Archive for the 'Ed Miliband' Category


Richard Nabavi asks Would Ed face a coup a few months after a Labour victory?

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

EdM Speech 2014

Please note this piece was written before the recent polling putting the Tories ahead

If the voting in the next General Election reflects current opinion polling, Ed Miliband will become Prime Minister next May. Of course, the Conservatives are hopeful that the polls will shift before then, but, as things stand today, the possibility of a Labour-led government, either in a hung parliament or with a small majority, is certainly a very real one. The betting marketscurrently make it around a 50% chance that Ed and Justine will move into No 10.

If so, it will be a remarkable turnaround for the Labour Party following the 2010 defeat, but not one which seems to be based on any great enthusiasm for the party amongst the electorate. Ed Miliband’s own ratings are dire, confidence in the party’s economic competence is notable by its absence, and the policy cupboard is quite remarkably bare. If Ed does become PM, it will be by default, on the back of the core Labour vote, disgruntled ex-LibDems, and division amongst his opponents.

All the same, you might have expected that the prospect of getting back into power so soon, with UKIP taking lumps out of the Tories’ electoral chances, would have electrified the Labour Conference, that morale would be good, and that Labour supporters’ attention would be moving to what a Labour government would be able to achieve. Not so:

“The atmosphere at its annual conference in Manchester has not been that of a party headed for power…. Ed Miliband’s big conference speech, which did not mention Britain’s budget deficit once, failed to lift the mood. “It’s all so depressing,” said one MP. “It’s not really what we call leadership. I think we’re stuffed.”, wrote Jim Pickard in the Financial Times.

“Rather than an infantry advancing on Downing Street, Labour resembled a wounded army in need of convalescence” , notedGeorge Eaton in the New Statesman. ”As one shadow cabinet minister put it: “We might fall over the line.” The air of resignation that suffused Manchester was born of the awareness that the best Labour can now hope for is a scrappy win.”

These are the sort of comments you might expect to see towards the end of a party’s period in power, not at the start of a rebirth. Yet, if Labour does form the next government, it will have some very serious issues to address, most notably the need, admitted on all sides, for further and deeper public spending cuts. There is no sign that the party is preparing itself for the tough challenges ahead, still less that they are relishing those challenges. After Ed Miliband’s dire Conference speech and the failure to forge a coherent policy package, and given the rumblings of discontent amongst senior Labour figures, he looks far from being able to provide effective leadership in very difficult conditions and against the grain of Labour’s love affair with big-spending. Things would be particularly hard for him in a hung parliament or with a very small majority, having to fend off rebellions and ambushes.

    This all suggests that a Miliband government, starting off with no real enthusiasm, would very soon plumb the depths of unpopularity President Hollande has seen in France. But there’s one big difference: a French president cannot realistically be dislodged once he is in office. A British Prime Minister can be; in practice, whatever the formal rule book says, all it takes is for his senior cabinet colleagues to tell him to go.

Yvette Cooper or Andy Burnham, and perhaps one or two others, are much more popular in the party than Ed is, and seem more credible and bigger figures than he does, as their Conference speeches showed. No move can be made before the election, but I’d be surprised if they are not thinking along the lines I have indicated. Ed could indeed become PM in May 2015 – but perhaps not for very long.

Richard Nabavi

Richard Nabavi is a long standing contributor to PB.


Labour MPs urge Alan Johnson to challenge for the leadership

Monday, October 6th, 2014

This morning the Telegraph reports

Labour MPs in despair at Ed Miliband’s weak leadership are planning renewed efforts to tempt Alan Johnson into challenging for leader before the election.

It is understood a cohort of MPs believe Mr Johnson is the only person who can win Labour a majority next May and want to push for a leadership switch with his backing.

The rebels hope to convince him to stand if disaffection grows over the coming months while also building up enough support inside the party to convince Mr Miliband to stand aside.

To be honest, I can’t see it happening, there’s only two pollsters reporting Tory leads, and they are in the 1-2% range. This morning’s Populus shows Labour on course for a comfortable majority.

But the key thing for me is that if Labour didn’t ditch Gordon Brown when they polled 15.7% in a nationwide election, or when the polls showed the Tories were on course for 300 plus majority, then they won’t ditch Ed Miliband when he’s leading with most pollsters.

The most interesting thing from that article is this, which shows Alan Johnson doesn’t lack self confidence

The former Home Secretary privately accepts if he had successfully challenged Gordon Brown in the run-up to the 2010 election Labour would currently be in power, according to one source.

So rather than put your money on the 50/1  on Alan Johnson to be the next Labour leader, stick your money on the 14/1 as next Mayor of London (hat tip Peter from Putney)



Norman Lamb says a coalition with Ed would ‘enormously damaging’ for the Liberal Democrats

Monday, October 6th, 2014


Yesterday Norman Lamb, the Lib Dem MP said

The Liberal Democrats must not go into coalition with Labour even if they win more seats after the general election because the association with Ed Miliband would be so “damaging” for the party, a minister has warned.

Norman Lamb, the Lib Dem care minister, said his party would be come under sustained attack if they make a coalition deal with Labour if the party get a small majority at the next election because Ed Miliband will prove to be as unpopular as Francois Hollande is in France.

Mr Lamb, one of Nick Clegg’s closest allies, warned that any deal would results in “zero honeymoon” time and instead the Lib Dems would be attacked from word go.

Mr Lamb warned that being “latched to” a Labour-Lib Dem coalition in such a scenario would be “enormously damaging” for the Liberal Democrats.

What makes this intervention so interesting is that as the telegraph alludes to is Norman Lamb’s closeness to Nick Clegg, I’m guessing such an intervention must have been vetted/approved by the Lib Dem leader.

Although some in the Labour party will be amused and annoyed that a party that is polling in the single digits is saying a future coalition with Labour will be damaging for the Lib Dems, for those who have been critical of Ed Miliband in recent weeks, will be able to point out that Ed’s performance is so bad, that the Lib Dems don’t want to be associated with us.

My instinct after this intervention is to back the 8/1 Ladbrokes are offering on a Labour minority government after the next election.



David Herdson on whether Miliband can breeze to victory on the strength of not being Tory

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Is Labour keeping its powder dry or was that all there is?

Like many a football team 2-1 up in a cup tie with ten minutes to go, a cautious defensiveness seems to have settled over the Labour Party, judging by their conference just gone.  The contrast with last year’s headline-grabbing energy price freeze policy was stark.  The big announcements were to increase the minimum wage by about 4p a year more than the average RPI rate for the current parliament, and to adopt a Lib Dem policy from 2010.

It’s not earth-shattering stuff but then may not need to be.  There’s no need to risk scaring the horses with a big surprise when the present strategy is working well enough.  Labour no doubt have no desire to risk the mistake the Tories made in 2009-10 when the Conservatives rolled out a series of policies, only for them to be ruthlessly attacking by Labour so that instead of the Blues looking like they’d captured the agenda, it looked like policy disarray.  ‘Steady as she goes’ has its merits.

And yet is all seems desperately unambitious.  It’s true that many of the announcements enjoyed public approval but that doesn’t mean they had deep support.  The public agreed with William Hague over keeping the Pound in 2001. For the moment, that doesn’t matter. 

    Labour appears to believe that simply not being the Conservatives will be enough to secure victory: this week was not about preparing for the election, it was about preparing for government, hence Ed Balls’ claimed commitment to clearing the deficit. 

Whether that policy is credible is another matter – the Tories could and should make much of Labour’s spending black holes (but haven’t), but the interesting thing is that Labour chose not to go populist in their last conference before the election.

They may be justified in that confidence.  As has been frequently pointed out, the combination of LD to Lab switchers and the efficient distribution of Labour’s vote puts them in a very strong starting position.  Their biggest concern should be holding on to their former core vote – the by-elections in Heywood & Middleton and for the S Yorks PCC post should give some idea of how real that threat is.  Even so, with Labour less unpopular as a party than the Conservatives, negative campaigning and appealing for tactical votes should also help Miliband.

However, as the Lib Dems have found out, there are limits to how far tactical campaigning can get you.  It only works if you retain your position as least-worst relevant option and it tends to produce weak support that will rapidly drift off if given a reason for disillusionment.  A Miliband-led Labour government elected primarily because it wasn’t the Tories could find itself in an extremely weak polling position very quickly – but it would still be a Labour government and that trumps short-term polling any day.

The big question is whether Labour does indeed intend to try and play electoral keep-ball through to May and just take opportunities to hit on the break as they arise.  As in football, the risk in doing so is that supporters become nervous and that feeling is transmitted to the playing field, while the opposition is handed the initiative and, if they score, the momentum.

David Herdson


The Ed Miliband speech – The Highlights

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014


But will it be overshadowed by events elsewhere?

Apologies, but I’ve not been able to watch the speech in full, I only saw bits, so won’t comment on it, until I see it in full



Ed’s big day – But is the big news of the day just outside of Manchester?

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

His speech from last year

Ed’s last two party conference speeches have dominated the political landscape, two years ago it was the One Nation speech, last year it was the energy price freeze speech. Both speeches saw a temporary uplift in his personal ratings. This year, given that this is his last speech to conference before the general election, I’m expecting a major announcement, my own hunch, based purely on my feelings, is that we’re going to get something to do with the railways.

How will the betting markets react to his speech? Here is the current betfair odds for the next General Election.

Over to you Mr Miliband.

But the interesting political news of the morning is to do with the Heywood & Middleton by-election, Will UKIP achieve the double on October the 9th?



Understanding the Ed Miliband polling paradox

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

How are Labour’s maintaining its poll leads, despite Ed’s poor ratings?

One of the things that has been consistent in the last few years, the voters don’t rate Ed Miliband and he often trails David Cameron on most polling questions. In the past, I’ve shown that Ed Miliband’s ratings as Leader of the Opposition are very poor compared to his predecessors, only Michael Foot had worse ratings one year before a General Election, yet Labour still continue to generally lead in the polls. 

For example this weekend’s YouGov for the Sunday Times, had some polling that would made Ed and his supporters wince, such as only 20% agreeing that Ed Miliband is up to the job of Prime Minister, or only 9% agreeing that Ed Miliband has been a strong leader of the Labour Party, but that same poll had Labour leading by 5%, there are countless other examples of this kind of polling.

I know people across the political spectrum say Miliband’s poor personal ratings will eventually catch up with the party.

But perhaps, Labour supporters need not to worry about Ed’s ratings, if we look at the Ipsos-Mori like/dislike ratings published last week.

On a net basis Ed is the most disliked leader of the four main British wide party leaders, so yes, Ed is more disliked than Nick Clegg and even the Tory party, but if we look closer, there’s only one party or politician with a net positive like rating, that is the Labour party.

So perhaps it is the Labour brand (and the net dislike of the other parties) that is ensuring the Labour lead is being maintained, and despite Ed’s poor ratings, that is what will ensure Ed Miliband is Prime Minister next May. Perhaps rather than focussing upon Ed, Tory strategists should focus on weakening the Labour brand if they have any chance of David Cameron remaining in Downing Street after the election.


Note, Nick Palmer and I holding a meet up in Manchester, Tuesday night at 7 pm. The plan is to meet up at the Atrium by Bridge Street which is located on 74 Princess Street. If you are planning to attend, please drop an email to, if you have any questions about the meet, please drop an email to the same email address.


Miliband’s Achilles’ heel: those who backed Brown

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

Never mind the LD switchers, the biggest threat to Labour was already in the Red column

One assertion that receives a regular hearing on politicalbetting is that Labour is in an extremely strong position to win the next election thanks to that group of voters who switched from Lib Dem to Labour in 2010.  They’ve been consistent in their support ever since and remain favourably disposed towards Miliband and Labour.  Add in that UKIP’s support has come disproportionately from Con, that Labour’s vote is more efficiently distributed, and that precious little direct Con-Lab has taken place (meaning it’s unlikely much could swing back), and it’s easy to see why many can picture Miliband on the steps of No 10 next May.

All of which is true but it’s still not the whole picture.  The weak spot in Labour’s coalition is not those who’ve joined since 2010 – those who’d traditionally be seen as swing voters – it’s those who were already there.

That may seem remarkable given that Labour polled their second-worst total since WWII in 2010, only just better than 1983.  You would think that they’d have been somewhere near their base with a score like that.  Yet history suggests it’s entirely possible for a party to go backwards from a defeat: the Tories managed it in 2001 as did Labour in the aforementioned 1983.

And the risk is real enough: the August Mori poll reported Miliband’s overall net satisfaction rating as -29%, in the same range as Hague and Duncan Smith when they were Leader of the Opposition.  Even more concerning for him, some 41% of those saying they’d vote Labour were dissatisfied with him.  It’s true that Cameron’s net rating with Labour supporters is -52% but then you’d expect supporters of one party to give poor scores to leaders of the others, especially when they rate their own so badly.  Obviously, we shouldn’t read too much into one or two subsamples from just one poll – but this isn’t just one poll: YouGov’s results from 7-8 August, for example, had similar findings.

Even more notable is that Miliband’s rating among 2010 Labour voters with Mori was -5%: it’s only the LD switchers that pull his score into positive territory.  YouGov recorded a small positive balance but still three in seven of Labour’s 2010 support reported dissatisfaction.

Does this matter?  Won’t those same core Labour voters, with their even lower opinion of Cameron, turn out even if unenthusiastically?  Perhaps, but we shouldn’t bank on it.  It is, after all, easy to say you’ll vote when responding over the phone or monitor.  Going out and actually doing it in person (or even by post), is another thing: hence the disparity between how sure people say they are to vote and how many end up doing so (the Mori poll referred to earlier found 78% rating their likelihood to vote as between 7 and 10 out of 10).

Similarly, while they’re not likely to be tempted by the Tories or Lib Dems, Labour’s coalition of voters includes groups who could find either UKIP or the Greens attractive.  The Mori poll found a loss of 11% of Labour’s 2010 vote to one or other of those two parties; the Tory figure for comparison was 13%.  (YouGov found similar results; ICM, by contrast, reported a loss of just 4% of Labour’s 2010 vote to Green or Purple, excluding Don’t Knows).  One could of course say that offers Labour an opportunity as well as a threat: if these voters could be persuaded to return, it places even less need on Team Miliband winning Tories over.  That’s true, but it’s a big ‘if’.

David Herdson.