Fraser Nelson Fraser Nelson

Labour is working towards a decade of Opposition

Is Ed Miliband finished? That’s the implication of many of the papers today — and David is portrayed as waiting in the wings, ready to claim his rightful inheritance. Dream on. Ed Miliband’s leadership of the Labour Party is hardly in crisis. If there was an election today, he’d win a Labour majority of 34. Dull men can win surprising victories, as John Major demonstrated in 1992. The Times’ notion that he has until party conference to save his leadership is just as fanciful. Labour Party Conferences are neverscenes of grassroots rebellion. The Tories are the ones who lay on fights, and some just turn up to Tory conference for the political violence. Tories can (and do) get rid of leaders to liven up a wet weekend. Labour has never got rid of a dud leader in  his history as a party — not from the grassroots, or from popular rebellion. It just doesn’t happen. Labour has no defence mechanism against bad leadership, hence Brown’s survival. At Labour conferences, leaders — good or bad — get standing ovations.

As I say in the News of the World today, Labour’s problem is self-hatred. The Tory policies it despises the most are always the ones nicked from Tony Blair. The party needs a psychiatrist, not a strategist. And Ed Miliband needs to put his party on the couch and force it to admit what it did right: school reform, welfare reform and even Darling’s deficit reduction plan is pretty close to that of Osborne (who is cutting less than 1 per cent a year more in total).

Blaming Balls for plotting and scheming is like blaming a retriever for chasing a bunny. He can’t help it. The desire to fight and kill is hardwired into him: it’s his funny way of saying “hello”.

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