The Left Still Has a Leadership Crisis

The events in Europe this week have highlighted again that despite the Coalition getting into some poor positions, Labour all too frequently misses the open goals presented to them.

Following David Cameron’s snub of a new accord in Europe, Labour criticised him, but failed to say explicitly what they would have done. There are voices on the left that are just as unhappy about the proposed new treaty, on this site and Owen Jones in the New Statesman, for example.

Ed Miliband himself wrote in The Guardian:

The prime minister has not wielded a veto in Europe. He has simply failed to protect British business and British jobs

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/dec/09/cameron-let-britain-down-europe

Any with the faintest clue about the feelings of the electorate about the EU would know that it is treated with suspicion and is not trusted by voters from both the left and right. EU lovers are are distinct minority. During fieldwork on the 8th and 9th of December, Yougov asked:

If other European countries wish to pursue closer integration, Britain should seek to play a full part?

This was supported by 7% of Conservatives, 27% of Labour and 24% of Liberal Democrats (15% Overall). As barely one quarter of Labour voters would have supported signing the proposed treaty, the Labour Leadership is therefore out of step with with it’s supporters.

Last night, a Survation poll for The Mail on Sunday showed that 62% thought that David Cameron was right to use the veto, against 19% who thought he was wrong.

Leadership is not about following opinion polls, but leading opinion based on principle. However, by not objecting firmly to the centralising economic controls in the accord that are straight from the IMF Neo-Liberal copybook, Ed missed a golden opportunity to combine principle and chiming with the electorate at large. He did this well during the phone hacking scandal,  but this was the exception.

Too often the Labour Leadership as a whole has stood by while the Coalition flounders, just fence-sitting watching passively on. Eventually, the Coalition finds a path through and gets the reward. Labour just stares at it’s shoes having missed a golden opportunity to make the principled case for change and failing to show it understands the electorate.

I think that David Cameron’s decision this week will stop any further leaks of Conservative support to UKIP and improve his position as Prime Minister and Leader of the United Kingdom. His treaty veto will be his ‘Falkland’s Factor’. I also think that the Conservative as a whole will close the gap with Labour.

Ed had a mountain to climb to win the General election in 2015 previously. Now it is even harder for him.

Labour must learn fast that when an open goal is presented to them, they must hit the net. Ed may be the Labour’s star striker, but if he keeps missing another Miliband is sat on the substitute bench, keenly awaiting his chance. This other Miliband would a disaster for the party, and keep Labour where Tony Blair positioned it.

It’s half-time until the 2015 election and Labour are 3-0 down. Ed had better pull his socks up.

3 thoughts on “The Left Still Has a Leadership Crisis

  1. Is it any wonder that the public don’t support Europe when we have had 30 years of a predominantly anti-Europe or Eurosceptic press. When I start listening to the Mail on Sunday or the Daily Mail, it will be the day to give up. Do we support capital punishment because it is what a majority of voters are said to want?
    Where I do agree is that the Labour leadership is too cautious and not taking a lead as they should. However, Labour does not perform on an even playing field either. Ed M did take a chance over the phone hacking scandal. I, like countless others on the Left, want him to express a clear view/policy on Europe. We need to get behind Ed and tell him what we think as neo-liberalism is not going to be overthrown in the near future and the voters will not understand that argument.

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    • The point here is while the poll was in The Mail on Sunday, it was done by a bona fida polling company, and the results are the same as other polling companies have produced.
      I have been very pro European myself in the past, and I always went down the line it is better stay, and it will get better if you are on the inside. But it has got only worse and worse.
      The economic controls in the accord David Cameron turned down are grossly undemocratic, and I could never support them. Europe already has a major democratic deficit that is unsustainable, in my opinion.
      Are you not fed up that Ed still needs to be told how his grass-roots feel about the major issues? In my book if he hasn’t got it now, after his years in the party and over a year as Leader, he never will.
      The people of the UK cannot wait until Ed discovers some moral courage. By then we will have a majority Conservative Government, and I dread to think what will left of what the British Electorate value, once the family silver has been sold off permanently.

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  2. Pauline, I agree with you that Ed Miliband and those on the left of the party should be supporting and encouraging Ed Miliband to be much more vocal in challenging the right of his own party, and the evil, antisocial policies of the Coalition. It is very unhelpful and, indeed destructive for members of the Labour Party to walk away from the people’s party and to attempt to split the left – this is playing into the Tories’ hands. Ed Miliband wants to pursue Green issues, and Think left supports such policies as in our statement. The Green Party may well contribute to the argument, but cannot form a government. Splitting and walking away from the people’s party and then criticising it from afar is pointless and ineffective. There are too many factions waiting for Ed to fail while giving no support. Working within the party is, in my view, the most effective way forward which is what I, and Think Left intend to do. This remains our aim and I believe the tide is beginning to turn leftwards. Come on Ed, Think Left is behind you.

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