X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

Ed Miliband needs a strategy more than he needs a makeover

15 May 2014

11:09 AM

15 May 2014

11:09 AM

David Axelrod has parachuted into London to give Ed Miliband a ‘makeover’. Miliband needs all the foundation and blusher he can get; but a trip to the battleground in Newark might have been a more productive starting point for Axelrod: Labour’s greatest problem is its strategy, or lack of one.

Newark has huge significance for the Tories – a chance to recover from their likely drubbing at the local and European elections, an opportunity to put Ukip to the sword and a way to build momentum towards next year’s general election.

[Alt-Text]


The party is well organised on the ground. A strong base of activists and councillors is operating out of five local campaign offices. The candidate, Robert Jenrick, has been working the constituency for the 6 months prior to Patrick Mercer’s resignation. Central office is closely engaged. Party Chairman Grant Shapps will lead a team of more than 200 to Newark on 31st May, six days before polling. Meanwhile, The Times reports that David Cameron has ordered every Conservative MP to visit the constituency three times. Nothing is being left to chance.

Compare this comprehensive operation with Labour’s strategy. Labour held Newark between 1997 and 2001. Patrick Mercer won the seat for the Tories in 2001 with a majority of 4,073, and increased his majority to 16,152 at the last election (when boundary changes made Newark a safe Tory seat). Labour’s by-election candidate is 25-year-old Michael Payne, a former student union politician and councillor – a biography that screams of ‘career politician in search of experience’. His adoption is a weak tactical ruse that is emblematic of Labour’s poor strategic thinking. Labour is ‘soft-pedalling’ in Newark in the hope that Ukip’s Roger Helmer upsets the Tories. But such an upset is unlikely (as Nigel Farage recognised). Our Evening Blend email last night calculated each party’s chances of victory as implied by bookies’ odds: Conservatives 63 per cent, Ukip 20 per cent, Labour 17 per cent. What is to be gained by giving Helmer an easy ride when the Tories appear to be capable of winning comfortably? Can a party that aspires to govern Britain risk finishing third, behind Ukip, in a strategically important by-election? These are pressing questions for Miliband, more pressing even than the seemingly insoluble problem of his appearance.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close