David Miliband – the ‘elephant in the room’


Credit: Riots Panel

More coming in from Nottingham Trent University politics expert Dr Matthew Ashton on Labour, and how the party responds to this major blow.

“After this devastating defeat, Labour now faces two big questions about the future of their party. The first is the obvious one about who the next leader is going to be; the second is whether they lost because they were too left wing, or not left wing enough. Should they try to return to the centre ground of the Blair/New Labour years, or present a genuine left wing alternative to the Tory agenda?

“Some in the party might urge the former, citing Blair’s three election wins. Others however will point to the success of the much more left wing SNP. This is problematic for two reasons though. Firstly Scotland is not England, the Scottish have traditionally always been to the left of the English electorate. What works there might not work here. Secondly it could be argued that the success of the SNP has more to do with nationalism and the failures of Labour, rather than socialism.

“In terms of the leadership Labour is now facing a severely diminished talent pool. With Balls now gone Yvette Cooper’s moment might finally have come. The party might feel that an entirely new broom is needed.

“The elephant in the room of course (or standing just outside the room) is David Miliband. Will this be his opportunity to strike back? The press would certainly love it as it would make British politics even more like a soap opera. There are three issues however. First and most obviously he isn’t an MP. He’d have to wait for a by-election, and there might not be one for a while so soon after a general election. Secondly, Labour are now going to have to choose a new leader. Whoever that might be, it’s unlikely that they’ll be willing to just stand aside if David enters parliament. Thirdly, he might not even want the job. Labour at the moment are in terrible shape. Whoever gets the job of party leader would have to deal with infighting, along with the awkward proposition of siding with the Conservatives in the EU referendum. Not to mention the negative connotations the name Miliband now carries with the electorate. He might decide that he’s best off out of it.”

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