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A grim turning point for Ed Miliband

2 December 2010

11:44 AM

2 December 2010

11:44 AM

Yesterday’s PMQs already feels like a turning point. It wasn’t so much the nature of
David Cameron’s victory – comprehensive though it was – but rather the way  Labour MPs have reacted to Ed Miliband’s defeat. Whatever doubts some of them held privately about their
leader have suddenly spilled out, mercilessly, across the snow. In his Daily Mail sketch, Quentin Letts describes Miliband’s excrutiating exit from the chamber yesterday; Guido and the Telegraph are carrying remarks from disgruntled Labour figures. The
volume of hostile radio chatter has risen considerably over the past twenty-four hours.

Of course, there are several caveats to be slapped across all this – not least that Labour are bobbing up above the Tories in the polls. But it does seem that Ed Miliband’s honeymoon period,
such as it was, is crumbling fast. If his troops’ unhappiness becomes, and remains, the story, then he will find it difficult to gain any sort of momentum over the next few months. Particularly as
he is currently offering what is, at best, an uncertain policy prospectus.

The real worry for Labour is that this is 2007 all over again. Back then, Brown’s unchallenged rise to the throne meant that Labour didn’t have the internal debate it required; a debate which might
have gone some way to resolving the old Brownite vs Blairite wars. This time, of course, Ed Miliband beat four other candidates to the job – but he did so thanks to union support, and with
most Labour MPs backing his brother. For many of them, MiliE will continue to be part of the problem, not the solution. And that doesn’t augur well for the stability of this, ahem, new generation.


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