Labour’s problems are chronic – is Miliband the answer?

For all Ed's warm words he has failed to articulate a vision for the country.

For all Ed’s warm words he has failed to articulate a vision for the country

To have one poll predicting near meltdown for Scottish Labour could be seen as a one off. To have two would begin to concern those at the wrong end of such poll. To have three looks like a worrying trend.

That is the position that Scottish Labour now faces north of the border this morning, going right to the heart of Ed Miliband’s problem.

Last week the political anoraks were considering polling carried out by Ipsos Mori for STV which, if replicated at next year’s General Election, would see the number of Scottish Labour MPs fall to just four as the SNP increase the number of seats they hold in Westminster to 54.

Then came a second  poll, this time by YouGov for the Times, which found that the SNP were actually only on course for 47 seats whilst Labour in Scotland faced being reduced to just 10 seats in Westminster.

Now comes the news that the poor polling Labour has seen in Scotland is becoming an unhealthy trend. According to the latest data, compiled by Panelbase for the pro-independence ‘Wings over Scotland’ blog, excluding don’t knows, when asked how Scottish voters would vote in the General Election, 45 per cent said the SNP, 28 per cent said Labour, 15 per cent said Conservatives, 7 per cent said UKIP, 3 per cent the Lib Dems and just 1 per cent said Green.

According to the Electoral Calculus website this would reduce Scottish Labour to just 13 MPs, whilst the SNP would up their representation to 46 on the basis of a uniform swing.

The numbers will heap further pressure on Ed Miliband with rumblings continuing over his leadership and hopefully serve as a wakeup call.

Faced with such pressure, Miliband and his team ought to admit to themselves that there is a substantial problem and recognise that for all the warm words he has failed to articulate a clear vision for the country.

Yesterday’s denial that there is a problem looks and sound unbelievable and gives the impression of the old style politician who will just sail on regardless of what everyone knows, namely that Labour is in deep trouble.

‘Predatory capitalism’, ‘One Nation Labour’ and the notion of standing up again vested interests have all at one stage or another featured in the language employed by the Labour leader, but on each occasion it has been followed by a deafening silence. What do these words actually mean?

Writing in the Guardian this morning, the former chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party Lord Soley notes wisely that “Labour’s problem is not so much its individual policies as the lack of an overall vision and a sense of direction for the country.”

He’s right. But sadly, as someone who enthusiastically supported Ed Miliband for the leadership of the party I have to admit that he has failed on this count and with six months to go until polling day, Labour’s fortunes look unlikely to change sufficiently to get Ed into Downing Street.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

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6 Responses to “Labour’s problems are chronic – is Miliband the answer?”

  1. robertcp

    Labour’s problems are at least party due to the decline of the two-party system and Labour is still in the lead in most polls. It is clear, however, that Labour will lose seats in Scotland to the SNP. This will probably mean that Labour cannot get an overall majority but a majority government with about 35% of the vote would have little legitimacy in any case. The Tories are also unlikely to get a majority, so the most important issue in 2015 might be whether the smaller parties keep the Tories or Labour in power.

  2. swat

    No. Ed hasn’t the requisite skills.
    He should put Party before personal ambition.

  3. Theduckman

    Labour is going to lose this election. And the one after that. And the one after that. Until the demographic changes mean that Labour will use the ethnic minority vote to cruise over the line. To be honest Labour has failed to offer any credible change in the last 20 years. But hey that is british first past the post for ya!

  4. Mr G

    Stop whining, whingers, Ed is the man for the job. He has led the party well, he is a decent, honourable bloke who understands the economic problems Britain faces. He gets the problems inequality brings and stands up to the bullies and tyrants like no one before him in modern times. It is the Daily Mail and right wing press that people should be criticizing and shame on those Labour MPs who are feeding them with gossip and drivel. As Ed says It is nonsense and we have much more important matters to be dealing with.

  5. Sparky

    Miliband is finished. I wonder what he’ll do outside politics, because he’s never actually done anything else, has he? Then again, he doesn’t need to work -he’s a millionaire. Man of the people.

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