Friday, 1 October 2010

Closing thoughts on the Labour Party conference

I'm surprised to find myself feeling a little bit hopeful.

I always thought that Ed Miliband would eventually win, by virtue of being everyone's second choice. I have also opined I didn't think he'd be much cop as leader - too young and too wishy-washy. So I'm not susprised to see him elevated, but I'm surprised to find myself feeling un-despairing about it.

Partly, it's a negative emotion. I would have been absolutely horrified if David Milliband had won. I truly can't fathom the minds of those complaining that the wrong brother was elected (As I've quipped before, I'm more of the opinion it was the wrong Ed). Are they talking about the same David Milliband? The Iraq war supporting Milliband who was foreign secretary when people were being trafficked through Britain en route to secret torture facilities in third world Hell holes? The one who - less maturely, but it still has to be said - looks so awkward and odd he makes Ed Milliband look good? The one who comes across as the class sneak on a power trip? Sorry, no, never.

As for the wailing an gnashing about Milliaband's union support - what of it? It is the Labour Party, after all, the party of organised workers. I'll infinitely glad that the unions trumped the wishes of the arrogant and over-powered parliamentary party. It's bad enough that the PLP decided who should get on the leadership shortlist - isn't that enough for them? Having exercised that much power, can't they vote as ordinary members of the party?

There are vague positives as well. Ed Milliband has made some promising noises - too early for anything more, since he doesn't even have a shadow cabinet yet - and he's had the courage to identify what he thinks are the failures of the previous administration. Astonishingly, he even managed to identify the right ones, rather than blaming defeat on the party's failure to be even more revoltingly Blairite.

Whether or not he can deliver anything remains to be seen, of course.

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