Consistent David Cameron critic Simon Heffer suggests in this morning's Telegraph that the next Labour leader "could find himself prime minister within a year" - and suggests Ed Miliband is the favourite.
Consistent David Cameron critic Simon Heffer suggests in this morning’s Telegraph that the next Labour leader “could find himself prime minister within a year” – and suggests Ed Miliband is the favourite. Also in today’s Telegraph, Toby Young suggests Ed Miliband is the favourite, and “would prove a more formidable opponent to David Cameron than either his older brother or Ed Balls, not least because he’d unite the Party”.
Better news for David Miliband from this morning’s Mirror, however, which reports the findings of two polls putting him top, yesterday’s YouGov survey (in which he polled 22% compared to 9% for his brother) and, more significantly, a Comres poll of 135 business leaders, in which 51 (38%) declared he was “the greatest threat to the coalition Government“.
Heffer says the victor “will present a real challenge to the Coalition”, writing:
“I have never set foot in a bookmaker’s in my life, but were I that sort of person, I would be seeing what odds I could get on Ed Miliband’s being prime minister this time next year…
“Whoever wins – and, at the hustings, the benign mood towards Miliband E is at the moment palpable, precisely because of his low profile during the Brown terror – it will signal a proper re-engagement of political battle, the end of the Government’s extended honeymoon, and the presentation of the first real challenges to the Coalition.
“The planned constitutional reforms will be the stumbling block for the Government, and should be the new leader’s prime target, even more than the economic strictures… If the Lib Dems are disappointed, they will start calculating when best to end the arrangement and distance themselves from the Tories to avoid obliteration.
“That is why a leader of the Labour Party with more box office appeal than Gordon Brown could find himself prime minister within a year. And that is why this leadership contest, by which so many of us have quite understandably decided to be bored, is actually rather important.”
While Young writes:
“Another cause for alarm [for the Coalition] is that the ‘disapprovers’ have coalesced around Labour when the Party is rudderless…
“As regular readers of this blog will know, my money’s on Ed Miliband – provided Ed Balls is eliminated before him, he’ll likely pick up enough second preferences to see him finishing ahead of his brother. Miliband Jr would prove a more formidable opponent to David Cameron than either his older brother or Ed Balls, not least because he’d unite the Party.
“The combination of deeply unpopular spending cuts, a newly-energised Labour Party and a looming constitutional crisis will present the Coalition with a perfect storm. This time next year, expect David Cameron to be fighting for his political life.”
And Peter Hoskin, of The Spectator, also wrote earlier this month on the ‘Daily Beast’ website that Ed Miliband seemed favourite to win:
“The longer this set-up prevails, the more it suits Ed Miliband. A Harvard graduate and student of Larry Summers, he is actively pursuing a similar strategy to Barack Obama’s against Hillary Clinton in 2008: rhetorical rather than political, the (relatively) new kid on the block against a remnant from the weary past.
“And there are signs that the momentum is snowballing behind him. The latest expectation is that the two most influential trade unions will lend their support to the younger Miliband. This is by no means a sure sign that he will win out in the end, but, given Labour’s arcane voting system where the unions have a third of the votes, such interventions could still prove decisive.
“One thing is certain: the situation is trickier for David Miliband than it was before his brother entered the race. Even his closest supporters fear that Ed may win. But let’s forget that for now, and just look forward to some bloody fratricide over the summer. Labour traditionally disembowels itself after losing power, and the process is seldom edifying—but it never fails to entertain.”
Yesterday, the Left Foot Forward model showed the Milibands to be neck and neck in the race for the Labour leadership; we will have reaction to our model later this week.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.