I don’t know which makes the worst reading for Ed Miliband today, a LabourList poll that finds a large majority of its readers rate the Labour leader’s 2011 performance between average and very poor - or else the criticism levelled at him by its policy guru Lord Glasman in the latest issue of New Statesman magazine.
Glasman, who was recommended for a peerage by Miliband, doesn’t pull his punches. He writes: “There seems to be no strategy, no narrative and little energy. Old faces from the Brown era still dominate the shadow cabinet and they seem stuck in defending Labour's record in all the wrong ways - we didn't spend too much money, we'll cut less fast and less far, but we can't tell you how.”
Glasman lays the missed opportunities of Labour’s time in office at the door of Gordon Brown, as Chancellor and then Prime Minister. A new dawn will only beckon when Miliband exerts his power to abandon Labour orthodoxy and embraces change.
So far Labour’s leader has “flickered rather than shone.” Glasman concludes, “Now is the time for leadership and action…I’m backing Ed Miliband.”
The Commons returns next week with May’s council elections and the London Mayoral contest on the horizon. If it has any sense the Miliband team will concede ousting Tory mayor Boris Johnson from the capital’s City Hall is already a lost cause.
But on recent history, there are good gains to be had – particularly at the expense of the LibDems – in the councils.
However you vote with a Coalition in power, the interests of democracy are best served by a strong Opposition.
“Ed needs to break out of internal party discussions and address the issue of national decline and how to reverse it,” is how Glasman sees it.
I’ve reflected on my December 15th post Labour should dump Ed Miliband – but it won’t. Having thought more deeply on the matter and looked again at the alternatives, I’m reluctantly persuaded Miliband will still be Labour leader come the next General Election. Where has all the talent on the Left gone?