Still in the brother’s shadow
Labour’s 10-point lead in the polls might be only seven points if we allow for the Ed Miliband Effect, I conclude in my column for The Independent on Sunday today. But that’s enough for a Labour majority of 80, so I do not dismiss the possibility that Ed M might be prime minister in 2015.
He is not secure, however. It is striking that he has failed to shake off the shadow of his brother after two years in the job. The Conservatives’ poll yesterday suggested that two-thirds of voters still think that the trade unions imposed the wrong choice on the Labour Party.
Today, the television cameras paid such attention to the arrival of David Miliband at the Manchester conference centre that they failed to notice Ed walking in behind.
Nor does David M show any sign of sloping off to do a different job. Tonight he addresses the Movement for Change fringe meeting, and this is the first paragraph of his prepared remarks, issued in a news release:
Ed has challenged us to reinvent our politics as well as rethink our policies. He is right. In Britain and around the world politics is marked by gridlock – from the third runway and long term care at home to the Eurozone crisis and the civil war in Syria abroad.
That is quite cheekily unfraternal: my brother is right that he should rethink his policies, and the first policy I nominate is the third runway at Heathrow, which I support and he opposes, although he used to support it in government.
Another (former) supporter of the third runway is Ed Balls, and it was interesting what Ed Miliband had to say about him in his Observer interview today:
Will Balls definitely be chancellor if there is a Labour government? “I think I’ll make my Cabinet when it comes to … I think measuring the curtains is not my style.”
So Balls is not guaranteed to be chancellor? “Oh come off it. No.” Why not? “You start with one member of the cabinet and then you move on to all of them. Look. Ed and I work incredibly closely together and we’re a team and we’re going to be a team going into the election.”
My guess is that Ed M simply maintained maximum room for manoeuvre, but it does prompt a little pointless speculation about who else might get the job. David M? Rachel Reeves?
Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/APTagged in: ed balls, ed miliband
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