Coffee House

The Fixed-term Parliaments Act is no longer helping Miliband

25 March 2014

6:14 PM

25 March 2014

6:14 PM

Up until now, the fact that we know the date of the next general election has worked in Ed Miliband’s favour. He has known the timetable to which he has to work and has been able to resist demands to produce policy early by pointing out that we know the next election will not be until May 2015.

But in the present circumstances, the Fixed-term Parliaments Act is not helping Miliband. Normally, in the fourth year of the parliament with the government receiving a bounce in the polls, the opposition would be wary of a snap election. This would create some internal discipline. But everyone on the Labour side now knows that there are still 14 months to go to polling day. This means that there is plenty of time to argue about what should be in the manifesto and the party’s approach.

As long as Labour’s poll lead is this narrow, things will be difficult for Miliband. His allies point out that he’s come through sticky patches before and isn’t one to panic. But with the election only 14 months away and the press more hostile, there is now far more pressure on him. He needs his party to hold its nerve.

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Show comments
  • swatnan

    5 Years is an eternity. Can we have a 3 Yr or 4 Yr Fixed Term Parliament please.
    And PR. And Recall of MPs that have strayed from the straight and narrow. And Defrocking Life Peers who have cheated. So, quite a lot of Reforms for Labour to do in 2015.

    • William Haworth

      The PR argument was lost a couple of years ago.

      To be honest, all we really need is equal-sized constituencies, and a review of the postal voting system, and our democracy will be on much safer ground.

  • edward

    The fixed term parliament act is profoundly up democratic – a change cooked up by pygmies.

  • Gareth Milner

    Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of Miliband……..yeah right

  • HookesLaw

    The fixed term parliament is what wrongfooted and skuppered Labour. They thought they would hang back and let the coalition crumple under inevitable presures.
    But the coalition agreement and the certainty of when the next election would be has held it together.
    Equally the govt can say they are not ‘hanging on’ ‘waiting for something to turn up’ The election is preordained.

    • Tony_E

      Still got 14 months to go Hooky. Let’s see how the break up occurs before we decide who comes out of the fixed term act better.

      • HookesLaw

        It may, but this budget has been well received, the LDs will want to bask in it.
        Assuming the next one does not scare the cat then they will want to be a part of that as well.
        There is an Autumn starement and then a budget before the election. All economic hard currency which the LDs will be linked with and cannot run away from. They are linked until the 2015 budget.

        The LDs have been barking mad to try to talk up differences with the conservatives – both parties are in the same boat and the LDs are daft to think of wanting to fight the tories at the next election as well as labour; but they are deliberatly making that difficult.

        • Wessex Man

          O h dear don’t be so deluded Hooky, there will be no Lib/dum MPs after the 2015 election, Cameron will go down in history as the PM who lost the Union after all of his bullying in Scotland turned a bankable better together Campaign lead into a loss. You, and what remains of the Tory Party will be dumping him the day after the election and the new boys and girls on the block will set out the terms of coalition and withdrawl from the war mongering EU.

          • Frank

            What is the timetable? Do we not have an Euro-election in front of us? Do we not then have the lovely vote on Scotland? Heavens many upsets seem possible before the general election, including some fall-out from the Russian situation and possibly also economic meltdown in the Far East.

            • Wessex Man

              well of course we do, and the debate tonight on radio and next week on the telly which Call me Dave was too cowardly to join in with.

              So it goes like this,
              May 2014, Tories and Lib/dems wiped out in Euro Elections.
              September 2014, Scotland votes to leave the Union.
              May 2015, Lib /demsvoted out of Westminster, minority Tory Party sack Call mer Dave and Boris the Bold.

              • Tony_E

                Wessex, that’s wishful thinking and goes against the lessons of political history.

                The Lib Dems, just like Labour in the 80’s, still have a core constituency. Yes it is smaller than Labour’s in the 80’s, but it is there and with the benefits of incumbency they will survive as a Parliamentary party.

                Tories will take a stuffing in the Euros, but not as bad as Blair got in his first term I suspect. UKIP will do well. But come 2015, tactical voting in Con/Lib marginals by Labour supporters will see a shoring up of the Lib Dem vote at Cons expense, and in the Lab/Con marginals, UKIP will also have an effect. The anti Conservative/progressive vote will be decisive, unless Labour supporters lose heart totally and stay at home.

                Probably, Labour will hold a solid majority.

                Political landscapes rarely change so significantly overnight – and I also don’t think Scotland will vote for independence. Salmond is slowly being exposed for the charlatan that he is. Had Scotland had a better and more honest leader for its independence movement, then I think the story might be very different, and therefore the Westminster picture more affected.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  I think tactical voting come 2015 is going to display a bit more complexity than you make out. It’s still too early to understand the dynamics of UKIP’s potential vote segments. The local elections in May will be a nice set of data points to analyze, I’d guess (although the EU elections are less so, as you imply).

    • Frank

      That must be why the Coalition is asking for ideas about what to do to fill the time in parliament!

      • Wessex Man

        well they only rubber stamp EU Directives now!

    • the viceroy’s gin

      The fixed term parliament has left your boy Call Me Dave a dead man walking. He’s finished, as even the dumbest Camerluvvie understands by now, although you’re too dumb to have got the message apparently. He’s finished, as are the LD’s, and much of that is because they are chained together and for the next 13.25 months of suckitude and mal events.

      The fixed term has meant that the dead man walking must stay dead and walking, because everybody knows the next guy who jumps into the seat is nothing but a sacrificial lamb come 2015, and will be finished as well.

      Bad for everybody, but thanks to the Camerluvvie muppets, it’s reality. Call Me Dave should have been dumped after the local elections disaster last year.

  • andagain

    So what? The Tories are the party with no internal discipline. Labour and the LibDems are a lot better, and have been for a couple of decades.

  • Kitty MLB

    Wee Ed, looks as if he’s waving goodbye in the picture,
    if only.Still a blank sheet of recycled paper are we laddie?

    • telemachus

      Look Kitty
      You folk seem to be working to a corporate agenda
      It goes like this
      A few economic indicators appear positive
      Therefore Osborne is a hero
      Therefore Balls is a dope
      Therefore Labour is finished if they do not ditch Miliband
      Some may see this as the mindset of a few rightist individuals
      I see it as much more sinister
      There is a right wing media offensive out to discredit progressive forces and bankrolled by a few rich individuals with a far from democratic agenda led by Murdoch
      The end of all this could be the end of freedom as we know it
      We must kick

      • National Conservatism

        Please expand as to exactly how the discrediting of Milliband will lead to the end of freedom? I will still be free to vote against him, and still be free to see Labour fail to get their hands on this country again and try to finish off the job they started of destroying it from within. Free from national bankruptcy, free from unlimited mass immigration from hostile parts of the globe, free from political correctness and the thought police. Yes, there are plenty of freedoms left to enjoy should Ed the talking A6se continue to be discredited.

      • Colonel Mustard

        “A few economic indicators appear positive
        Therefore Osborne is a hero
        Therefore Balls is a dope
        Therefore Labour is finished if they do not ditch Miliband”

        By George you’ve finally got it.

      • Harold Angryperson

        Teletw@t@rse accusing somebody of having a corporate agenda – oh the irony…

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Tel…stop your quivering lip. Imagine the horror if davednick get in again. Doesn’t bear thinking about does it?

        • telemachus

          No indeed
          Vince-ed may just have a good ring
          As in succe-ed

          • wycombewanderer

            As in suck ed, there I’ve fixed that for you.

      • gerontius

        “The end of all this could be the end of freedom as we know it”

        Really ? The end of freedom eh?
        I think your handlers should call you in for recycling.

        • telemachus

          You too have been brain washed
          Be there no mistake that the media is currently corporately following a narrative represented by James thread above
          We hear it in most National dailies, from Murdoch’s Sky, and from the Ex Young Tory Chair Robinson the political EDITOR of the BBC
          I truly fear for the future
          We must succeed in May 2015

          • Wessex Man

            NURSE! NURSE! NURSE! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

          • Andy

            We need the Murdoch Press to balance the BBC, which as we all know is populated by Fascists like you and rams your evil agenda down all our throats day in day out.

          • gerontius

            “You too have been brain washed”

            That’s a bit rich coming from a New Labour Spin Monkee

      • Frank

        “…progressive forces…” gosh that takes me back to reading all the dreadful 1930s and 1940s socialist speeches in history lessons at school.
        I agree that Osborne is no hero, but Balls is a re-tread. In fact the whole Labour front bench appears utterly defeated. I find this awful for Britain, as we should have an effective opposition, but to pretend that Labour is any way near the mark is absurd.

        • telemachus

          In office these folk will be charismatic stars the like of which we have not seen for 4 years
          Let us get back to the steady Government we had with Gordon Brown

      • CharlietheChump

        Or it could be the end of you and your kind. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!

  • Hello

    But really? If I was in the Labour party, I’d be keeping schtum. The last thing I’d want is Ed Miliband actually producing policy.

    • Drabble

      Miliband is dead meat.
      His repulsive personal attributes were tolerable when the Tories were on the backfoot and we had to cast around for an alternative economic model.
      Balls now looks to be the fool he always was when he was Brown’s lapdog and I suspect they may need to bring Ed’s brother back from America to lead the bedraggled band of misfits.

      • James Strong

        Bring back David Miliband, a man who slipped away in a sulk?
        A man who left his constituency since he was never really interested in working for them anyway. He just needed a parliamentary seat to give him the chance to get to office.
        No matter how personable he might appear to be to some, the entire country is better off without him.

      • Wessex Man

        alternatives you say, well that would be Ukip, with all of our candidates in gainful employment all their lives in the real world.

  • Colonel Mustard

    He seems to be saluting his volk with the wrong arm.

    • Wessex Man

      Thanks for that Colonel, it struck me as a bit National Socialist as well and judging by telemachus comments we are on to something here!