ed Miliband once again has shown that he lacks when he forgot to talk about the economic deficit.

However- it is not all bad news for Ed Miliband. People may see him as being weird and not up to the job of being Prime Minister, but they also see him as compassionate, and less likely to be described as being "Out of touch" than Cameron and Clegg. Ed Miliband is the most popular party leader amongst young people. And these are the areas where the Labour Party, and Ed Miliband, have to focus their message on. Ed Miliband needs to stop listening to advisors and focus groups, and start listening to those in his cabinet, and his closest friends. A consequence of hiring politicical advisors from America, like Arnie Graf and David Axelrod, is that you often end up with American style political bashing that simply does not work in this country. Ed Miliband can never beat David Cameron in a US-Style Presidential Election, which is why trying to turn the General Election into a Presidential Election seems to be working for the Tories. Graf and Axelrod should focus on improving Miliband's image, rather than advising him on other issues.

When Ed Miliband showed that he had the courage and the conviction that people are desperately crying out for, with his energy price freeze, having the bravery to tackle the vested interests that people are so angry about, the Tories slumped to a new low and Labour took a commanding lead in the polls. Ed Miliband showed, right there and then, that a Labour agenda is popular. He must, in the course of the next few months, recapture the spirit of the energy price freeze in a speech that addresses people's concerns about Labour, whilst offering them a positive and optimistic view of the future. The vision offered must be coherent and clear, and not confused and scrambled as it has been as of late. This is the only way in which he will ever to regain the momentum that he needs if Labour are going to win an overall majority at the next election.

Another thing that Ed Miliband must do, is that he must reassure the Middle Class voters, who were wooed by Tony Blair and New Labour, but are afraid that a Left-Wing Labour Party will increase taxation on them. Taxation has always been a major issue that the Tories have managed to exploit, dating back to the days of Margaret Thatcher. The Labour Party must reassure these voters. We must seek to represent the squeezed middle, as well as the poor and working class.

If Ed Miliband does these things, and lays out a clear, coherent, and optimistic vision for Britain's future, then there is a chance that he could turn his party's fortunes around. Only time will tell if he has the courage to do it.

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