Friday 30 January 2015


90 days left.

Back in November Ed Miliband was under pressure. He might get booted out. 
It was all a nonsense. Just backbenchers sounding off. There was no way he was being moved on. Mostly because it was far too late in the day to change leaders.

I wrote about it at the time. And listed 30 odd reasons why he would be the next Prime Minister. The advantages are all his. It seemed virtually impossible for him too lose. 
 And yet he continues, day in, day out, to try and lose the 2015 election. 

The worst leader of an opposition since Michael Foot. Possibly even worse than him. 

Ed Miliband beat his brother to the leadership of the labour party, by getting union votes and defeating his brother. he must be tough to have negotiated and undertook that. he must have had some vision? Some idea of why he wanted to be leader and what he thought he could achieve. He didn't appoint Ed Balls as chancellor. A brave act. They were both Brown's capos. To refuse him the prize he craved showed a political soundness. It was 'events' that made Balls chancellor.

Somewhere along the way, his spinners and Spads and graph guys showed him the 35% strategy. 
Labour did not need any vision. It just needed to retreat to its core vote and prevent the Party fragmenting after its crushing defeat in 2010. Someone pointed out to him that in 2010, even after the disastrous premiership of  the coup-king, Gordon Brown, with the economic crash and labour having totally lost its way, the party still retained 29% of the vote. 
Someone will have shown him the constituency map that plotted the seats which Labour had lost, but could be sure of winning back just by virtue of not having Brown in charge anymore. They would have pointed to all the Scottish seats where Labour, incredibly, had  gained votes in 2010.
"Sit tight Ed..Its all going to be alright. best not say too much..See what's happening first.."

He might not have been convinced. probably decided to try out some 'producer-predator-onenashion' phrases. Started to write down some ideas. tested out some theories on focus groups.

The Spads came back. "Ed..Ed ..the Liberal democrats are a disaster..they've dumped all over themselves. Their supporters are fleeing the yellows and joining the reds! That's going to boost us some 8%! We don't need to do anything .. just sit tight."

And then the boundary changes were dropped. That made his job even easier. And all that talk of cuts..cuts..cuts..It was a gift to the spending party. Tory incompetence at the budget lost the coalition its fragile public support by 2012. 3 years to go and he was ahead in the polls. Significantly ahead. 

And the news just got better. UKIP turned up. The protest party began taking real bites out of the Tory votes. Marginal seats were going to fall like ripe fruit into his hands. Ed Miliband could be looking at Blair like majorities of 100+ seats. And all without even writing a manifesto. 

Just some platitudes would do. Say lefty things to lefties..and say not a lot to righties. Who needs them?  Tax 'em with a mansion tax. Say that tax will raise super-dooper billions to pay for the Tories-Liberals failed economic experiment. And oppose everything the coalition does. Everything. Don't even think about it. Just say its wrong. So when it fails, Labour look like they were right.!
The coalition is carrying out NHS reorganisation. Imposed from above. What a gift!
His advisers will have told him that voters liked labour, but they didn't much care for weird Ed. So, try not to say much about anything and keep out of sight. And they would have told him that even on his best days, he is only mediocre at PMQs . So.. best not say too much.

The only problem with this strategy was that it was dependent on the economic situation remaining bad for 5 years. Prices rising for 5 years.The coalition not changing tack for 5 years.

And that is why it was a bad, bad, bad idea. Ed Miliband has no fall back positions. He has no uplifting policies to offer an alternative to floating voters. He has chased his own and ignored the rest. His narrative about how beastly the coalition is and how heartless the Tories are, compared to cuddly old labour won back the labour lost and a big chunk of former liberals. But that's all.

Back in 2012, that was enough. He was going to win with a comfortable margin.
But in 2015 its not. The Scots are doing that rebellion thing again. The fringe parties are taking votes of him both for being too left wing and not left wing enough. As the economy improves, and the coalition begins to deploy its election power, Miliband is pushed back.

He has nothing in reserve. He has nothing to say that hasn't been said a hundred times. 
For the big spring offensive labour have chosen its favoured muddy battlefield of the NHS. The one area that labour is consistently ahead on polling data. Which is why it will fail.

Labour already have those NHS votes in their pockets. They have had them since Lansley gifted them to Labour be foolishly messing in an area where messing should have been severely limited. The votes he is trying to win are by fear. And that's not going to be good enough to swing the 5-6% of voters that he is short.

This offensive , this weaponised conflict, is already failing. Andy Burnham, Labour's general of nurse, bogged down soon after leaving the trenches. Rear-Admiral Milburn sunk some of his own ships getting out of port.

Labour take comfort from recent polls that show the NHS is the number one issue for the public.And labour has a big poll lead on dealing with the NHS.
What they also know is that was just one poll. carried out after the newspaper 'NHS in crisis' week. For years the real top issue has been immigration. And labour is totally distrusted on immigration.
third is the economy. Labour can take very little comfort there either.

So they are reduced to going into battle with a very depressing message of failure and misery, and very few ideas to do anything about it.

Labour's advantages in this election are so great it would take a real lemon to fail. 
Ed Miliband will probably still become Prime Minister in May.


But he doesn't deserve to be.


john miller said...

My nightmare: the Lab/Green/SNP coalition.

Look what Labour did on their own to our energy supplies. Add in the Greens (who hate everybody) and the SNP (who hate the English, but want them to be Nanny when the piggy bank runs out)then we have a right old stew.

Steven_L said...

I think whoever becomes PM will just be the person who loses least bad.

BE said...

Cons are offering big (probably unachievable) tax and spending cuts. Lab is offering big (probably unachievable) tax and spending increases. LibDems sensibly are saying something in between.

I will be voting strongly for the tax cut fantasy over the tax rise fantasy, but expecting something slightly more Lib-Demmy whoever actually wins.

But if it is Lab propped up by the Stalinist National Party or the Marxist Greens, well, then, I am truly scared.

CityUnslicker said...

I don't really fear an ED PM. After all, it will be daily hilarity which will make blog writing reallyt easy!

Both parties are so enamoured with the way things are that they are not going to change the consensus.

Perhaps it would be for the best if they just go into coalition with one another.

Steven_L said...

Perhaps it would be for the best if they just go into coalition with one another

I still think that this is kind of what might happen. I'm sure they won't call it a 'coalition' but I can see tories being whipped to at least abstain on a labour budget or vice-versa.

Jer said...

"Labour's advantages in this election are so great it would take a real lemon to fail.
Ed Miliband will probably still become Prime Minister in May.


But he doesn't deserve to be. "

All true, but you could have said the same about David Cameron five years ago, except he doesn't seem to have had principles to abandon.

Send for Eric Pickles as Tory leader, and maybe bring Eric Joyce back for Labour, he's been impressive since he was expelled...

Bill Quango MP said...

Jer -
The difference is Cameron did everything he could to win the election.

He spent a great deal of time touring hospitals and a great deal of time touring labour strong seats.He spent a lot of time in wales and a lot of time in Scotland.

His advisers kept telling him that it probably wasn't worth the effort. That the few votes he would swing wouldn't overturn any large majorities and he should stick to marginal seats.

They were probably right. His visits yielded little. But they do show the mindset of a man who thought he could persuade traditional labour/lib voters to try a tory.

Miliband isn't even trying that. He spends his time trying to plug the holes in his 35% strategy by visiting schools 'n 'ospitals and preaching to the converted.

If he announces a new policy its to retain some support or to try and head off a perceived threat from the Greens or UKIP or the SNP.

He isn't trying to win any converts.

Electro-Kevin said...

BQ - And that is exactly why Cameron could well lose the next election.

He tries to schmooze Labour voters whilst treating his own core with contempt.

No. Miliband deserves to win.

I wish Labour had won in 2010 and I can't see me ever voting Tory again.

Electro-Kevin said...

Grant Shapps declares this week that there will be no deal with Ukip.

Why ? One presumes that they must be extremist and distasteful.


Of Mr Bashir. Shapps says when questioned about the former's membership of Respect "So long as the candidate has not been in an extremist party then we'll consider them."

So Mr Schapps admitted this week that Ukip are not extremist. Yet he and his wretched party are willing to go into coalition and do deals with the far less popular LibDems than give their own natural supporters a bit of what they want.

Then there is the incompetence of not researching Mr Bashir properly before his acceptance and the Cameron photo shoot.

And they have the cheek to call Ukip amateurish and chaotic ?

Sebastian Weetabix said...

The pantomime in Westminster doesn't matter. The real government is in Brussels; whoever wins in May will just do what they are told by our masters there anyway, and interest rates are determined by Mr Carney.

It's tough to tell what the twats in SW1 are for, other than window dressing. Even the HS2 nonsense is part of the EU's infrastructure plan.

Bill Quango MP said...

All political parties are chaotic. Its because they are really news organisations.
Rushing about from one new story to the next. That's why the Bashir story is a fiasco.Not enough time. They needed the positive spin of a Kipper defection {for a change!} before UKIP could disown their man.
That's 24 hour news politics.
The Cameroons failed on both with Bashir. But it was only a akirmish.

My complaint with useless Ed is that he is unable to do the set piece offensives either.
He launched what he thought was a war winning campaign and its gone very wrong , very quickly. Once you look at it, NHS NHS NHS you can see its far to unambitious and poorly thought out to seize much ground.

All political parties do this. They have an idea, then rush off with it.

Politicians can employ anyone they want. They can spend what they want. The best AdMen in town.
So its always a mystery why they have so few successes.

If ASDA ran a Christmas campaign like political parties run election campaigns they would be out of business.

Nick Drew said...

Come on BQ, all of life is characterised by cock-up

ASDA? how about, errrr, Tesco ...

sometimes you meet a small company (etc), run by the original start-up guys, who are operating at 100% efficiency and moving mountains

then they need to hire more staff, then the organisation gets bigger than their span of control, then a couple of idiots get taken on by mistake, then some lazy bastards - and before you know it, the company's performance level has subsided to 'normal' levels of hit-and-miss

'no plan survives first contact with the enemy' - or indeed first day in the hands of the staff

I am constantly dismayed by, but have learned to live with, the degradation of excellent plans by the 'friction' of stupidity & general ineffectiveness that drags stuff down

James Higham said...

Best I don't get started on this shower of ...

Bill Quango MP said...

ND - an excellent point, but a rather different one. We all suffer from the idiocy of individuals. I have a genuine heart stopping moment.

Arriving at a showstore only moments before the MD, to discover that the idiots had done the very opposite of the MD's , hence my own,express instructions.

Have we ever run that Thick of it tea towel rant? Its as apt as apt can be.

But here we are talking campaign season.

A retailer will be preparing for xmas 2015 now. It will all be in place by August. Then some last minute changes and some reaction to the competition.
And someone will get it all a bit wrong. Put the mince pies at the back and the gardening equipment at the front or whatever.

But in the will rollout on time, and be in place, as the admen and ops people originally intended.

My complaint with the politicians here , and especially the miliband one, is that

A - who does he hope to convince that isn't already convinced?
Dave isn't campaigning on lower business rates {though he should!!!} he HAS , pretty much, already got all the SMEs he is going to get.

B - In the very first contact Andy Burnham was mown down by Kirsty. Brillo took another shadcab NHS er to bits also.Day 1 and it was going a bit Somme.

So how come, when Labour have known there was an election coming for the last 5years, how come, they have not got better answers to difficult questions and better solutions and a more appealing narrative ?

I can believe a marketing man saying "NHS is your strongpoint..that's your target market..1 in 16 people in the UK work in half of all families know an NHSer.Everyone uses it! Win them all over and that 100+ majority is yours!"

Great! what do we say?

"Say ..we love the NHS and the other people don't love it ."

Great ..then what?

"That's need for anything else..Just say you go to bed at night and cry about how bad the coalition is treating your favourite public service."

"and..that will do it?"

"oh yes...£200k please!"

And the labour team said "ok..sounds"

Anonymous said...

British governance has reached a point where much of it just doesn't need government, Whitehall merrily continues apace with it's own internal drama with just the badge of the idiot they need to deal with changing, Brussels' does what Brussels' does and pretty much every institution has been knocking around before most of the current bunch were still in their fathers testicles.

So we're left with a circus of clowns whose only remit is to interfere with them between doling them out money from budgets and screwing up the economy.

And the parties themselves reflect that.

The Tories are either hugging hoodies, or in the case of Theresa May, trying on jackboots for size.

Labour are just tribally loathesome.

Lib Dems are the same unhappy marriage of sandalistas and orange bookers, only now singed by actually having to something other than dream up bullshit policies.

UKIP are... Well. Entertaining clowns, at least they've brought custard pies, and in Farage have the kind of ringmaster who can get away with things.

The Greens are triers, for every decent policy I see, there are about 4 that look like they swapped a think tank for a loony bin.

And I think that is what behind the rise of UKIP and Greens, yes people are pissed off at how immigration has been handled and the environment, but people also like to go for the devil they know, so I think a lot of the loss of popularity of the main parties is that the public have decided if they're going to have clowns, have the nutty ones rather than than the boring ones.

The old parties are like Saturday night telly in the 70's and 80's - tedious shit like Little and Large - whilst the Greens and UKIP are like suddenly discovering there's an Eddie Izzard and Bernard Manning channel available now.

I'm just hoping there's an independent standing, otherwise I'll just have to spoil the ballot paper.

Suffragent said...

Meet the new boss same as the old boss. Unless it’s the greens then your truly f%¤&/
So purely for the entertainment value, which is the least dirty shirt in the basket?
The role of PM is not to be a likable person. We are not looking for a best friend. We are looking for an intelligent person who can listen to what we want, calculate what’s best for the people and a complete bastard of a negotiator who can then get it for us. So who have we got?
Camorron was in the same position before the last election and still fluffed it against Brown (BROWN ffs). At that time and place, you have to be truly useless to not get a majority (even with the boundaries, which the Fud hasn’t changed while in power). Every policy he makes comes with a revolving door built in. Why was he chosen? Because he could memorize a whole speech without looking at his notes. Well woopiedoo. The guy can’t even lie properly. You didn’t have to be an FBI interrogator to understand he was lying about that whole horse fiasco. If ever there was a chinless, smarmy face that represented the bullingdon club (much loved by the general populace) that’s it. Why doesn’t he have spots? Because they slide off
Millipede: Union stooge, the stumbling and mumbling school retard, dressed in his dad’s suit. I’m all for giving everyone in society a roll they are capable of doing but prime minister? The first time Frau Merkel raises her voice in a negotiation, he’ll probable wet himself.
That other bloke: the back stabber, will do anything to sit at the top table, runs a party of sandal wearing teachers kids. Thinks he runs the third party but probably now in the second division (but still thinks that if the tax payer should fund the parties, that he should still get the third prize). Had he seen his change to the voting system, he would probably be in the Vauxhall Conference after the next election.
Farage: Accused of being a one trick pony, racist, sexist….I like the guy. Anybody that can raise so much negativity from the MSM has to be doing something right. The problem he has is that the game is stacked (if proportional representation had gone through, he would probably be the next prime minister) so he will probably get a large voter share but very few seats to show for it. Although everybody voting for him is a racist (sarc off), I think most do as he is the only one facing the issues that people are concerned about and people are sick of the existing system that talks to them like children. If he fills his party with deserters from the others, to get his seat count up, he risks losing the protest vote. We want rid of these parasites, not for them to just change badge and carry on.
The Greens: Giving them power maybe the only way to put an end to this green nonsense once and for all. I’d give them a year before the public realised the horror of their policies but it would take generations if ever, to undo the destruction they had caused.
Isolated in the Westminster bubble, they ALL believe the wealth generated by the population is theirs to distribute as they see fit (after taking a sizable cut). The people are just too stupid to understand what’s best for them.

Suffragent said...

ND and SW Excellent points. Economies of scale only work up to a certain point. This and “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” is why I’m against centralisation. Whether it be in Brussels or London. SMEs have been the driving force of innovation and wealth creation in the west since the dawn of the industrial revolution. The big industrials, through their buddies in government and EU, have introduced a raft of legislation to stop these little upstarts from taking market share and the government gets to employ more peak cap box tickers. The problem is that these little upstarts took their ideas to foreign places that were more inviting and are able to produce the product for less, without the additional burden of legislation. (The cost of labour is only a small part of the production cost in a mechanised system).

'no plan survives first contact with the enemy' Which is why we need a strong negotiator as PM not someone who’s only skill is to memorise a speech.
This is the issue. Politics is reactionary with no laid out plan to success and worse than that, its not reactionary to the voice of the people but to its own internal feedback loops. The twatterati, the spivs, its own msm. The general population don’t give a stuff about the childish point scoring in the “Westminster’s got talent competition”. They want someone to make the country a better place to live.
Its also the same as big business. The share price dropped a pip, sell off something, start with the R&D department.
CU “I don't really fear an ED PM.” No but I would fear the people that put him there. He didn’t rise to the top through his strength, intellect or natural charisma.

andrew said...

Politicians and Cars:

Back in the 70s and early 80s there were real differences between cars. Some were really awful and tended to fall apart. Some were quite good.
Same with politicians.

In the '10s all cars basically work and behave in the same way. You buy one because of something at the margin - the badge, touchscreen or i-drive etc.
Same with politicians.

Cars are highly optimised to drive on roads and politicians are highly optimised to run on us.

The trouble is that whilst roads have not changed much in 70 years, we have and and the changes are accelerating.

Optimisation can lead you into blind alleys eventually.
If there is very little cost in terms of votes in borrowing money and a lot of benefit in spending money, and a great cost in votes in stopping spending money, it is pretty clear what will tend to happen.

So we collectively are at the point where we know something is wrong.
Our historic preferences have bred the politicians and politics we have.
But are not able to articulate what we do want in a coherent manner and are not willing to pay for it.

So the fact that they are all the same (within a rounding error) is a good thing (until we know what we do want)!

Electro-Kevin said...

BQ - A skirmish.

It always is only a skirmish when the Tories lose against Ukip. A whole file on paedophilia has been lost on their behalf, after all.

Our 'democracy' is well bent. Bashir was kicked out of Ukip. The Tories were too amateurish and hastey to research their man. Exactly the amateurishness they accuse Ukip of.

Their economics is fucked up too:

And Peter Hitchens claims our debt mountain is about to explode in our faces too. Did I mention that I came to this very conclusion myself a week ago ? (I've felt it for longer actually)

Also - my Timesausage Theory has been claimed by an eminent scientist who propounds a 'new' theory that time exists in everlasting chunks.

I have been telling visitors to my blog this for around a decade now.

Suffragent said...

Andrew a great analogy and completely agree in the long term (two deckchair sellers on a beach will always drift to the middle). Government works very slowly, always increasing its influences and power, pushing the population and the publics perception/values to the desired target BUT not too fast to upset the natives. Labour introduced thousands of petty little laws stripping us of our rights and handing over “responsibility” from the individual to some state department. None of these individually would have been enough to raise alarm (and any voices raised against would be accused of racism, sexism, think of the children, have you something to hide?). All of which would have had our grandparents asking “are you taking the p!ss”. Labours greatest successes towards a socialist utopia were to alter the tax and benefits system so the majority are now dependent on some government hand out (not even questioning, that it was their money that was confiscated in the first place). The second was to change narrative and the mind-set that only the government can fix issues. Little Johnny drops his smarties on the bus, what’s government going to do, so this tragedy doesn’t happen again.
However if the people always voted for the highest spending party, you would never have a right of centre party in power. I think we, like the government, underestimate the intelligence of the general public (the Geordie shore types are over represented on the TV). During the Boom we had all danced while the fiddler played. When the bust came (like teenagers who had had a party while their parents were away), we all knew the party had come to an end it was time to clean up the house. The vote swing went to the right and we all understood that we should have some extra chores, with no pocket money until the damages were paid for. The public started to take more responsible steps, paying down debt, cutting down on the luxuries we couldn’t afford, putting a littla aside for the hard times that were coming and voting for a government we expected would do the same. What did we get? Blair 2.0 more spending, less freedoms, they u-turned on every policy and still left the narrative with the opposition and the MSM who scream of cuts. We wanted to be disciplined and the house returned to the same level of comfort but instead the parents said “no its ok, live in the squalor and we will get you some beers for next weekend.”
Steam Trains were continuously improving to a common solution, until somebody tinkering in the garage came up with the internal combustion engine. Nature tells us that diversity is the driver of evolution like SME’s are to industrial advancement.
El Kevo
So where do I get the bus to 1992

Bill Quango MP said...

This was a comment I made to CU after he wrote a post the 25% scare story in November 2012.

If i can remind you CU. One of our posts on cuts to libraries, suggesting just a 10% cut to the national budget was met with horror by our readers, the Guardian who trailed it, and anyone else who linked. For a top 10 ranked all time post very few agreed with me that it should be done.

BTW - I owe you £20. I admit defeat. I'll never find another acceptable middle class tax benefit or service to give up.

{the one I did find was was that stupid child trust fund that Brown set up to make every parent a labour supporter by bribery. It was expensive, pointless, and as transparent a political grab for the middle classes as a glass pane, expertly polished by highly skilled craftsmen and artisans, that also happens to be open. Apart from Polly Toynbee no one else missed it.}

The appetite for sensible government was long gone as early as November 2012

Nick Drew said...

there was once a mighty "middle class benefit" given up

(I remember this one well because at the time I had a bit of a platform and campaigned to have it scrapped)

it was mortgage interest relief

Mrs T wouldn't hear of it - in fact, her kne-jerk reaction was to say it should be increased, every time one of the 'dries' mentioned that it should really be ditched

I discussed it with several of the supposed dries at the time - Lawson, Howe, Lilley, Portillo - they all said the same thing: just too difficult, best left alone, wither-on-the-vine etc

only chap who was willing to keep banging the drum was Biffen (a good man)

It was left to Major to reduce it a bit, and Brown finally scrapped it in 2000, quite right too

Electro-Kevin said...

Suffragent - The bus to 1992 is still there... in 1992.

You are as far removed from Suffragent in 1992 as you are as removed from Suffragent 2 minutes ago.

As with timespace - a given person is not the same person one moment from the next but a reconstitution of matter brought by infinite histories ergo infinite probability.

That said - I'll make an exception for David Cameron. He was a cunt in 2010 and is still a cunt now - and so am I for ever having voted for the cunt in the first place.

Electro-Kevin said...

So here we are - the Sword of Damaclese "DON'T LET LABOUR IN !"

When has it done me any good voting Tory ? I stuck to my principles - it's them that have got on the Funky Bus (to 20-oblivion) and fucked off.

As an eminent physicist once said "Madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."

I've come too far trying to see eye-to-eye with these newspeakers.

2010 was the election the Tories should have lost. And I said that theb too.

Electro-Kevin said...

THEN (not 'theb' whatever that is)

As you can tell. I have been imbibing in a house heated to carehome geriatric-poaching temperature with a fat ginger tom by my side whilst wifey watches The Wizard of Oz on TV.


How the fuck did my life come to this ?

BE said...

ND interesting re MIRAS. Its removal did cause the 90 crash, but it needed to be done. We tend to be more risk-averse these days.

andrew said...

not sure about the caused bit.
made it happen a bit sooner maybe.

The other one you havent mentioned was university grants and free tuition. Nearly as middle class as my MyWaitrose card.

Anonymous said...

That's the Lib Dem backlash.

Liberal democrat voters who fled the party are fleeing to labour 3:1.

But it seems spome 20-33% are heading tory.

Those must be those middle class do-gooding types who got a faceful of reality and a sizable kick in their wallet through tuition fees.


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