Sunday, 9 November 2014

The hounding of Ed Miliband

I suppose I should be dancing with glee now that the media are reporting that the Labour party leader is less popular than Nick Clegg, especially as in the only two by-elections* in principal local authorities on Thursday Labour support was virtually decimated and the Liberal Democrat vote increased. If I have reservations, it is not out of sympathy for Mr Miliband who won his position on a dishonest prospectus and whose performance in front of his party has deteriorated rather than improved with experience. Rather it is the sense that I have that the press and BBC News feel that they have the power to make and unmake leaders. Ed Miliband would not have won his election if it had not been for the impression, fostered by Tory and Labour-leaning press alike, that he supported the trade unions, who duly turned out the vote for him. Now having set him up, they are now engaged in knocking him down, selling copies through both processes.

We should be judging parties on their principles and policies, not on the personality of a single person at the top. Unfortunately, a pattern seems to be developing whereby a leader wins by means of a media campaign instead of speaking to the membership directly, then appointing a media guru from abroad and making policy on the hoof, based on the guru's perceptions. I am glad to say that though Liberal Democrats too have a Commonwealth consultant - Ryan Coetzee, who formerly advised our sister party in South Africa - policy is still made by our conference, occasionally uncomfortable though that is for some of our MPs.

*Local Authority By-election Results, Thursday 6th November, 2014
Cornwall UA, Mevagissey
Conservative 348 [32%; +8.2%]
UKIP 281 [26%; -1.6%]
Labour 204 [19%; -10.8%]
Liberal Democrat Christopher Maynard 197 [18%; +4.3%]
Green 50 [5%; -0.1%]
Majority: 67
Conservative gain from Labour
Percentage change since 2013 

Rugby BC, Bilton
Conservative 668 [42%; -12.3%]
UKIP 325 [20.4%; +20.4%]
Liberal Democrat Lesley George 280 [17.6%; +8.1%]
Labour 212 [13.3%; -8.1%]
Independent 60 [3.8%; +3.8%]
Green 37 [2.3%; -7.7%]
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition 10 [0.6%; -4.3%]
Majority: 343
Turnout: 31%
Conservative Hold
Percentage change since 2014  
[Information courtesy of ALDC]

No comments: