The tables for the weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here, covering attitudes to Ed Miliband, the government’s recent U-turns, Rowan Williams and the Royal Family.

In the last few days the media narrative seems to have shifted significantly against Ed Miliband, with lots of stories in the media about him being in trouble, having a year to sort himself out, etc. Looking trough them there aren’t really many named figures there: it’s mostly “friends of” or unnamed former ministers. In any stories about internal party rumblings then unless there are names it’s impossible to judge whether it is just the usual suspects (any party has certain malcontents who can always be guaranteed to sound off about the leader), or if there actually are serious rumblings within the Parliamentary party.

What we can be more confident about is that public perceptions of Ed Miliband are not encouraging (and, of course, that will to some extent be due to the media portrayal of him, but that’s part of the game). Miliband’s approval rating today is down to minus 23, his lowest since becoming leader. Only 19% of people think Labour made the right decision in choosing him as leader, with 51% thinking he was the wrong choice.

Responses to questions like this are largely partisan, Conservative and Lib Dem supporters naturally don’t tend to be impressed by the performance of Labour leaders. However, Ed Miliband’s ratings are mediocre even amongst his own party supporters. 41% of Labour voters think he was the wrong choice. 45% of Labour voters think that David Miliband would be a better leader than his brother. Labour voters are evenly split (48% to 47%) on whether Ed is providing an effective opposition, only 43% say they are clear what he stands for (54% not clear), and only 39% of Labour voters think he has a credible policy on the economy (26% do not and 35% are uncertain).

Of course, in Miliband’s favour, under his leadership Labour are ahead in the polls. However, what we can’t tell is whether they’d be further ahead under a different leader, or what would happen in an election campaign when voting intention becomes (to some extent) more a choice between alternative governments.

If we look at the last two leaders of the opposition who went on to become Prime Minister, Tony Blair and David Cameron, Ed Miliband is quite evidently not in the same league. His approval ratings are now solidly negative, while Blair’s figures were consistently positive, and Cameron’s figures positive apart from the temporary effect of the “Brown honeymoon”. Ed’s polling figures risk becoming more reminscent of a Hague or an IDS, despite Labour actually doing relatively well in voting intention polls and (non-Scottish) elections. It takes time for party leaders to establish themselves, but Ed Miliband has had quite a lot of time now and seems to be getting the thumbs down. Once negative perceptions have established themselves in the public mind it takes something to shift them.

Before one writes him off though, the question I ponder is whether we just happen to have been spoiled by Blair and Cameron? Only two leaders of the opposition have become Prime Minister in the last 30 years, and they were cut from quite similar cloth, both charismatic figures who very clearly changed the whole political terrain when they became leader. It is clear Ed Miliband does not fit that mould and whatever you think of him, he has clearly not set the political world alight. However just because only one type of opposition leader has succeeded in the last 30 years, it doesn’t mean only that type of leadership can succeed (hell, if John Smith has not died, Labour would almost certainly still have won in 1997 and we’d have a very different model of what a successful opposition leader looks like). Mrs Thatcher did not set the world alight as Leader of the Opposition, yet won and went onto win three terms. That said, politics has changed since the 1970s and I remember many Conservatives whistling that same empty tune past the graveyards of Hague and IDS’s leaderships…

On other issues, given the unpopularity of the NHS reforms and increasing sentence reductions for pleading guilty, it’s unsurprisingly that people overwhelmingly though the government was right to change and drop the plans. How people viewed the changes were largely along party lines – Conservatives and Liberal Democrats tended to think it showed that the government were listening and willing to change, Labour respondents tended to think that it showed the government were weak or incompentent or hadn’t thought their policies through.

YouGov also asked how much people trusted David Cameron to fulfil the five pledges he gave on the NHS this week – 40% trusted him a little or a lot, 54% did not trust him a lot or at all. As one might expect, the there was a strong party skew – 86% of Conservative voters trusted him a lot or a little (and only 1% not at all), 86% of Labour voters didn’t trust him much or at all, Lib Dem voters were pretty evenly split.


199 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times on Ed Miliband”

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  1. YouGov also asked how much people trusted David Cameron to fulfil the five pledges he gave on the NHS this week….Lib Dem voters were pretty evenly split.
    —————————————–
    I’m hoping that the Dems being split on this will help towards ensuring the ‘changed’ NHS bill is properly scrutinised before their Lords & MPs vote for it.
    8-)

  2. As I opined (in a longer post in the previous thread) and as the “Sinners” (used to) say:

    ‘Time to go’

  3. I have from time to time encouraged Labour supporters to pursue an anti royalist line. I do feel, looking at the figures presented here, a get rid of the Windsor/Battenberg/Saxe Coburgs campaign would be really be a great idea.

  4. “Of course, in Miliband’s favour, under his leadership Labour are ahead in the polls. However, what we can’t tell is whether they’d be further ahead under a different leader, or what would happen in an election campaign when voting intention becomes (to some extent) more a choice between alternative governments.”

    Or if some blue sky breaks through. If the cuts are as painful & distressing as we are led to believe, Labour led by Donald Duck should be in front on VI.

  5. “Ed’s polling figures risk becoming more reminscent of a Hague or an IDS, despite Labour actually doing relatively well in voting intention polls and (non-Scottish) elections.”

    To be honest I wouldn’t say that Labour did well in the recent elections. They failed to get a majority in Wales (something which – due to falling PC support – shouldn’t have been difficult as Wales is still mainly a Labour heartland), the Tories ended up gaining seats in England, and Miliband came out in favour of AV and got ignored by the public and much of his own party.

    Labour have done sort of well to recover from the GE low of 29%, even though much of that is Lib Dem support switching to Labour (Tory support is holding up relatively well, in further bad news to Miliband).

    Meh, time will tell how things will play out. If the cuts are as bad as some are predicting (personally I doubt they will be), Miliband could sieze on this and start seeing his poll rating rise.

  6. Unfortunately, there are very few people who are objective on the subject of Ed M at the moment. Most Labour supportors feel compelled to jump to his defense ‘I am pleasently surprised at him etc etc’, but I guarantee those same people would be saying the same and more about David. If your on the Conservative side, then yes he is a target, and ‘weak, slow, etc etc’.

    I voted Conservative at the last election, but I had a lot of respect for David M, far more than I had for the likes of Brown, Balls and E Milliband. I genuinnelly think David would have delivered a strong win for Labour in 2015, not least because it is coming out that he was willing to admit they made mistakes on the economy with Browns obsession with whats become something of a failed Keynesian model across most of Europe, but now I honestly think the Tories will get in again. I know its speculative by its nature and the fact of the amount of time we have, but its just my own objective view, no partisan feelings whatsoever.

    One key point as well; David is more eloquent and sharper in communication than Ed, and this is important not just for the sometimes superficial PMQs, but also in how the public view you.

    By the way, I thought the article at the start of this thread was excellent, and I agreed with just about all the commentary.

  7. @ Richard O

    …but I guarantee those same people would be saying the same and more about David [Miliband].
    ——————————————-
    Some would; some wouldn’t.
    8-)

  8. LORDTORY
    If the cuts are as painful & distressing as we are led to believe, Labour led by Donald Duck should be in front on VI.

    Quite so, except for viewers in Scotland, of course.

  9. @BARBAZENZERO
    In Scotland they are up against a cartoon character called
    IRN BRU ALEX and have no chance.

  10. @Anthony W

    Good summary of the current polling feedback on Ed Miliband, but I’m not sure I can agree with you in your lumping together of Blair and Cameron as being “from quite similar cloth, both charismatic figures who very clearly changed the whole political terrain when they became leader.” I think Blair certainly did and remained a remarkably popular Party Leader and election-winning PM for a considerable length of time thereafter. But did Cameron really “change the whole political terrain” after he surprisingly won the leadership of his party? My memory of his earlier period was him living in Blair’s shadow, scoring pretty underwhelming personal rating scores in the polls and continuing his party’s woeful record in parliamentary by-elections. Have we forgotten already his swift abandonment of calling his party candidate in a flopped by-election “Dave Cameron’s Conservatives”? Sure, he changed the mood music of his party and presented a more caring and compassionate Conservative Party to the world, but the rules of engagement didn’t change much, nor was the political terrain moved noticeably, following his accession to the leadership.

    What did change things utterly was Blair standing down, Brown’s difficulties as PM and the global financial crisis, none of which was influenced by Cameron, although he was an obvious beneficiary. His subsequent performance in the May 2010 GE and his fairly unspectacular personal popularity ratings as PM suggest also that we haven’t got a politician of Blair’s standing or ability on our hands.

    I also have another interesting little anecdotal memory. It is of our old friend Kelvin McKenzie on Andrew Neil’s TV programme circa 2006/7. He was telling us all how useless he thought Cameron was proving to be as Tory Party Leader and how they’d all made a dreadful mistake choosing him over David Davis. I don’t recall any similar murmurings and misgivings in Blair’s early years.

    I think I know where you’re coming from Anthony, but I don’t think the comparison is a valid one, certainly not yet, anyway.

  11. LORDTORY
    In Scotland they are up against a cartoon character called IRN BRU ALEX and have no chance.

    I’m not sure whether that was intended as an insult or not, and if so to whom. I can’t see Salmond objecting to being called IRN BRU ALEX. Unlike most politicians – with a few notable exceptions – he does have a sense of humour.

  12. Speaking of leaders and leadership, here are some interesting (albeit anecdotal and somewhat funny) news from the Continent (as you call it).
    Gustav Fridolin is the new leader of Swedish Greens as of May 21. Born in 1983, he is the youngest EU parliamentary party leader (this title previously belonged to Gabor Vona, born 1978, leader of Hungarian far-right Jobbik.) Fridolin shares Swedish Green leadership with Asa Romson. This tandem has replaced former spokespersons Peter Eriksson and Maria Wetterstrand. The funny thing is that Wetterstrand’s husband, Ville Niinisto,also a young politician (b. 1978) has been elected yesterday spokesperson of Finnish Greens. Moreover, he is the nephew of veteran Finnish right-wing politician Sauli Niinisto, poised to become Finland’s next president.

  13. ‘ IRN BRU ALEX. ‘

    Actually I think he’d love being linked with SCotland’s national symbol; what political leader would object to being linked with a loved part of the country’s soul?

  14. LORDTORY

    Re Irn Bru, see also The Real Thing.

  15. Predictably (?) YouGov/Sunday Times asks 10 questions about Ed Miliband under the arguable assumption that his leadership is in doubt.

    Only two questions about Rowan Williams, one of which forgets to point out that along with 25 other Lords Spiritual, he has a duty to participate in political life, being what the HoL calls a Lord of Parliament (distinct from necessarily being defined as a “peer”).

  16. Who said Europeans had no sense of humour? I laughed till I cried.

  17. @BARBAZENZERO
    No insult intended. Irn Bru will continue to blow the socks of off the Pink Milk Shake. In Scotland the only thing which is Tory blue is anti-freeze. Drinking it, makes you blind, mad and then you die.

  18. @billy Bob

    “Predictably (?) YouGov/Sunday Times asks 10 questions about Ed Miliband under the arguable assumption that his leadership is in doubt.
    Only two questions about Rowan Williams, one of which forgets to point out that along with 25 other Lords Spiritual, he has a duty to participate in political life, being what the HoL calls a Lord of Parliament (distinct from necessarily being defined as a “peer”).”

    Yes, I was starting to wonder the same thing. A case of the cross examiner leading the witness a little, perhaps, in order to get the answers sought? Just a thought.

  19. I was struck by the low levels of recognition of various leading politicians. e.g. Michael Gove has been in the news a lot over the last few months, yet his ratings were +28 -31 and 41% Don’t Know.

    Mind you I suppose that correlates pretty well to the 60% GE turnout. Somehow all parties must try to gain the attention of more than just over half of the population.

  20. @crossbat11

    Can’t help thinking that the “snap May GE that never was” (which was being planned for at the turn of the year when Labour’s poll lead might have been seen as a temporary blip) may have something to do with this.

    The “big speeches” have not turned the tide, neither did the “Conservative victory in the local elections/AV” narrative… Labour 6-7-8 months stubbornly in the lead.

    Last week was bad for the Tories by any measure, whether this new narrative changes things, or conversely does the opposition a favour by bringing any leadership questions to a head remains to be seen.

    The last thing Cameron wants is to be forced by events beyond his control to call an early election; being behind in the polls limits his room for manoeuvre.

  21. @all

    Some of you may recall that every four weeks I release a set of graphs depicting the polls for that four week period. The graphs covering the four week period to 2011-06-01 (weeks 53-56) are now up. You can find them here:

    * h ttp://www.flickr.com/photos/53729121@N03/sets/

    The next set will cover the four week period to 2011-06-29 (weeks 57-60) and will be released on/before 2011-07-10, subject to known software problems.

    Regards, Martyn

  22. @Anthony Wells

    You said “…However, what we can’t tell is whether they’d be further ahead under a different leader…”

    True, but we can tell how well past leaders were doing at this point in the electoral cycle. :-) June 1st was the end of week 56 since the 2010 election. We can plot Labour’s poll performance then against its performance at the end of week 56 since the 2005 election, 2001 election, 1997 election, and so on. The resulting graph is here:

    * h ttp://www.flickr.com/photos/53729121@N03/sets/72157625645207632/

    And the anwer is: Miliband is doing OK but progress has stalled and may even have slid back, albeit slightly.

    A similar exercise for Conservatives, LibDems, and Others are here:
    * h ttp://www.flickr.com/photos/53729121@N03/sets/72157625617047896/
    * h ttp://www.flickr.com/photos/53729121@N03/sets/72157625645211058/
    * h ttp://www.flickr.com/photos/53729121@N03/sets/72157625491334241/

    Broadly speaking: CON and OTH are doing very well, LIB is doing very badly.

    Regards, Martyn

  23. ROB SHEFFIELD

    Assume you are going to start the Ed M must go campaign via your local CLP? Compared to Hague, IDS and Howard ED M is miles ahead.,

  24. I just hope patients don’t suffer as a result of the mess with the NHS reforms. Lansley had already embarked on making the changes, before legislation was passed.

  25. Anthony, any chance of replying to my questions on the previous thread? In brief, why no UKPR thread on the TNS-BMRB poll?

    Barbazenzero,

    – “OTOH, Rennie seems to have learnt nothing. Halving their 2007 vote in Tain & Easter Ross while the SNP more than doubled theirs is hardly an auspicious start.”

    I was utterly appalled when Rennie’s first act as leader was to call FM Salmond an “Anglophobe”. Simply disgraceful. Not even the seediest elements of SLAB sink to that level.

    I also happened to read a Tavish Scott promo in the Shetland Times, about a week after the election. Full of venom and wicked distortions of the truth. And downright smears.

    Judging from Rennie and Scott post 5 May, the SLDs have learnt precisely zilch.

    Their main problem now is their crash in membership numbers. Soon all the “good guys” will have left. That is when their nightmares will really start.

  26. @ Anthony Wells

    “Only two leaders of the opposition have become Prime Minister in the last 30 years, and they were cut from quite similar cloth, both charismatic figures who very clearly changed the whole political terrain when they became leader.”

    You can definitely say that of Blair. I’m not sure I agree on Cameron. I think it’s too soon.

    In terms of charisma of party leaders, there are some who suggest that Blair brought in a presidential style of politics where the leader of the party became more important than the party itself. If this is a permanent change, then a charisma challenged candidate like Ed Miliband, may have problems winning an election. If not, it might not be so bad for him.

  27. @ Crossbat11

    “Yes, I was starting to wonder the same thing. A case of the cross examiner leading the witness a little, perhaps, in order to get the answers sought? Just a thought.”

    A witness is not supposed to give conclusions of law. A fact witness is not supposed to give conclusions of fact either (beyond reasonable inferences).

    It may be though that the political requirements of the Church of England are unknown to a vast majority of people. And thus, when asked about the church’s role, respondents answer from their gut feelings as to whether church involvement is a good idea. The numbers don’t match in the two questions. A strong plurality agrees with Rowan Williams, a minority disagrees. On the numbers of those who think it was right for him to comment and those who don’t, you have a 1% lead among those who think he was right, so within the margin of error. This would lead me to believe there are a number of people who take the position that Williams is right but shouldn’t have spoken out.

    I thought about you and all the other good Anglicans here yesterday. I was at the DC Pride Parade yesterday and saw no less than four Episcopalian church congregations marching as well as an Episcopalian bishop or two on a float. The Episcopalian Church is the direct descendant of the Church of England.

  28. @David B

    I’m in Sheffield Central and they know my views: which summed up can be stated as: Labour needs to move on from the second act of TB/GB’s. Otherwise known as the DM/EM’s.

    They are both inextricably linked to the nonsense of the post Iraq period bonhers period between TB and GB- one to TB the other to GB.

    Though even if they weren’t it is clear that EdM cannot ‘take’ Lord Snooty in the way that our electoral system requires.

    You may well be burying your head in the sand but Ed M will not be the leader at the next election: because if he were we’d lose and most Labour MP’s have memories too vivid of government to want another 5 years in the wilderness.

    They remember the mistakes of previous cohorts of Labour MP’s: ‘one more heave’ or ‘the people of this country will never vote for Thatcher when 4 million are on the dole- so we can go about constructing a truly ‘sowwwwcialist’ platform because we will be in power soon’ (!!).

    Some reading material for everyone who reads UKPR and is on the red side:

    H ttp://www.amazon.co.uk/Writing-Wall-Britain-Seventies/dp/0718124715

    H ttp://www.amazon.com/Fightback-Labours-Traditional-Movements-Critical/dp/0719072700

    Along with the 1995 documentary ‘Labour- the wilderness years’ (BBC , 1995, 4 parts)

    which can be downloaded as a torrent from

    h ttp://www.thebox.bz/login.php

    and some of which is available online here

    h ttp://www.frequency.com/video/labour-wilderness-years-cast-into/7724001

    (fantastic documentary series)

  29. “Only two leaders of the opposition have become Prime Minister in the last 30 years, and they were cut from quite similar cloth, both charismatic figures who very clearly changed the whole political terrain when they became leader. It is clear Ed Miliband does not fit that mould”

    Very interesting piece Anthony-particularly the above .

    RICHARDO

    I agree with your post.

    Having read the “speech that was never made ” , I think DC must be drinking a toast to the public sector unions every night.

    DM would have been a very difficult oponent.

  30. Anthony that’s a concise well argued piece and broadly I’m sure you’re correct about Ed Milliband’s position.

    I’m like others intrigued with your only two leaders of the opposition comment….I took that to be Thatcher and Blair…
    To me Cameron is turning out to be more like Wilson or Macmillan…deft at the politics of party and Westminster but is less convincing as master of political reform and government…..
    The jury is very much out….I think if he were to have gone for supply and confidence agreement then like Wilson in 1966, he’d have won a clear majority in a second election.

    He shrewdly decided on a coalition as the best means of getting the changes to the size and composition of the Commons without electoral reform. He was unquestionably correct in making that call.

    The upside is it loads the dice towards him in 2015 the downside is there’s not a lot of room for maneuverability if things go down the proverbial Swanney…

    Milliband’s position has to be seen in that context. Unless the LibDems panic there’ll be no early election.

    It also may be that Labour’s new vote is more likely to stick with them since it’s really taking left leaning LibDems who seem on the basis of what’s happened unlikely to be re-persuaded by Nick Clegg…

    But unless like Heath in 1970 Milliband gets lucky as a consequence of Cameron becoming unlucky these early perceptions may be hard to shake..

    But in politics nothing succeeds like success. Mr Kenny in Ireland just got lucky…and let’s be honest as yet we’re only at beginning of the effects of the cuts and the reforms…there may be more to play for than is yet apparent. Equally things may not turn out as bad as some predict.

    Thus far this government reminds me more of the Wilson government…loud trumpets sounding a clarion of change followed by early retreats in the face of determined opposition….and this may not bode well for what happens if or when the going gets tough…

    And the going is going to get very tough indeed once the American elections are done and dusted and the flood of Dollars begins to be wash out of the world economy….

  31. I find it disturbing that Rowan Williams has entered the political fray clearly backing labour, and even editing the pro-labour magazine in which he puts over his views.

    There were plenty of opportunities for the Archbishop to have spoken up in the past, on areas such as crucifixes, marriage, the private and public spending bubble which was based upon greed and materialism., and illegal wars. He did comment on the latter, but rather feebly.

    So whether he was right or wrong, and no doubt most socialists think he was right and most Tories will think he was wrong, for obvious reasons, the right will perceive that he is a closet socialist. Perhaps he should have heeded the view of Jesus, ‘Give unto Caesar’.

    The Coalition will be far less likely to listen to his views in the future, which is a pity.

  32. Henry

    “Perhaps he should have heeded the view of Jesus, ‘Give unto Caesar’. ”

    Yeah, but that was Jesus acting a politician – and rather cleverly with that answer to a loaded question.

  33. @Henry – He did criticise Labour too, by saying that they have offered no alternative (he got something right, at least!) to much of what the Tories are doing.

    Personally I – as an Anglican – was disappointed to see Rowan Williams speak out since he seems to spend more time talking about politics and sociological issues than about God, the Gospel and the Church.

    I think he’s allowed to express his opinions, but his article was too… ‘militant’ (strongly worded) for my liking.

  34. Oldnat:

    If Jesus were a contemporary politician, he would be a zealous left-winger :)

  35. @Rob Sheffield

    Well, it’s your Party, and I suppose you know its inner workings better than most. I also accept that the most logical thing to do would have been for Labour to pick a candidate neither in the Brown or Blair camps. However, no credible candidate from any other part of Labour stood in the leadership election (ironically Yvette Cooper despite being Mrs Balls would have been a unity candidate, but did not stand).

    My view is that the Blairites have been waging war on Ed from day 1 – “he can’t win, he’s useles, the public don’t take to him, unlike our chosen one…” In addition, Ed has faced the unique problems of being attacked from two parties in a governing coalition.
    And yet, Labour are doing extremely well in the polls for a Party who lost almost a hundred seats in the GE just over a year ago.

    It’s no good Cons and LD’s saying that they might have voted for DM, or seen him as a more credible alternative. The purpose of an opposition leader is largely to stand with those opposed to the policies of the coalition. What would be the point in having a leader who generally agreed with the direction of Cameron/Clegg?

    We need diversity of views in Parliament as the country (based on VI polls and other data) are cnsistently saying by a plurality that they do not want Cameron/Clegg. Yet we have poeple on the left now saying, “yeah, would should have voted for someone with roughly the same economic pilosophy. That would have made our job easier”.

    Personal issues aside, Labour are ahead under EM. EM appeals more to middle England than GB (GB’s greatest failing electorally – he was trounced in the Midlands). And he also holds some sway (by default) with the public sector. If I were a Labour supporter (and I may well be by the time of the next GE) I would be far more confortable with Ed than David as leader.

  36. And on Rowan Williams…

    I’ve always viewed it the role of religious leaders to speak out without fear nor favour on religious matters. And as as the leader of the established church of England (and hence having a role that overlaps with politics), it is rather churlish for people to criticise him for doing so.

    However, IMHO it was misguided to have written an editorial piece for a left leaning magazine. I agree with most of what he had to say, but the source of the publication rather affected the polarised reception of the comments.

  37. CZECHMAN

    Oldnat:

    If Jesus were a contemporary politician, he would be a zealous left-winger

    …and I expect he would be strongly condeming materialism and greed at a time when there are so many starving kids in the world. However, I suspect he would be speaking direct to the people and not playing the politician either as a paid up or closet socialist.

    However, Williams is only an ordinary human being, whereas the view of Jesus across many religions is either he was God or a great man.

  38. Been away for a week and blissfully unaware of any news. Looks like the polls are fairly consistent still for Labour and wonder what all the fuss about Ed M is.

    We will now see the folly of D Milliband’s lack of discipline or courage when in government – his failure to clearly either get behind or topple Brown now means no one will beleive his protestations of support for his brother. His spinelessness will come back to haunt Labour, whatever he does.

    I did pick up on the April manufacturing figures though – these look truly dreadful. The one growth sector now in contraction.

    Labour really should learn a few lessons and get behind Ed. Osborne’s credibility is rapidly disappearing and (for reasons not entirely of his doing) his economic experiment is blowing up in his face. Cameron’s reputation for U turns is becoming increasing fixed as a media narrative and there is a general haplessness about the government. Good times ahead for an effective opposition.

  39. “Perhaps he should have heeded the view of Jesus, ‘Give unto Caesar’. ”
    ——————————————–
    A great speech…… but it didn’t save his life.
    8-)

  40. Alec

    “Labour really should learn a few lessons and get behind Ed. Osborne’s credibility is rapidly disappearing”

    I was around in the early 1980’s: not sure if you were.

    Transpose Neil (for ‘Ed’) and Thatcher (for ‘Osborne’) in this quote of yours and you have a historical ‘lesson’ to learn yourself.

    Not only was he implicated fully (as was his brother) in the TB/GBs but he also has signally failed over this parliamentary year to get the measure of Cameron.

    Non alligned voters don’t warm to him: that is a killer in our form of democracy. It won’t change.

    In any case: why should Labourites take advice from a Green ?! :D

  41. @ RAF

    Personal issues aside, Labour are ahead under EM. EM appeals more to middle England than GB (GB’s greatest failing electorally – he was trounced in the Midlands). And he also holds some sway (by default) with the public sector. If I were a Labour supporter (and I may well be by the time of the next GE) I would be far more confortable with Ed than David as leader.
    ———————————————————-
    I completely agree. Replacing Ed with David is a non-starter. Even Rob Sheffield acknowledges that.

    Chuka Umunna is too young & inexperienced, sadly ..as are all the other MPs who are two steps removed from Blair/ Brown. And therein lies the reason that Ed M will remain as leader. There are no other serious contenders.
    8-)

  42. @ HENRY

    ” Perhaps he should have heeded the view of Jesus, ‘Give unto Caesar’. ”

    It was all very strange from such an eminent theologian.

    Certainly all politics & not very much scripture-otherwise he would have remembered , 11 Thessalonians 3.10 before criticising the “‘quiet resurgence of the seductive language of “deserving” and “undeserving” poor’.”

    Wiki states that ” the Greek phrase ????? ?????????? clearly means “is not willing to work”; ”

    Indeed Wiki goes on to state that “According to Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, it is the first principle of socialism”.

  43. Sorry-that cut & paste Greek didn’t work on UKPR :-)

  44. @Raf – “… it was misguided to have written an editorial piece for a left leaning magazine.”

    Does this mean Rowan Williams must write no more articles for the Evening Standard?

    I assume he does not tout for custom, but accepts without favour invitations from mainstream publications, as and when he has something to contribute.

    As was pointed out last week, the BBC does not deem it necessary to preface any mention of an article from The Daily Telegraph (who happily gave over to Michael Nazir-Ali many column inches over the years and no complaint) etc with the words “in right-wing newspaper…”

  45. Amber

    “And therein lies the reason that Ed M will remain as leader. There are no other serious contenders”

    If that is the best reason for having him at the helm, it probably means you will have to go through the Haig/IDS phase too. And that takes time.

  46. Amber

    “And therein lies the reason that Ed M will remain as leader. There are no other serious contenders.”

    Which is a similar reason to why you had Iain Gray as SLAB leader (and performing infinitely better now that he is standing down from a position not really appropriate for him, I feel).

    So who else do you give the poisoned chalice to here?

  47. The Sunday Times was mulling over alternative candidates for AoC-the front runner being John Sentamu ( York).

    It said that amongst his many fine qualities is the ability to tell a good joke.

    This is one of his favourites apparently :-

    “A jumbo-jet developed serious engine trouble in mid-Atlantic. The pilot broke the news to the passengers and asked their permission to open the hold and dump all their baggage in the ocean. “Yes, yes, yes,” they all cried. It was done. Thirty minutes later the captain said, “We are still losing altitude. We must get rid of all your hand luggage. The cabin crew will collect them and when we have dropped to a safer altitude they will throw them out.” “But of course,” the cries went out. And it was done. An hour later the captain said, “We still need to lose more weight. Fifty people will be safely dropped into the water with their life-jackets. This airline operates an Inclusive Equal Opportunities Policy. And we shall now put it into operation. We shall use the alphabet to guide us:

    “A – are there any Africans on board?” There was silence. “B – are there any blacks on board?” Again, silence. “C – are there any Caribbeans on board?” Yet again, silence. A little black boy turned to his father and said, “Dad, who are we?”
    The father replied, be quiet-“We are Zulus!”

    Can’t imagine Williams telling that one :-)

  48. As Tristan Perry, even if indirectly, pointed out, Rowan Williams did not simply criticise the government, he was looking for a niche market for christian socialism (not for the first time).

  49. Amber

    “Chuka Umunna is too young & inexperienced, sadly ..as are all the other MPs who are two steps removed from Blair/ Brown”

    Cameron was elected in 2001 and the Tories felt the same way as this in 2003 when they got rid of IDS after 24 months.

    So they replaced him with an old timer-Howard- (think Hain or Benn or Denham or Harman): and lost an election they really should have won given the psephological dynamics (2005). Then they chose the person they should have chosen in 2003- had they retained their poliitcal common sense.

    Will we go down the same route (a compromise candidate a la Howard) or will we stick to the leader who fails to warm up non alligned voters (does not resonate) a la Hague in 97-01.

    Both options lead to defeat.

    Victory lies in picking our own Cameron but- as opposed to the Tories who needed another electoral defeat to stiffen their spines- installing him/ her a full two years before Cameron got his chance in the cycle.

  50. colin

    “If that is the best reason for having him at the helm, it probably means you will have to go through the Haig/IDS phase too. And that takes time.”

    wrote last post before i saw yours!!!

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