Is Ed Miliband the right leader for Labour?

Ed

Labour

Edward Samuel Miliband est le leader du parti travailliste (et donc le chef de l’opposition) depuis 2010. L’élection du nouveau leader du Scottish Labour Party qui aura lieu le 13 décembre prochain constitue un enjeu majeur pour lui puisqu’il s’agit de refaire du Scottish Labour Party un parti populaire en Ecosse face au SNP. A six mois des législatives de mai 2015, la question du leadership d’Ed Miliband est également posée.

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First, let’s introduce Ed Miliband. He was born in 1969 in London. He graduated from Oxford and the London School of Economics. After working in the media, he began his political career in Tony Blair’s Shadow Treasury team. In 2005, he became the MP of Doncaster North and in 2008 he was promoted to become Secretary of State for the newly created Department of Energy and Climate Change. In 2010, he was elected leader of the Labour Party.

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After the victory of the ‘No’ vote on September 18th, the Labour Party breathed a sigh of relief. Indeed,they believe it will make things easier for the May 2015 general election. But with the resignation of Johann Lamont, the party seems divided: 3 candidates are already campaigning (Neil Findlay, Sarah Boyack and Jim Murphy). Ed Miliband said he’s “going to work with whoever is elected as the new leader in Scotland and [he] will look forward to working with them”. “We face big challenges to show how we can change Scotland, how we can change it economically, how we can change it so there are stronger powers for the Scottish Parliament”, he added. And they do face big challenges. Indeed, the Scottish Labour Party is not doing well at all. According to many polls, they are likely to get fewer seats than the SNP. STV said the result would cut the number of Labour MPs in Scotland from 40 to just 4, while the SNP is likely to increase the number of its Westminster MPs from 6 to 54! Many Labour politicians are dubious about the real power of the Labour Party. Labour MP Thomas Docherty for instance warned his party was in a dreadful position (“The state that the Labour party is in right now is we are in a dreadful position”, he said).

SNP surge

The fact that the Labour party is floundering questions the relevance of Ed Miliband as Labour leader. Is he really the the party needs? Many polls show, he is not perceived as a good leader: only 22% of voters think Ed Miliband is doing a good job as Labour leader. An IpsosMORI survey found 49 per cent of all voters think Mr Miliband should be ousted, including 43 per cent of Labour backers, the Standard reported.

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However, according to the latest ICM poll for The Guardian, Labour remains at 32 per cent, whereas the Tories dropped to 31 per cent, with UKIP at 16 and the Lib Dems at 10 only. But when asked whether the leaders are doing a good or a bad job, David Cameron is well ahead. Actor Maureen Lipman for instance, who has supported Labour for about 50 years, said she would no longer vote for the party as long as it is led by Ed Miliband.

good job

But still, we believe Miliband is as good as leaders get: he managed to change his party by distancing it from the Blair/Brown era (on immigration issues for instance). He also succeeded in holding his party together and maintaining it as a fighting force. The party membership is almost certainly bigger, more energetic and in better spirits than that of the Conservatives because Miliband knows ho to tell them what they want to hear. He has also managed to put pressure on the right wing parties. And he certainly is not out of touch with the lives of ordinary Britons.

Sébastien DUFFAU & Laure DELAVALLEE

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