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Posts Tagged ‘Ed Miliband’

IMAGE Inom Labour är Tony Blair numera näst intill hatad. Det är lite märkligt med tanke på att han är partiets mest framgångsrika premiärminister.

William Hague and Tony Blair

Han står idag i bjärt kontrast till sina efterföljare på partiledarposten. Vare sig Gordon Brown eller Ed Miliband lyckades leva upp till förväntningarna.

William Hague, tidigare partiledare (1997-2001) för Conservative Party, förklarar i The Telegraph hur det var att ha honom som huvudmotståndare och vad det var som gjorde Blair så framgångsrik.

Det är svårt att se den nyvalde partiledaren Jeremy Corbyn kommer att ta någon notis om Hagues lärdomar.

In late 1997, having rather rashly taken on the job of Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, I discussed with the new prime minister, Tony Blair, which of us had the most difficult job. “You have,” he said, without a moment’s doubt.

Blair was right. And that job was doubly more difficult because it was one pitched every day against him, the most formidable electoral opponent the Conservative Party has faced in its entire history. Before him, Labour had only twice since its foundation won a decisive majority; with him it did so three times in a row.

Although he is despised in Labour’s current leadership election, Blair was a Tory leader’s worst nightmare: appealing to the swing voter and reassuring to the Right-leaning, it was hard to find a square on the political chessboard on which he did not already sit. When people told me I did well at Prime Minister’s Questions, I knew I had to, since I had very little else going for me at all – I had to raise the morale of Conservatives each Wednesday to get them through the frustration and impotence of every other day of the week.

Blair courted business leaders and Right-wing newspapers, often to great effect. He was a Labour leader who loved being thought to be a secret Tory, a pro-European who was fanatical in support for the United States, a big spender who kept income taxes down, an Anglican who let it be known he wanted to be a Catholic and regularly read the Koran. He could be tough or soft or determined or flexible as necessary and shed tears if needed, seemingly at will. To the political law that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time he added Blair’s law – that you can make a very serious attempt at it.

This was the human election-winning machine against which some of us dashed ourselves, making the Charge of the Light Brigade look like a promising manoeuvre by comparison. Yet now, only eight years after he left the scene he dominated, his party’s election is conducted with scorn for the most successful leader they ever had.

Bild: Utrikesminister William Hague och Tony Blair 2010.  Foto från The Office of Tony Blair

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Election 2015

The country went to the polls. David Cameron, the Conservative leader, prepared by going around with his sleeves rolled up. Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, said that his pledges had been cut into an eight-foot slab of limestone. Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, took a bus for John O’Groats.

The Spectator sammanfattar veckan när Storbritannien gick till val.

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VAL 2015 | The Economist gav premiärminister David Cameron sitt stöd inför valet. Men det var inte ett helt självklart.

The Economist May 2nd-8th 2015

Även om det inte blev ett val mellan pest och kolera så var det åtminstone en fråga om ett val mellan två långtifrån perfekta alternativ.

Åtminstone när det gäller två frågor som den över etthundra år gamla tidskriften anser som centrala inför framtiden. Frågor där David Camerons Conservative Party och Ed Milibands Labour skiljer sig åt.

På omslaget hade man kokat ner alternativen till följande: ”Risk the economy or risk Europe”. I ledaren förklarar man sitt ställningstagande:

If the stakes are high, the trade-offs are uncomfortable, at least for this newspaper. Our fealty is not to a political tribe, but to the liberal values that have guided us for 172 years. We believe in the radical centre: free markets, a limited state and an open, meritocratic society. These values led us to support Labour’s Tony Blair in 2001 and 2005. In 2010 we endorsed David Cameron, the Tory leader, seeing in him a willingness to tackle a yawning budget deficit and an ever-expanding state.

Five years on, the choice has become harder. The Tories’ Europhobia, which we regretted last time, could now do grave damage. A British exit from the EU would be a disaster, for both Britain and Europe. Labour and the Liberal Democrats are better on this score. But such is the suspicion many Britons feel towards Brussels that a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU is probably inevitable at some point. And we believe that the argument can be won on its merits.

The Lib Dems share our welcoming attitude towards immigrants and are keen to reform the voting system. But they can at most hope to be the junior partner in a coalition. The electorate, and this newspaper, therefore face a choice between a Conservative-dominated government and a Labour-dominated one. Despite the risk on Europe, the better choice is Mr Cameron’s Conservatives.

[…]

Mr Miliband is fond of comparing his progressivism to that of Teddy Roosevelt, America’s trustbusting president. But the comparison is false. Rather than using the state to boost competition, Mr Miliband wants a heavier state hand in markets—which betrays an ill-founded faith in the ingenuity and wisdom of government. Even a brief, limited intervention can cast a lasting pall over investment and enterprise—witness the 75% income-tax rate of France’s president, François Hollande. The danger is all the greater because a Labour government looks fated to depend on the SNP, which leans strongly to the left.

On May 7th voters must weigh the certainty of economic damage under Labour against the possibility of a costly EU exit under the Tories. With Labour, the likely partnership with the SNP increases the risk. For the Tories, a coalition with the Lib Dems would reduce it. On that calculus, the best hope for Britain is with a continuation of a Conservative-led coalition. That’s why our vote is for Mr Cameron.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Economist, 2-8 maj 2015.

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VAL 2015 | I en intervju med BBC:s Andrew Marr lyckades David Cameron på ett mycket kraftfullt sätt förklara faran med SNP. När han fick tala till punkt vill säga.

Vad premiärministern sade var bland annat följande:

[T]his would be the first time in our history that a group of nationalists from one part of our country would be involved in altering the direction of the government of our country, and I think that is a frightening prospect, for people thinking in their own constituencies is that bypass going to be built, will my hospital get the money it needs? Frankly, this is a group of people that wouldn’t care about what happened in the rest of the country. The rest of the United Kingdom, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, wouldn’t get a look in and that’s the prospect that we face if we don’t get the majority Conservative government that is in our reach.

[…]

[T]here is a fundamental difference when you have a group of nationalists that want to be involved in the government of a country which they don’t want to belong to. So you have to ask yourself, if you’re a voter in England or Wales or in Northern Ireland, would these people care at all about what happens in my life and my constituency?

[…]

They have every right as members of Parliament, but they do have a fundamentally different approach to any other Member of parliament, which is they don’t believe in the Westminster Parliament, they don’t believe in the United Kingdom, they wouldn’t be coming to Westminster to help our country; they’re coming to Westminster to break up our country and what Ed Miliband needs to do is rule out any sort arrangement because otherwise you’re not only putting not only about the money…

Valet har utvecklats till det mest svårbedömda på många år. En anledning är att det inte längre bara handlar om de stora giganterna Conservative Party och Labour.

I år kommer även valresultatet för UKIP och SNP avgöra vem som som får bilda regering. Om det sedan dessutom måste till en ny koalitionsregering blir läget än mer komplicerat.

Nigel Farages möjligheter att locka väljare från de konservativa kan bli avgörande för om Cameron kommer att kunna få ihop nog med mandat för en majoritetsregering. En nästintill omöjlig uppgift även utan hotet från UKIP.

Samtidigt ser det ut som om separatistiska Scottish National Party skulle kunna utplåna Labour i Skottland.

Hur har det blivit så här? Tittar man historiskt har de två stora partierna bara sig själva att skylla sig själva.

I februarinumret av History Today skriver dess redaktör, Paul Lay, om hur partiet straffade ut sig i Skottland under Margaret Thatchers tid.

[F]or most Britons, the swinging sixties only got going in the 1979s and 1980s; Thatcherism was as much a democratization of the permissiveness and self-love of 1960s elites as it was an attempt to turn back the clocks. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that a more cautious, less individualistic Scotland turned its back on a Conservative party that appeared to want to conserve little.

När Labour inte längre behövde konkurrera med de konservativa i norr blev man lata och självbelåtna.

Fraser Nelson, chefredaktör The Spectator, skriver i Axess:

Först kom 1997 års konservativa kollaps i Skottland, som verkade vidarebefordra hegemonin till Labour. Efter tio år av vunna val utan kamp blev Labour lata. Partiapparaten började gynna sina egna pampar; före detta chaufförer och portföljbärare ärvde säkra mandat. När Donald Dewar, Skottlands före detta försteminister, avled ställde hans före detta kontorschef upp i hans ställe. Labour kunde ha letat efter framtida begåvningar: istället ville man ha lydiga jasägare som garanterat skulle rösta rätt.

I stora delar av Skottland vägde man hellre än räknade Labours röster – partiet brydde sig inte om att värva röster, eller registrera väljare, eller ta hand om lokala partiföreträdare. Skotska Labours strategi gick ut på att säga ”vi hatar de konservativa” – och det fungerade under 1990-talet. Budskapet började bli lite väl lätt att genomskåda under 00-talet. Efter 2010 har det fullkomligt förlorat sin dragningskraft: skottarna slutade att uppfatta konservatismen som ett enda ont. Att rösta på de konservativa ses numera som en harmlös perversion, ungefär som transvestism eller cricket. Att hata de konservativa räckte inte för att bära upp Labour. Men detta blev inte uppenbart förrän under valkampanjen inför folkomröstningen, då en stor del av skotska Labours väljare gick över till jasidan, lockade av det kraftfulla och effektiva budskapet från nationalisterna.

Dessa avhopp i parti och minut från skotska Labour till SNP:s famn är sannerligen egendomliga – separatisterna fantiserar fortfarande om att styra tillsammans med Labour i en koalition. Deras företrädare talar nu om ”chansen att återställa den allmänna hälso- och sjukvården i England till vad den en gång var” – med andra ord, en återställare av de marknadsinriktade reformerna under Tony Blairs år. Det är åtminstone teorin. Men den allians som SNP behöver nu är mellan Nicola Sturgeon, dess nya ledare, och David Cameron. Hon har uteslutit en koalition med de svekfulla konservativa, men ändå behöver hon honom mer än någon annan politiker i Storbritannien. Om hon får välja vem hon skulle installera i Downing Street i maj så skulle hon välja honom.

Så där har vi det. De två statsbärande partierna i Storbritannien har med en kombination av likgiltighet och självgodhet gjort sig mer eller mindre omöjliga i Skottland.

Inte konstigt att valet ser ut att bli en rysare.

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VAL 2015 | För en månad sedan publicerades en översiktsplan över vem som sitter var i Ed Milibands stridsledningscentral. Härifrån dirigerar Labour sin valkampanj.

Labour war room 2015

Strategerna i partiet tror att man är överlägsna Conservative Party när det gäller att knacka dörr och träffa väljare öga mot öga.

Patrick Wintour, political editor på tidningen The Guardian som också publicerade översiktsbilden, skrev om partiets strategi som skall besegra de konservativa.

The fate of the party may lie in this open-plan room. Such war rooms, made famous by the US Democrats in the 1990s, are essentially about information mobility. They have been described as “catalysts for decision-making”.

The aim is to get information to the people who need it in real time and by having the decision-makers all in one place to make sure the strategic decisions turn into reality in both the campaign “ground war” and “air war”. That is more than a battle for the hourly news cycle, but what is happening on doorsteps and on social media such as Facebook.

[…]

In terms of a traditional air war – a hostile media environment in which Labour can probably hope at best to scrape a draw – Labour strategists believe they have been competitive. One official said: “Any party has to bury its negatives and accentuate its positives. The Conservatives have done the opposite.”

[…]

Labour hopes its strength lies with its ground war. Miliband himself this week described the Conservative party as a “virtual party. It is a Lynton Crosby hologram” [referring to the party’s election campaign chief].

Labour reckons it has a competitive advantage in its activist base and is well on course to deliver on its target to hold 4m doorstep conversations. By this weekend it will have reached 2.5m, and its field team reckons in marginal seats it was getting out more material than the Tories.

Some independent evidence to confirm this advantage exists. As ConservativeHome, a Conservative website, pointed out this week, Ashcroft polling showed in 10 key marginals that Labour, according to voter recall, was now leading the Tories in contacts with voters. The average increase in the share of voters contacted by Tory campaigns in the 10 key seats is 35 percentage points, while the same figure for Labour campaigns is almost 55 percentage points.

Bild: The Guardian.

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VAL 2015 | Ed Miliband kan bli Storbritanniens nästa premiärminister. Detta trots att han knappast har imponerat under sin tid som partiledare för Labour.

The Spectator 11 april 2015

Skämten har varit många på hans bekostnad. Det har handlat om allt ifrån hur han äter en baconsmörgås till att han glömde viktiga delar i sitt eget tal.

Ett av de roligare skämten är Miliband och Ed Balls, trolig finansminister vid en valseger, som politikens Wallace & Gromit.

Trots detta ligger Labour och Conservative Party nästa lika i opinionsundersökningarna. Och, vilket är minst lika viktigt, har han inte gjort några större misstag under pågående valkampanj.

Dan Hodges, som tidigare jobbat både för både partiet och inom fackföreningsrörelsen, tecknar bilden av Miliband och vad som händer om det blir han som får träda innanför dörren till 10 Downing Street efter valet den 7 maj.

One thing happens immediately. In that instant, he divests himself of his biggest negative. The perception that Ed Miliband simply does not look like a prime minister dies. The bacon sandwiches, the otherworldliness, the lonely sojourns on Hampstead Heath — they no longer matter. Within an hour, the analysts who spent the past year mocking him will start to talk about his resilience under pressure, his single-mindedness, the bold new direction in which Britain will go. This is how punditry works; all victories (and defeats) are retrospectively declared inevitable. He has the part, so by definition he looks the part.

So is he ready to play it? The Conservative party has built an entire election strategy on the assumption that the British people will answer that question with a resounding no. But Miliband would enter Downing Street with more experience then any newly elected prime minister of the past 35 years. Tony Blair had no hands-on knowledge of life inside government at any level. David Cameron had worked as an adviser but held no ministerial post. Ed Miliband has done both, as Environment Secretary and as a senior adviser at the Treasury. He understands how Whitehall works.

Speak to anyone who is in regular contact with Labour’s leader, and they all agree he is only too ready to embrace the top job. ‘He’s absolutely convinced he’s been pre-ordained for some big historical mission,’ one senior shadow cabinet member told me. ‘Don’t ask me what the hell it is. But he genuinely believes that.’ Another — rather less charitably — said, ‘Just because you think a lot it doesn’t necessarily make you a great thinker. Ed’s problem is that he regards himself as a great thinker. And he isn’t.’

Great thinker or not, allies confirm Prime Minister Miliband would call time on the ‘chillaxing’ culture that has come to define David Cameron’s management of Downing Street. One friend says, ‘He gets up early, and he’s into the media planning. Then it’s into meetings, and they’re scheduled back to back. The office will build in a bit of downtime, but then he won’t take it.’ Admirable as this is, it can create a problem. ‘You need space to sit back and breathe. Over the past five years Ed hasn’t had that. And if he gets into Downing Street I only see things getting worse.’

And here resides the paradox. As one aide explains, ‘The thing you have to understand about Ed Miliband is that his strengths are also his weaknesses.’ Speak to anyone who has worked at any level in Labour’s operation and they will praise their leader’s intellectual inquisitiveness, his empathy and his inclusiveness. But there is one other thing they all agree on: his congenital indecisiveness.

[…]

His critics, with equal justification, point to the fact that Miliband’s lack of strategic thinking and numerous tactical blunders are what leave him constantly backed into corners in the first place. ‘Yes, I suppose he would be good at dealing with the 3 a.m. call,’ says one former shadow minister, ‘so long as he remembers to plug in the phone, can find the phone and doesn’t drop the phone when he tries to pick it up.’

Which brings us back to that Prime Minister Miliband paradox. He thinks, but he also over-thinks. He listens, but he cannot decide. He fights hard, but finds himself fighting on too many fronts simultaneously.

But one thing cannot be denied: Labour has, as a party, held together. Traditionally, it disembowels itself after losing office. Under Miliband, this has not happened. According to one shadow cabinet member, this may be Miliband’s greatest accomplishment.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator den 11 april 2015.

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VAL 2015 | Inte för att det märks i svensk media men nästa månad går Storbritannien till val.

The Spectator 10 January 2015

Trots att det förväntas bli en strid på kniven har vare sig partiledarna eller de etablerade partierna direkt imponerat så här långt.

Bilden på ovan säger allt om hur David Cameron, Ed Miliband och Nick Clegg uppfattas ha förvaltat sin tid vid makten alternativt i opposition.

Conservative Party borde vid det här laget knappat in betydligt mer på Labour än vad man gjort. Och till skillnad från de andra partiledarna är Miliband mer ett ankare än en tillgång för Labour

Liberal Democrats har i och med sin medverkan i regeringskoalitionen inte längre fördel av att kunna välja och vraka vad man skall ta ansvar för. Med regeringsmakten följer ansvar även för mindre populära beslut.

Även det parti som vinner förväntas göra det med så små marginaler att det kommer att kräva ännu en koalition för att kunna skapa en stabil regering. Och koalitioner är inget man i uppskattar i landet.

James Forsyth, The Spectator, skriver partiernas utmaningar:

Cameron is busy prophesying economic chaos if Labour wins; Miliband is warning that the NHS won’t survive in its current form if the Tories get back in. Nick Clegg, meanwhile, is volunteering to be either the Tories’ heart or Labour’s spine — and stressing that he’s not picky about which. He can’t afford to be. His party could lose half its seats.

As they criss-cross the country, Cameron and Miliband are both spurred on by a fear of failure. Defeat for either of them would almost certainly mark the end of their political career. Cameron’s political life would be over before he was 50. He would be remembered as the man who couldn’t beat Gordon Brown and lost to Ed Miliband. His modernisation programme would be dismissed as an outright failure and his friends and allies would be forced out of positions of influence in the Tory party.

[…]

Whoever ends up in Downing Street in May will be the weakest prime minister in living memory. They will be forced to implement the most difficult half of the austerity programme with a slim to nonexistent parliamentary majority at a time when traditional party discipline is breaking down in the House of Commons.

The best that either party can hope for is the narrowest of outright victories, even smaller than the 21-seat margin that John Major ground out in 1992. Both Cameron and Miliband face the prospect of governing with very little wriggle room.

If Miliband ends up in No. 10 with a tiny majority, he will still find himself having to impose swingeing spending cuts — something his party is just not prepared for. He can’t simply assume that Labour MPs will support a Labour PM. One of the great myths about the Tony Blair years is the idea that Labour MPs blithely went along with whatever he wanted. They didn’t — but his majorities were so large that he could overcome even sizeable rebellions.

Miliband won’t be so lucky. In Blair’s first term, there were several major revolts. In 1997, 47 Labour MPs voted against government plans to cut lone parent benefits, and another 100 abstained. In 1998, 31 rebelled on plans to introduce tuition fees. In 1999, 53 opposed changes to incapacity benefit. In 2000, 37 tried to block the privatisation of air traffic control. Any comparable rebellion would sink Miliband. To make matters worse for him, he will have to implement policies that are far less appealing to the parliamentary Labour party than the Blairite reforms. Can you really imagine the Campaign Group of Labour MPs voting to continue the public–sector pay freeze?

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator, 10 januari 2015.

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