‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. Ed Miliband reached for the cliché quote by Friedrich Nietzsche, while trying to demonstrate to the people what it is like to be him[1]. It was also Nietzsche who wrote that chaos would give birth to a dancing star, yet so far it seems that the red giant is gradually collapsing towards a supernova.

The opposition leader’s speech may have lit a spark in some supporters, but the speculations on the turmoil behind the party’s leading man have not ended.

Lacking leadership

It is difficult for a man to be more out of touch with the world outside of politics than David Cameron, but Ed Miliband may well have done just that. Seemingly worlds apart from every Labour voting demographic, the Oxford PPE graduate is only making things more difficult for his party. In addition, out of all the possible leadership traits he currently appears to have none.

The problem is not his policies, concerned mainly in attacking widening inequality within the society, but how incapable he is at times in addressing these issues with clarity and confidence. In his mid-November speech Miliband was, for a minute, desperately trying to appeal to those he has no connection with by essentially saying ‘do not pity me dear audience, pity those who get paid less'[2].

The latest opinion poll by Ipsos MORI showed that only 13 per cent of Britons think that Ed Miliband would be ready to be the Prime Minister[3]. The lowest figure of all time. That is one percentage point less than the number of Britons who believe that the US government was involved in the 9/11 attacks[4]. And some would probably like to argue that most of those people are the same.

Furthermore, Ed Miliband’s lack of inspirational charisma has taken its toll on party loyalties under the leader’s diminishing support in polls.

Crisis at the front

Earlier this month the Observer reported that at least 20 Labour party shadow ministers were planning to demand Ed Miliband to step down as the leader of the opposition[5]. No names were given, except for the former home secretary Alan Johnson, who was named by the report’s sources as the possible candidate to replace Miliband.

However, with only six months to go before the General Election the alternative leader would need to be crowned without a contest, and the ever so resilient current party leader does not seem too keen on leaving his post.

The question effectively being asked here is that, how can Ed Miliband inspire a population of differing views when he has not been able to even unite his own party?

Too late to change

The internal struggle has seen Labour’s lead fading in recent opinion polls. Presumably understanding this, Alan Johnson has strongly insisted that he will support Ed Miliband leading the party to the general elections and won’t be seeking the leadership himself[6].

Also jumping in the ‘Milibandwagon’ was the former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, who stated his support for Miliband’s leadership. Alongside him, 100 Labour candidates declared in a letter that they were backing the current party leader[7].

Thus, unfortunately for the Labour frontbenchers, the waiting game of four years proved to be too long. But now for everyone in the party, this means that the cards have been shuffled for next May and the only possible chance for them is to work with what they have in order to do less badly than the Conservatives. After all, given the current political climate, both of the parties are expected to lose votes.

It is too late for the party to waste time and resources on inner turbulence, when they are still in the race. In fact, the race has barely even begun. By, unlike the Tories, avoiding the traps set by Ukip, Labour could establish itself as a real choice for those not convinced by the anti-EU movement.

The only sensible option for Labour is to unite as a counterforce to the far louder right-wing rhetoric, while expecting Mr Miliband to learn to get out more and at least to try to understand the electorate. Otherwise, the party might as well give up now.

 

Sources:

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30039764

[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30039764

[3] https://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3475/Labour-support-lowest-since-before-2010-general-election.aspx – gallery[m]/1/

[4] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14572054

[5] http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/nov/08/ed-miliband-crisis-labour-mps-back-leadership-change?guni=Keyword:news-grid main-1 Main trailblock:Editable trailblock – news:Position1

[6] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/10/alan-johnson-labour-leadership-ed-miliband-loyalty

[7] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30002270