David Blackburn

Miliband storms ahead. Whither Ed Balls?

Miliband storms ahead. Whither Ed Balls?
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Amazingly, given his penchant to procrastinate, David Miliband’s leadership bid is flying. High profile endorsements fly-in – former defence secretary and arch-Blairite John Hutton is the latest. Miliband is out on the stump, canvassing the opinions of former voters. Ed Balls, by contrast, looks tentative and there is no doubt he’s losing ground.  

Iain Martin has an excellent post on the Labour leadership contenders and concludes that Miliband is not yet the complete package. I agree. Bananas aside, Miliband’s chief problem is that he expresses himself in meaningless abstractions. Think Tanks and cosmopolitans adore the terminology, voters don’t – The Big Society was A Big Flop.

Miliband’s success will turn on eradicating this mannerism. He is clearly the man who can recapture the ground Labour has lost in ‘Aspirational England’; but cerebral aloofness and Blairite politics impede securing the Labour leadership. Miliband must seem more real if he is to defeat the forces the unions will arraign against him. As Pete noted yesterday, Miliband’s launch speech offered unity rather than tribalism. He’ll have to offer more. Labour did not lose the election because it was divided. Presumably he must concede that the party moved to the left because the government, for the moment, holds the centre and with a more attractive agenda than Labour offers. Another re-branding operation is in the offing.