James Forsyth doesn’t see how Labour leader Ed Miliband and his party recover from their many recent setbacks:
One cause for hope for the Milibandites is that the Americans are coming. David Axelrod, a guru to Barack Obama who was signed up by Labour to much fanfare earlier this year but has not been much in evidence recently, will be heading to these shores soon. Arnie Graf, the community organiser whose work has so impressed Miliband, is also due to return to Britain shortly.
But what is alarming for Labour is that it is not obvious how they pull out of this downward spiral. Opposition parties rarely put on votes in the last few months of a parliament and Miliband has already fired several of his best policy shots.
The bigger problem for the main British opposition party is that many party members and MPs have lost confidence in Miliband, and they aren’t keeping quiet about it any longer. This past week the British media was full of reports of deep dissatisfaction with Miliband’s leadership, and there were even some public calls from party loyalists for his resignation. Conservatives and UKIP supporters are understandably thrilled that the Leader of the Opposition is in trouble. Mark Wallace sums up this view:
Of course, none of this would be happening if Miliband was any good at his job. If the Tory Twitter grassroots have a favourite hashtag, it’s probably #SaveEd. He is Cameron’s greatest asset, helpfully blundering on every front and shedding votes to the SNP and the Greens.
It’s also true that Labour has many more problems than being burdened with a terrible leader. The implosion of Labour in Scotland is the fault of multiple party leaders going back many years, and it isn’t something that will be reversed anytime soon. Their neglect of the party’s traditional supporters has given huge openings to the SNP and UKIP and has caused them to hemorrhage support all over the country. Miliband’s incompetence as leader and his terrible approval rating are compounding all of these problems, but it’s not clear that a different leader could fix most of them. All of this suggests that Cameron and the Conservatives could very well win the next general election even if UKIP wins a large share of the vote.