Politics.co.uk Blog

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Miliband's plans to 'regenerate' Labour

Ever since Ed Miliband won the Labour leadership we've been trying to work out whether he will reflect the rhetoric of his campaign and march his party off to the left. Now we have our first real clue as to his plans for Labour's future.

His leader's speech in Manchester didn't clear up this question, providing material to please both the centre-left and the left-left of the party.

His allocation of shadow Cabinet roles wasn't very revealing, either. Perhaps focusing on unity rather than clarity, Miliband balanced his team with supporters of his own and backers of his elder brother. No insight there, then, into his longer-term plans.

At a soiree with lobby journalists earlier this week Her Majesty's leader of the opposition all but admitted this was a very deliberate strategy. "Being in opposition is different to being in government," he said, explaining that Labour would not make their position clear immediately.

The frankness is refreshing, even if it does mean we will have to wait a little longer to find out where Miliband really stands.

Or maybe we don't. Backroom staff close to the Labour leader are suggesting that, by the end of Miliband's first 100 days, he will have revealed his direction of travel much more clearly.

Miliband is set to emphatically rule out a shift to the left. It doesn't matter that the unions got him over the line; Miliband will attempt to redefine the centre-left instead. New Labour, like Doctor Who, will regenerate into a new political party without different emphases and sensibilities – but occupying exactly the same political territory which won Tony Blair three terms in power.

(Whether this is possible, or mere semantics, is beyond this particular writer. Politicians' reinventions are always tortuous processes, but this one sounds agonising).

Miliband's '100 days' milestone, by the way, fall round about January 4th. So don't be surprised if Labour's first full year in opposition kicks off with a major speech clarifying that Ed is a man with a centre-left plan.

No comments:

Post a Comment