First thoughts on Ed Miliband’s election as Labour leader

Here are some first thoughts on what Ed Miliband’s wafer-thin election victory in the contest to lead Labour might mean…

1. He’s going to have to work hard to prove he’s his own man. There’s no doubt the right-wing press and the Conservatives will do all they can to show Ed Miliband is little more than a puppet of the unions, given he won Labour’s electoral college thanks to the votes of trade unionists, having lost the vote among party members and MPs/MEPs. The pressure will be on for him to show he can stand up to union power or risk letting that impression be cemented among the public.

2. The blogs and pollsters called it right. Congratulations are due to Left Foot Forward and YouGov for managing, quite remarkably, accurately to predict the result of such a close contest in a complicated electoral system. Mike Smithson at PoliticalBetting stuck his neck out to tip Ed as a result. Indeed, it was ironic watching the BBC coverage this afternoon to hear Nick Robinson call the result for David Miliband at exactly the same time as LFF’s Will Straw tweeted that Ed was now a “dead cert”. It just showed how specialist knowledge of an organisation can often trump the broadcasters’ generalism.

3. Ed Miliband’s election could be good for progressive causes. Ed Miliband is a strong suppoter of the alternative vote: “Yes. I am in favour of AV and will campaign for it if there is a referendum.” He is also in favour of equal marriage for LGBT, a policy formally adopted by the Lib Dems this week: “I want to see heterosexual and same-sex partnerships put on an equal basis and a Labour Party that I lead will campaign to make gay marriage happen.” Not only is this right in principle, but the common cause it will forment across the currently bitter Lib/Lab divide might also usher in a slightly more grown-up discourse between the two parties.

4. David Miliband’s stock will now rise, which makes him a powerful figure within Labour. The older Miliband brother clearly won the leadership contest among Labour members, and among the ranks of MPs/MEPs; yet he lost. As the rapturous applause for Gordon Brown showed, Labour loves a dignified loser, and no-one can have failed to have been impressed by David’s poise as this personally devastating result was announced today. Moreover, he fought the campaign on his own terms: he could’ve tacked left, he could’ve made glib promises to the unions, yet he refused. It may have been bad politics, naive campaigning — but it will have earned him the respect of many in and beyond the Labour party.

5. Ed’s first priority now must be to come up with a credible economic policy. Much will hinge on his choice of shadow chancellor. If it’s David, then we can expect a more centrist Labour opposition, attacking specific Coalition measures but recognising Labour would’ve also had to make unpopular decisions. If it’s Ed Balls (or Yvette Cooper), it will suggest Ed’s strong backing for all-out attack on the Coalition in favour of avoiding cuts and a much slower deficit reduction plan.

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56 Comments

  • John Fraser 25th Sep '10 - 7:47pm

    Interesting and balanced article >Hope for more like this in the future on Lib dem Voice

  • Anthony Aloysius St 25th Sep '10 - 7:52pm

    “Indeed, it was ironic watching the BBC coverage this afternoon to hear Nick Robinson call the result for David Miliband at exactly the same time as LFF’s Will Straw tweeted that Ed was now a “dead cert”.”

    Robinson would have done better to keep quiet for a few minutes, but in fact he was careful to say that he _wasn’t_ “calling” the contest for David Miliband.

  • Better, but not really your ‘first thoughts’ are they? Those would be the ones you posted at 5pm, banging on about a union ‘bloc vote’, that the unions would expect Ed to be grateful and it wasn’t a good thing for Labour or the country.

    Still, I guess everyone was overtaken by a bit of knee-jerk hysteria at that point.

    Better, but not really your ‘first thoughts’ are they? Those would be the ones you posted at 5, banging on about a union ‘bloc vote’, that the unions would expect Ed to be grateful and it wasn’t a good thing for Labour or the country.

    This bit made me laugh though:

    “There’s no doubt the right-wing press and the Conservatives will do all they can to show Ed Miliband is little more than a puppet of the unions”

    as if LDV hasn’t already joined in such a portrayal!

  • Linda Jack –

    I’m not sure I can accept your assertion that omov would have given EM victory.

    The only section that was omov was the CLP section, which DM won.

    Within the TU/affiliate section we have no way of knowing how many were 2nd (or even 3rd or 4th) votes; or were people who should not have had a vote!

    Agree with you re the position of MPs/MEPs however.

  • Nick Robinson could do with shutting up more, full stop…

  • paul barker 25th Sep '10 - 8:17pm

    Linda Jack makes a fair point, MrEd won the members vote fair & square, the ludicrous Union vote only serving to balance the even worse MPs vote.
    There were some odd comments in the very overheated reactions to Steven Talls earlier article, some Labourites claiming that membership of an affiliated Union has equal value to Party membership, giving a total Labour membership of 3 or 4 Million. Its that confusion about what a Party is that makes Labour such a roadblock to progress.

  • paul barker 25th Sep '10 - 8:31pm

    OOps, sorry, Mr Ed was a close 2nd amon the members, about 45.5%.

  • While I’m not keen on kneejerk tribalist posts and prefer to try to engage with people on here from all parties, we have to accept that there are tribalists in our party as well as the others, and I would simply wonder, in response to the Labour members objecting to some of the posts on here, what sort of comments were posted by Labour tribalists on Labour Clarion, or whatever their equivalent of LDV is, after Nick Clegg was elected as leader of our party. I bet some of them were a bit less than respectful too.

  • I do find the electoral college slightly odd, but it’s mainly the MP/MEP bit. The concept that you have full members and affiliate members and that full members’ votes count for more doesn’t seem that strange. However, as a believer in mass participation in politics, I do fing it pleasing that well over 300,000 people voted in this election (compared to under 200,000 in David Cameron’s victory and just over 40,000 in Nick Clegg’s). Of course, it doesn’t compare with the number who vote in the X-Factor, but it’s a start.

  • Andrew Suffield 25th Sep '10 - 8:51pm

    Neat, that should be enough to get AV through.

    And can I just say I hate the way everyone treats trade union members as if they were aliens from Mars!

    It’s more that trade union bosses are corrupt plutocrats.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 25th Sep '10 - 9:14pm

    “And can I just say I hate the way everyone treats trade union members as if they were aliens from Mars!

    It’s more that trade union bosses are corrupt plutocrats.”

    Trades unionists are from Mars, trades union bosses are from Pluto. Where do politicians come from? Perhaps Uranus?

  • I’m most concerned over how this will affect the AV referendum. Ed has pledged to support it but any attack on the manner of his victory- and there will be many- is a side swipe at AV by extension. We shall have to wait and see how it shakes out.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 25th Sep '10 - 11:01pm

    I might as well give my first thoughts-

    “Yes!” was my first! I like David Miliband, but I think that Tony Blair’s book- in which he described David Miliband as the “New Labour” candidate who should have stood against Brown- made it impossible for me to vote for him. It was turned into a referendum on “New” Labour, and I’m glad that New Labour didn’t win, even if I’m less glad that David Miliband didn’t win, because I think he’s a formidable politician.

    It would be interesting to see how David Miliband’s second votes went. I imagine there would be enough of them to Ed Miliband that would have pushed him above 50% in all three categories. The fact that he didn’t reach David’s level of support in the MP/MEP and members sections- while he didn’t do badly by any stretch- doesn’t mean he wasn’t one of the ones they would have liked. I personally used all five preferences because I like all five candidates, for different qualities, and I think we’ll have a strong team. If David Miliband had been elected I wouldn’t have considered it to be against my wishes, even though I preferred Ed. I imagine plenty of Labour people used all of their votes.

  • Linda, you are right about people’s assumtioms concerning unions – it is harmful. However, people like Bob Crow bring a sad reaction from LDs as we are similarly vilified by the RMT.

  • It’s people like Bob Crow who shame the union movement, and over shadow the very good and civil minded work done quietly by (to use two I am vaguely familiar with) USDAW and the NASUWT, for example.

  • The election of Ed Milliband is terrible. For the first time in my life one of the major parties is led by someone younger than me. Oh, I feel old.
    More seriously, David is the Miliband you would pick if there was an election next month but Ed is probably the Miliband for moving Labour forward. I don’t think the initial Tory attack line that he is the creature of the unions will gain much purchase among the unaligned. I agree with Portillo that Ed is the most dangerous opponent for the coalition. The most obviously gifted politician of the current 3 leaders is Cameron but Ed is still largely an unknown quantity. He has tremendous opportunities and liabilities. On the one hand he is facing a Tory party that failed to gain a majority and is unlikely to do so in 2015 . It is as near an iron rule as you get in politics that govts lose support. Moreover it is highly unlikely the Osborne’s great gamble with the economy will be an unalloyed success. On the other hand Ed has a fairly toxic New Labour legacy to deal with. It will be fascinating to see what direction he takes Labour over the next year or so as the Coalition faces it’s first major tests. It may well be that the prospects for AV are better now than they were but it rather depends on what sort of leader he turns out to be.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 26th Sep '10 - 12:08am

    I think Liberals need to get it straight that unionists are allowed to hold opinions that you don’t. You seem to be a party of Hayekian fundamentalists who wish to see free markets… oh except for unions who must be restricted from making their voices heard or their actions felt.

  • Well yes. Maybe not the best terminology on my part. I was talking strictly about the actual workers representation side of things, and the way they go about it. As in, not ranting and raving and threatening and placing a premium for self-aggrandizement of leaders as the RMT do.

    As for political positions, I don’t why any Union should be involved in any way, aside from employment related things. But there you go.

  • Ryan A is Ryan M. Don’t know why I put my middle initial there.

  • Some pertinent text from a Telegraph blog:

    Ed Miliband has already opposed tens of billions of cuts and tax rises in the emergency Budget. The VAT rise, the emergency budget, changes to benefits, the pay freeze for higher paid people in the public sector… all told, it means that he would have to find £34 billion just to get back to the starting line.

    Furthermore, during the campaign he backed a “National Care Service”, high-speed rail, and a “living wage”. Hancock puts the bill for all this at £28 billion.

    Ed has proposed a £5 billion tax rise. But that still leaves him needing to set out £67 billion of alternative cuts just to stay on track with Alistair Darling’s plans.

    Actually, it’s even worse than that. The slower you cut spending, the more debt you get, the more interest you pay, and you end up having to cut by even more in the end.

    The scale of the cuts Ed would need if he keeps to his commitments is totally implausible.

    Ed now has to dig himself out of this hole or become an economic laughing stock.

  • @Geoffrey Payne

    “I welcome the balanced article to start this conversation.
    Lib Dems who think that Labour have scored a spectacular own goal, or that being “beholden to the unions” would make him unpopular simply look ridiculous.
    Ed Miliband’s “lurch to the left” largely consists in supporting Lib Dem policies past and present in the hope that Labour will recruit into it’s ranks people who previously would have joined the Lib Dems.
    We should not underestimate the impact that can have on us.”

    You’re right about that. As a Lib dem party member I know feel that Ed Miliband better represents the position that the Lib Dems campaigned upon at the last election than Nick CLegg does.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ll vote liberal if they oust Clegg and put someone who genuinely represents the majority of Lib Dem opinion, and doesn’t tell the centre left to get lost. Yet Ed Miliband seems to be more of a centre left liberal than Clegg was.

    The more that other Lib Dems simply put themselves in a state of denial and tell 10% (or more) of their voters to go away for being Labour party trolls (although I have always supported the Lib Dems… because I am a Liberal first and foremost…. but believes Liberalism is incompatible with conservatism and right-wing economics). the more likely it is that I will vote Ed next election.

    There is no way I could have voted for David, he din’t want to change the New Labour legacy. I still can’t help feeling that Ed is making a better effort to meet me halfway over my political views (fairly widely held, in my experience of other Lib Dems) than Clegg is.

  • And by the way MR Tall, this piece was good. I think you took a more balanced attitude than earlier. Whether or not Labour electing Ed will get the Lib Dems more votes Lib Dems should be happy that he was chosen over David.

    I still wouldn’t like this website of falling into the trap of what you predict the tabloids will do, i.e. paint Ed as a communist and in the pocket of the unions without any evidence yet. I suppose, however, it is difficult that the Liberal Democrats are going to have to ‘get dirty’ and put as much spin on Labour as possible…. all parties have to do it I suppose (even if Liberals consider themselves ‘above’ it).

    I think if Clegg is outed there will be a good case for a Lab/Lib coalition at the next election, and I will vote for this party if it moves back to its more traditional positions.

  • Talking of economic laughing stock:

    The slower you cut spending, the more debt you get, the more interest you pay, and you end up having to cut by even more in the end.

    If cutting spending was the only way to cut the deficit you may have a point. But it isn’t. There is a thing called growth, something we hear very little about from the LibDems or their Tory partners.

  • Even if Ed isn’t PM material (we shall have to see) I still think he is a good thing for Labour and therefore the centre left.

    David may have gotten Labour elected at the next election…. but at what cost? No break from New Labour, identical to Tory positions.

    Labour really need a break from both the old Labour and new Labour and I think Ed can do that. At the very least the Labour party will be heading in the right direction.

  • @MBoy

    I suspect Ed probably did speak some bullshit in opposing some of the cuts.

    But you can’t tell whether he just ‘opposed’ all of the cuts for say, welfare, or just opposed the severity of the cuts.

    I would suggest that the Telegraph, as usual,is trying to paint Labour as denying that any cuts in those sectors are necessary… thus the massive shortfall. It is more likely that Ed’s views wer emore nuanced (slippery?).

    Then they ignore the fact that you can make up the deficit both from progressive taxation and growth.

  • “Robinson should be in serious trouble from his bosses. Five minutes earlier, he made a dig at sky over calling the harman johnson vote wrong in 07, and went on to do the exact same thing. If he’dshut up, he’d have realised the second that burnham came in behind balls, that edmilli was gonna pip it. I can see him going in favour of kuensberg soon.”

    Robinson is clearly overrated. Not just that, but his Tory outlook is obvious without knowing anything about his personal life. He is one of those ‘skeptics’… people who laugh at politics but hold generally right-wing opinions and are Tories for pragmatic reasons.

  • Just two points for clarification…

    If I was a Labour MP/MEP, I would also (probably) be a Labour Party Member and (possibly) might also have a vote as a member of a Union.

    Does that mean that, in Labour’s version of AV, I would actually have 3 votes?

    What do people feel will be the public’s perception of the AV voting system after the Labour Leadership result? Will they understand it better now? Or will they see the oddity of an election where the winner did NOT get the support of their party members and parliamentary colleagues?

  • Ed Miliband will certainly have to pay back the trade unions at some stage, though quite how he can do that in opposition is unclear. His immediate worry must be that he lacks the confidence of a big majority of his Parliamentary colleagues – the people who have worked with him most closely and know him best. Under the old system that was scrapped in 1983, David Miliband would be Leader by a mile.

    One should not underestimate the importance of having the support of one’s immediate colleagues. Nick Clegg became Lib Dem Leader by 500 votes, not so much because of the media hype, but because he had the support of more than half the Parliamentary Party – short-sighted Parliamentarians who thought that Clegg would give them an easier ride than Chris Huhne.

    In the “new politics” we have to avoid being too rude about Ed Miliband because we might have to serve in a government under him a few years down the line.

  • “His immediate worry must be that he lacks the confidence of a big majority of his Parliamentary colleagues – the people who have worked with him most closely and know him best.”

    David Cameron seems to have managed to overcome this hurdle. David Davis got more MP votes in the first ballot and Cameron only won MP support through the run offs.

  • Agree with Stephen Tall’s comment ” Ed’s first priority now must be to come up with a credible economic policy.”
    He started badly by failing to answer the questions on the Andrew Marr show.
    His approach was I’ll comment on the Coalition proposals but he failed to tell us what he would actually do.
    This has been the pathetic approach of all of the candidates, but until the new leader actually says what he would do he has no real credibility on this subject.
    Labour remains in denial, and even with their new leader, unable to tell us what they would actually do to resolve the deficit they created.

  • Paul McKeown 26th Sep '10 - 11:50am

    @Anthony Aloysius St.

    “Trades unionists are from Mars, trades union bosses are from Pluto. Where do politicians come from? Perhaps Uranus?”

    Ha! Good one!

  • If the figures I’ve been give are correct less than 10% of union members voted in the Labour leadership contest. So over 90% of union members who pay the political levy, either didn’t support Labour so couldn’t sign the declaration or just didn’t care about the link to the Labour Party.

    It’s not just unions in affiliated section of the electoral college other organisations like Poale Zion get a membership vote (if PZ still exists).

    Needless to say in my union days I was always elected with 100% of the votes cast – that’s right no one else wanted to do the job.

  • @simonkaye: if anything, Ed’s election means tough times for the LDs but easy times for the Tories. Since Labour can only win by pushing back the Tories this makes a Tory win much more likely. But Labour will be at peace with themselves – back where they enjoy being; i.e. the main anti-govt vote dustbin.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 26th Sep '10 - 2:06pm

    Hypocrites! So what if Ed Miliband said working with Nick Clegg is impossible? Nick Clegg said the same of Gordon Brown. Did anyone here actually watch that documentary about the coalition discussions? The one where Clegg famously admitted to having changed his mind secretly about early cuts before the election?

    The Lib Dem line was this- “Gordon has to go.” *Gordon went* “Now there’s now one to do business with so we can’t possibly go with Labour!” As if Clegg ever intended to do so. He just wanted to mess with another party’s leadership. I was disappointed in Ashdown as well, seemingly thinking he could just anoint David Miliband as the new leader and the Labour party wouldn’t bat an eye.

  • “@simonkaye: if anything, Ed’s election means tough times for the LDs but easy times for the Tories. Since Labour can only win by pushing back the Tories this makes a Tory win much more likely. But Labour will be at peace with themselves – back where they enjoy being; i.e. the main anti-govt vote dustbin.”

    But what no one here seems to get is that the main reason Labour has failed is because the centre left vote was divided.

    At the height of Thatcherism that is also the case when Owen left to form the SDP.

    Now Labour under Ed are hardly as left as old Labour. Ed is not stupid, he knows where he went wrong, his campaign seems was more directed at the grassroots rather than the unions even if he was the choice of most union members.

    Now Clegg has made a massive boo boo. Firstly he failed to realise that at least half of Lib Dem voters would identify themselves as creature’s of the centre left, and on the other side there are barely any that would describe themselves as ‘right wing’. Whether or not the Lib Dems are a ‘left-wing’ party, they have always campaigned on a centre or centre left platform…. they can’t do that any more.

    Clegg told these people to go away. I, as one of them, will probably take his advice and vote for Ed unless he is kicked out of leadership. The fact is that CLegg belongs to a section of the party that do not represent the views of the majority of its membership, and he will be punished for that at the next election.

    When Ed Miliband appears to be more in tune with most Lib Dems than Nick Clegg, is there a reason why I shouldn’t vote for him? The state of denial that other Lib Dems are getting into just makes me think they are totally divorced from both their supporters and reality, or they are constantly putting on a brave face. Until someone admits that something went wrong somewhere there is no way I can feel safe about voting for this party at the next election, I have no trust that it will represent my views (although it will undoubtedly campaign on doing so).

  • matthew fox 26th Sep '10 - 4:07pm

    Glad the Anti BBC crowd have found another outlet beyond Conservativehome.

    With an impending recession and 3.5 million unemployed, the Lib dems will have far better things to moan about.

  • “Clegg was pretty justified to point out to Brown that a lib-lab coalition deal would be impossible with Brown as PM – how could the electorate ever accept this”

    Well he said that whilst the election was on going, to win more votes… and he won those votes mainly from Labour supporters.

    If he had said it after the election, that might have been okay.

    There is no difference in reality to either leader saying who they will refuse to work with. Clegg betrayed a lot of us, and I won’t be voting Lib Dem while he remains as leader. I don’t feel that I should support someone who puts his own political views ahead of the rest of the party’s.

    Clegg said he wouldn’t work with Brown in order to attract Conservative voters. He aid this at a comparably serious time for the country when it may well have been necessary if things were a little different for him to work with Brown. He said that as the clear minority contestant trying to use leverage of Labour.

    Ed Miliband’s decisions is less serious, and it is based astutely on the betrayal that many of us feel. Clegg is expendable as the leader of what is a considerably more minor party…. he would never be PM in any case. Yet Clegg felt he could dictate and pressure the leader of a large party…. no less than the prime minister. And you know what… it worked… but then Clegg joined us with the Tories.

  • @George Kendall
    “In 1983, Thatcher got a much increased majority over 1979. ”
    But she lost the best part of a million voters. There were, lets say, special circumstances which meant that she increased her majority off the back of a declining vote. It seems to me very optimistic to say the least to imagine that the Coalition parties will increase their vote in the next GE. I can’t think of any government in modern times that has managed that never mind one that faces the enormous challenges this one does. Of course the electoral reform agenda means Tory votes will be sliced and diced in such a way as to maximise their representation but it still doesn’t look likely to me that the Tories will get a majority next time. The scale of the electoral challenge Ed Miliband faces is not of the same order as the Tories faced in 2001 and 2005.

    @simonkaye
    No matter who you vote for you always get Nick Clegg in government? The electorate won’t stand for that. No Labour leader will be able to do a deal with Nick Clegg in 2015 any more than Clegg could have been seen to keep Gordon Brown in power after May. It’s not personal, it’s just a political reality.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 26th Sep '10 - 5:10pm

    @simonkaye: I think Clegg is impossible to work with equally as much as you must have thought Gordon Brown was. How exactly could Clegg join a Labour dominated government now? I don’t see it as possible for him, for Huhne, for Laws, for Alexander…possibly not for Vince Cable.

    As for the economy- it isn’t populist. Was it populist when Clegg was telling the electorate exactly the same thing or not?

    Cuts are where the Lib Dems are revealed as a joke. On my time commenting here I’ve had people tell me that it’s right not to cut too early (before the election.) I’ve had them explain early cuts away as a compromise they don’t support (just after the election.) I’ve had indignant comments attacking Labour for suggesting that Clegg and Cable wanted early cuts before the election, the idea being dismissed as Labour spin. And now, after transforming from no early cuts, to compromise on early cuts, you’ve arrived at “there is no alternative.”

    I suppose I’ve been severely disappointed by the Lib Dems over the last day or so. I didn’t like the party beforehand, but I had respect for- as the main example- Simon Hughes, until yesterday he used the “deficit-deniar” phrase and said that Ed Miliband would undoubtedly be in the pocket of the unions. The Lib Dems have turned into the right-wing Liberal parties of Australia and Europe.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 26th Sep '10 - 5:22pm

    There was a quote in the Daily Mail about Ed Miliband from an “anonymous Blairite Cabinet minister” who used to work with him which I really liked-

    “With Ed, it was all civil liberties, electoral reform and climate change, the sort of issues that will not win us crucial votes.”

    He meant it as an attack, but I like it.

  • Good for you Mike. I’m glad that you’re already enjoying opposition more – it means you’ll be happy for a long time now your party has chosen to push its head even further into the sand.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 26th Sep '10 - 5:46pm

    There was a quote in the Daily Mail about Ed Miliband from an “anonymous Blairite Cabinet minister” who used to work with him which I really liked-
    “With Ed, it was all civil liberties, electoral reform and climate change, the sort of issues that will not win us crucial votes.”

    Sounds rather like what George Kendall was saying above – that Ed Miliband didn’t have enough “gravitas” because he didn’t avoid saying “things that would jeopardise his chances of winning in 2015.” That the party elected him because it wasn’t really “hungry to win.”

    In short, that he wasn’t enough like Nick Clegg – who would say anything to get elected, and was famously “hungry for power” under “almost any circumstances” …

  • Paul Barker:
    There were some odd comments in the very overheated reactions to Steven Talls earlier article, some Labourites claiming that membership of an affiliated Union has equal value to Party membership, giving a total Labour membership of 3 or 4 Million. Its that confusion about what a Party is that makes Labour such a roadblock to progress.

    And yet, aren’t the most progressive voices calling for open primaries instead of current, very narrow party selection contests – and the union vote in the Labour leadership surely puts Labour much closer to that than the other parties? One out of every one-hundred people in the UK voted in the Labour leadership – that’s significantly higher than voted in the Conservative and Lib Dem leadership contests.

  • Hopeful Cynic 26th Sep '10 - 7:48pm

    To be quite frank, any attempt to portray Ed Miliband as Neil Kinnock/Michael Foot mk 2 as a “red” far-left socialist won’t work – despite saying that the age of New Labour is over, he’s cut his teeth in the New Labour era and will most likely go for the center-ground after running a more leftish campaign as he knows he could never win appealing to the left of the electorate. He hasn’t really started the job yet, and if the Coalition wants to paint him as a secret Trot it will fail miserably. The government will have to take quite a careful approach with him.

  • Mike(The Labour one) 26th Sep '10 - 8:02pm

    @simonkaye: I suppose it was different with Nick Clegg because he didn’t mean it.

    But you know that populism isn’t just a word to use for things you disagree with? We’ve had a slew of economists talking of the idea that cutting too deep and too soon will harm the economy rather than benefit it. It isn’t pandering when it’s right, which with Ireland looking like it will fall back into recession after their austerity drive it could end up being.

  • Funny thought, I hope Ed Miliband’s election doesn’t put people off AV?

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