Has the Labour party condemned itself to 15 years in opposition by electing Ed Miliband? That is the consensus of the commentariat—and for once it may be right.
The manner of his election, thanks to all those union activist votes, makes matters worse. And there was already a big problem with Ed’s inexperience, his north London Guardian-ish instincts and his poor record as a decision-taker. He will be massacred in much of the mainstream media and may react badly to that. But perhaps those of us who want to see an electable Labour party should not despair. Ed does have flair and who is to say he can’t learn on the job and surprise us all. His communication skills are sometimes exaggerated but he can connect with audiences, young ones especially.
And, alas poor David, he is a highly intelligent man and by all accounts a capable minister, but he has proved himself a political loser (even before the leadership vote) and his public persona is still oddly synthetic, his words too well prepared. He is a big political brain but somehow not quite right for the top job. If Ed makes him shadow chancellor and they can work together as a team—surely not impossible after the dust has settled—it may prove a surprisingly effective combination.