I am both attracted and repulsed by politics, in almost equal degrees, and hence try to remain in the loop yet non-partisan. That's me. I'm by no means an apologist for the Labour Party, but I couldn't help having these few reflections since Ed Miliband was elected as party leader yesterday:
i. This is the party of Keir Hardy, Ramsey MacDonald, Aneurin Bevan, Roy Jenkins, Barbara Castle, Dennis Skinner and so on. I feel quite sorry that they effectively had to choose between Ed Balls and the Milibandii. Not exactly inspiring options.
ii. Some Labour MPs got to vote FOUR times: once as an MP; once as a Party member; once as a union member; and once through affiliated organisations (eg. the Fabians). That's just ridiculous.
iii. Anyone in the country could have voted: registering for party membership (at the bargain price of £1 introductory offer) remained open all the way until Sept 8. In the other parties, only those registered on the day the election is announced are eligible.
iv. The only Labour leaders to have won general elections since the War have been Atlee, Wilson, and Blair. If Ed Miliband turns out to be of their ilk, I will be very surprised.
v. The fact that Ed Miliband was not the majority choice of Labour MPs or of Party members (he won via union support) will completely undermine his authority as leader. He'll be pushed and pulled all over the place by his own party, let alone the Coalition.
Adding it all up then, if this parliament does last until 2015 before there's another election, I doubt that Ed Miliband will still be the Labour leader then. Although I actually quite like him.