What if David Miliband had won …

David MilibandThe polls were with Labour. The feedback on the doorstep was very encouraging. It looked like all the naysayers and the problems of the previous five years had been put to bed. Until that exit poll flashed up on the nation’s TV screens. It gave the Tories a clear lead, and one several seats away from a majority. Then the worst happened. As the night wore on it became increasingly clear Labour were not winning the seats it needed to capture to form the largest party, and by the morning the impossible had happened: David Cameron had pulled the irons of an overall majority from the election fire.

Despite the naysaying and doom laden predictions coming from the left of the labour movement, David Miliband’s leadership of the Labour Party started off well. From the moment he emerged ashened face from behind the curtain at party conference, he set out a stall that confounded expectations. Labelled as the continuity Blair candidate, David’s victory speech – secured across all three sections of the electoral college, albeit very narrowly with a higher-than-expected turnout from USDAW members in the trade union component, emphasised the need to capture economic credibility. Continue reading

David Miliband is wrong. The Tories can’t win the next election.

David Miliband’s parting shot before leaving Britain was an interview with Andrew Marr where he argued that the Tories can win a majority at the next general election. At the same time, serious forces inside the Conservative Party argue that they have no hope of winning in 2015. They can’t both be right.

SEB has argued over a prolonged period that the Tory Party is in decline. In 2009 and 2010 articles published here correctly forecastthat the Tories would be unable to gain an overall a majority, even though they had recently been running very strongly in the polls. From the same analysis it is possible to predict that the Tory vote will fall below the 36% secured at the last election and indeed the Tories will have difficulty in gaining substantially over 30% of the vote in 2015. As a result David Miliband is completely wrong, the Tories will be unable to form a majority government.  Continue reading

Community campaigning, DM-style (aka not even knowing how your members vote)

In Mark Ferguson’s excellent expose of “community campaigning” in South Shields under David Miliband’s watch, he reveals that the voter contact rate (the percentage of people in the constituency for whom the party has a record of voting preference) in the constituency was as low as 0.2%. Based on the electorate in the by-election, that is 0.2% of 62,979 people, or just 126.

Last year, according to the published conference voting figures, South Shields had 392 members. Can it be that not even the party’s members were marked up on the register? Continue reading

Farewell David Miliband

David Miliband is to leave parliament and British politics for a post at the International Rescue Committee in New York, and it is to his credit that he does so. He has forsaken the wishes and the advice of some of his closest political friends, but the path he has chosen is the right one for his brother and his party. His continued presence in British politics could only have resulted in recurring speculation that would have undermined both.

Whilst he has remained the Blairites’ best known and most able proponent, the prospect that he could have ever, in any circumstances, challenged his brother was unconscionable. His decision to leave is merely a reflection of the fact that he – and the Blairites – lost the battle for Labour’s future in 2010. Continue reading