James Forsyth

Solutions to the Mili-woe

Solutions to the Mili-woe
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Ed Miliband’s day today rather sums up his problems. His morning media round has all been seen through a negative prism. Nick Robinson mocks the new leader’s attempt to talk about the squeezed middle by calling it the squeezed muddle. While Ed Miliband’s declaration that he is a socialist, something he has said many times before, is not being treated as a refreshing dose of intellectual honesty but as evidence that he’s just too left-wing.

A lot of Ed Miliabnd’s problems come from the fact that the media is in hunting mode. The media, as a rule, don’t like being surprised and Ed Miliband’s victory was not what it expected. So in return the media are giving him a bit of a kicking. This is, of course, a simplification. But there’s some truth to it. Ed Miliband must be the only leader who has been attacked on the front page of a newspaper for not linking peerages to donations.  

It is a problem for Ed Miliband that so few in the media — he only received three newspaper endorsements — are invested in his success. It is also a problem that most Labour MPs didn’t vote for him. There is a feeling among some of them that his failings won’t reflect badly on them as he was not their choice. To compound things, these disaffected MPs are sounding off to journalists who then write stories about how Labour MPs think they can’t win under Ed Miliband.

There’s no easy way out of this hole for Miliband. But one thing I think he needs to do is to be less apologetic. To do more, here I stand I can do no other. He also needs to find ways to feed the media beast. A huskies-style stunt to symbolise how he’s different from his predecessor would not actually be such a bad idea for him.