Monday 15 June 2015

Daniel Hodges. Someone should say it . He was right

Dan Hodges.

He is to be commended for two very good reasons.


Almost alone among newspapers commentators Dan Hodges said that Ed Miliband was a loser. 

Not at the end when it was obvious. But at the start when it wasn't.
Right from the very beginning, Hodges lamented the Ed victory. He rightly predicted that by choosing Edward over David, Labour had lost the election.

A confirmed Blairite, naturally he thought David would have been a better choice. He even wrote a piece for labour uncut saying David Miliband would win. That was a poor prediction. 

He wasn't alone in thinking the younger Miliband a less capable leader. Many of us thought so too. But what set the long time activist, former union man apart, was he continued saying it long, long after everyone else began to think differently.

After the Omnishambles Osborne budget Tory poll ratings collapsed. Labour wasn't so much rising, as the Coalition were falling. Miliband advisers had told him this would happen. All governments fail. None increase their popularity through office. By targeting just 35% of the vote Labour could win. The bold, cunning plan, as Baldrick once said , was ..

"..we do ...NOTHING!"

Liberal democrats would be returning to the Labour party. That alone raised the party to 32%. Just 3% steal from floating voters and Britain was a red land again. UKIP were taking Tory votes, 3:1 over Labour ones. Maybe even a 31% strategy would pay off? All Miliband had to do was make the occasional vacuous statement. To jump upon any passing bandwagons until he found one that seemed like it might carry him a little distance. Ride it, dump it, and jump to the next.  Just wrap the faithful in labour's comfiest of comfort blankets, Class War and give them the suckling dummy of attacking the Murdoch press, and that would guarantee a win.

I wrote in late 2014, when Ed Miliband was coming under a lot of pressure and there was even talk of him being toppled,  that he was the luckiest labour shadow leader ever. That Neil Kinnock would have given his genitals to not have the problems that he had had. And to have the advantages that Edward Miliband had. I listed 35, top of the head, reasons why that was so.  I said that no matter how bad Miliband was and how unelectable the Labour party he would still become PM. Because the maths of  Lab+SNP+Lib Dem and all the polling since 2012 said so.

Dan Hodges never moved from his position that Ed was a loser and would not be Prime Minister with a majority. He set out his reasons in a clear, reasoned way.

 Miliband lacked depth. Was wafer thin on policy. His 'ideals' were ethereal. He was a policy light, soundbite heavy, ineffective leader. A serial PMQs loser who expressed his vision for Britain about as well as he ate a bacon butty. He even continued with his claim that Ed Miliband would not become PM, at all. 
Long before the Pink Bus, the two kitchens, the Russel Brand night visit and the EdStone, he had been despairing of Labour's whole campaign. Of its infantile insistence on treating the Owen Jones/Polly Toynbee twitter echo chamber as if it were scrupulously analysed hard polling data from Ipsos Mori.

That takes some courage. To be a national newspaper journalist, supposedly someone who supports Labour, yet who constantly says, 'our man is a nice guy, but that's it. He won't win.' When almost everyone else was saying the opposite.

Mr Hodges was attacked by Labour commentators on the telegraph website. For being a Tory. And by Tories for being a Blair supporter. He was seen by many as an out of touch, out of the loop, has-been hack with an axe to grind. A grumbling, delusional fool who couldn't get over his choice of leader not getting the job.. An irrelevance. An irritant and a turncoat.  A 'FIFTH COLUMNIST'
Labour bloggers said 'he is working for Crosby.'  And berated him for his outlandish prophecies of imminent socialist doom. 

 Yet on May 8th, almost every other commentator, pollster, broadcaster, columnist and blogger, had been shown to be wrong. And Dan shown to be right.
Miliband had not just failed to win. He had had a spectacular defeat. One of those from the jaws of victory defeats. And Dan Hodges had predicted that defeat all along.

 [BQ and CU began suggesting a Miliband coalition from 2013 onwards and despite the obvious flaws in Miliband's chosen strategies,[this one I liked] never thought a Tory win a possibility. Fellow writers ND and BE both did suspect another Tory coalition or even a small majority Tory government. Good forecasting there too.]


Congratulation Daniel Hodges.
Columnist. Commentator. Media presence. Journalist, PR guru, blogger, socialist and Delphic prophesier. To be that right for that long is quite astounding. 

If Ed Miliband had had that sort of 'vision' he'd be ruling us.

{And the second reason for commending Hodges?}

He makes the finest board wargames available. Fifth Column Games. Where There is Discord is a game about the Falklands War that is one of the most tense solitaire games around. And Codeword Cromwell, which is the 1942 English propaganda film 'Went the day well' on a board, has the same mix of politics, historical events, deep characterisation and solitaire game play and make this also a great game. AAA ratings for both. They are already collectors items even though they are new releases. Can't praise them enough.}


Anonymous said...

Not only did Hodges never waver in his conviction that Miliband would lose, he was the only commentator I can think of who consistently predicted an overall Tory majority.

Scan said...

The saying, "a stopped clock is right twice a day" sprang immediately to mind.

Max Devo said...

Ahh ... But he was right all the time. Everyone else was wrong.
Apparently Miliband had written his victory speech and Cameron had written his resignation one.

John miller said...

Oh no.

Nicola Sturgeon won it for Cameron.

Faced with a Scotch imp preaching home rule and taking huge amounts of money from the English, English voters said; "I could not bear a Labour/SNP coalition" and voted Green, UKIP or Tory.

I agree that Ed was useless and that the fact lost Labour some votes, but it was not the main reason. Hatred of the SNP among the English exceeded the dislike of Cameron. Hodges was right for the wrong reason. Canute could have been right had he chosen the cusp of low tide.

Blue Eyes said...

Yes, nothing about weird Ed Miliband and his neo-Marxist ideas nor Labour's tax tax tax plans put off English voters. Cameron's tack to the centre to shore up Nuneaton Mum didn't win any votes, and I suppose all the ex-Libs voted Green...

Hodges is good on Labour stuff. He will be brilliant during this leadership campaign and after. He is occasionally quite mad on other topics: he blamed David Cameron personally and the UK government's policies generally for the migrant crisis in North Africa and Southern Europe. No, really.

Blue Eyes said...

Also, glad you mentioned Nick and I in dispatches. The reason I was confident? British voters are not (as a group) stark, raving insane.

I think CU secretly knew that Nick and I were on the money, but he dared not be seen to flip-flop to keep his audience happy ;-)

Nick Drew said...

the Mili = Kinnock thing was pretty central all along

((Burnham ??!?? have you seen him bumbling and stumbling at the hustings? bleedn'ell))

may post some more later

dearieme said...

Are you referring, my dear sir, to the MidStaffsMurderer?

Nick Drew said...

dearieme, no ! (if I may put it that way)

the Grauniad recently had to publish a correction on this: they'd said he was Mr NHS when the Mid Staffs thing was in full swing

in fact, he was Mr NHS when the (non-public) inquiry was being *ahem* extended

it was of course the wicked Tories who instigated the public enquiry