The Opposite of Leadership
Having been elected Labour leader by a trade union ramp against the wishes of party members and MPs, Ed Miliband had to show that he wasn’t the creature of the clique of Marxists, fellow travellers and useful idiots that controls the largest union, Unite.
He tried briefly two years ago to rewrite the rule book to cut the union vote at Labour conference, but failed. And now that the Unite machine has blown up while Miliband’s reluctantly-relied-upon fixer Tom Watson was tinkering with it, it is too late.
That is the gist of my column for The Independent on Sunday.
As if to prove my point, Miliband’s people have briefed The Guardian about the firm, decisive action he is taking to show who is in charge. Yesterday, he was going to “review” the relationship between the party and the unions. Today, he is going much further. He is going to rewrite a code of conduct for candidates in selection contests.
That, and he is going to “canvass” some options for reform, including open primaries, as I suggested in my column. Reacting to events and followership, not leadership.
Of course, most normal people are not interested in the claims and counter-claims about Unite’s attempt to influence the selection of a Labour candidate in Falkirk and 40 other constituencies. Nor do they think “the trade unions” are the wreckers of the economy that they were in the 1970s. But they can sense leadership, and YouGov’s findings for The Sunday Times today are not good for Miliband:
Thinking about Ed Miliband’s leadership of the Labour Party, do you think he…
Has been a strong or weak leader of his party?
A strong leader 10% (-6 since September 2012)
A weak leader 47% (+10)
Would or would not be up to the job of prime minister?
Would be up to the job of PM 20% (-5)
Would not be up to the job of PM 57% (-6)
Going backwards over the past 10 months: not great.
Picture of a different Ed Miliband via Rosie RTagged in: ed miliband, labour party
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