Ed Miliband could be Prime Minister of the UK next year. Or that’s the narrative from his advisors. Given the unpopularity of the coalition government Miliband’s performance as Labour Party leader has been uninspiring.
Media mumblings hint that Alan Johnson is happy to take on the leadership, which would be a positive change. But Johnson has denies any such interest.
The Liberals Democrats dramatic fall in the polling figures has not reflected in any growing support for Labour. The onus on such poor polling figures rest with Miliband.
So who could replace Ed?
Despite Ed’s leadership failings the problem for Labour is that the talent pool in the shadow cabinet and on the back-benches is thing. It is hard to think of a single shadow cabinet minister who has consistently impressed during their time in opposition.
Some of the younger MPs have built a public profile with mixed results so far. Such as Stella Creasy and Chuka Umunna. Creasy campaigned passionately against scrupulous legal loan sharks. I felt she deserves a much more substantial portfolio than the crime prevention post.
Umunna is one of the few MPs to take on UKIP’s Nigel Farage in a way that Ed seems ill-equipped to do effectively. Umunna has been one of Labour’s better performers on “Question Time” or “Any Questions” – programmes which launched Farage to where he is today in the public’s psyche Although Chuka’s recent backing of Ed Miliband was…well.
This leaves the options to the likes of-
- Harriet Harman – deputy leader since 2007 but never brave enough to challenge for the leadership.
- Yvette Cooper – has a habit of waffling on to simple questions. Which can be a turn off to the average voter. Effective at the despatch box but has struggled to land any telling blows on Home Secretary, Theresa May.
- Ed Balls (Mr Yvette Cooper) – a polarising figure within his own party much less the wider electorate.
- Alan Johnson – one of the few former Labour Ministers whose reputation seems to be intact. Some might say at 64 he may be too old.
Gordon Brown’s performance as Prime Minister was shocking. He lacked the ability to engage with the electorate in a humane manner – similar to Ed Miliband’s problem. Neither Brown nor Miliband are good listeners and both lack genuine empathy with the public.
Labour ministers knew the chances of winning the 2010 elections under Brown were slim. Some in Brown’s cabinet wanted him gone before the 2010 elections. But the then plotters caved in at the last minute leaving the likes of James Purnell to walk away in frustration.
Labour MPs cannot afford to make the same dithering mistake again with the current leader. Alan Johnson has the right credentials, temperament and authority to take on Nick Clegg, Farage and David Cameron. Supported by someone like Andy Burnham as his deputy. This duo could win back those Labour voters who abstained or voted Liberal Democrats at the last general election..
If all fails Ed should take a lesson from Kevin Keegan who said after resigning as England’s football manager ‘I am not the man to take it a stage further and I know that.”