The Futility Monster

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Posts Tagged ‘Ed Miliband’

12 For 2012

Posted by The Futility Monster on January 2, 2012 @ 20:23

Continuing a fine annual tradition, it’s time to lay down a few markers for the coming year. It’s going to be a busy one, methinks…

  1. Starting at home, with yet another boring prediction, the Coalition will last the whole year. Get used to it, Labourites. It ain’t going anywhere.
  2. The Lib Dems will take a pounding in the local elections, especially in Scottish councils, where they will be wiped only for the saving grace that is a truly proportional electoral system. Predictably, it will all be dismissed, and the Lib Dems will accept it and carry on.
  3. David Cameron will finally conduct a proper reshuffle, though it still won’t be particularly far reaching. Osborne isn’t going anywhere and neither is Michael Gove. Lansley may be moved if the NHS reforms pass successfully to give someone else a chance. He will definitely be removed if they fail. The Lib Dems have such a paucity of front bench talent that there is very little room for manouevre… but maybe Nick Clegg will at least get a real portfolio at last, now the “political reform” agenda has vanished.
  4. Ed Miliband will remain Labour leader, in spite of generally underwhelming election results and another defeat to Boris in the London mayoral election.
  5. In Europe, the Euro crisis will be resolved with a “treaty”. The treaty will not get the UK’s blessing, and the EU will proceed into a closer union without the UK, creating overwhelming calls for an in-out referendum. If it starts looking tempting, expect Labour to back the idea.
  6. France will get a “Socialist” President as Sarkozy plunges to inevitable defeat.
  7. Rick Santorum will win the Iowa caucuses, but Mitt Romney will be the Republicans nominee for President.
  8. Barack Obama will squeak a narrow re-election against Mitt Romney.
  9. The Democrats will either lose control of the Senate or it will be an exact 50-50 tie, with Joe Biden, VP, suddenly finding a reason to exist. The Democrats will not re-take the House, but it will be close. This disastrous deadlock will result in two more years of pathetic governance in the States.
  10. Syria will continue to make a mockery of the West – and the uprising will eventually be brutally suppressed. Meanwhile, the rest of the Arab Spring becomes stillborn, and the tendency towards strong, authoritarian governments in the region will persist.
  11. Iran will successfully navigate the year without there being any progress on disarmament, and there will be no military activity of any sort. However, the West will begin sounding the war-drums, and the useless public will buy it.
  12. And all the while the schizophrenic public will continue to ignore the fact that Afghanistan has been, and will continue to be, a catastrophic failure. More lives will continue to be lost, though Obama will, mercifully, confirm a long, slow, drawdown over the next few years.

And the usual bonus prediction… Manchester City will win this year’s Premier League.

See you at the end of the year!


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Quick Thoughts On Labour’s Newsnight Debate

Posted by The Futility Monster on June 16, 2010 @ 21:48

The Contenders

I was intending to write a slightly more in-depth post about my assessment of the candidates based on last night’s Newsnight, but real paying work put paid to all that. Instead, a short summary…

Andy Burnham

Why was he there? Believe it or not, Andy is actually the biggest “no change” candidate there is. Offered nothing different. Offered the same old Blairite New Labour shit with a new face. Tried to spin everything as if his Northern roots gave him some amazing insight on the decline of the Labour Party than all the other candidates. Sorry, Bambi, but they don’t. Lightweight and pointless.

Diane Abbott

Makes a very good argument, but her body language is very off-putting. Pushed all the right buttons as to being the candidate that most represents a clean break for the party, and will definitely win a lot of the left wing votes. Came across reasonably polished; perhaps all those years on This Week have helped her media performance. Remarkably played the experience card; not what you’d expect from a proper lefty. Just don’t think there is sufficient votes in there to win. A welcome addition to the race though.

Ed Balls

Combative, dogmatic and shameless. Washed his hands resolutely of Gordon Brown, kept arguing with the others. Seems to have very sharp elbows. Is clearly going to bash hard on the immigration line, reckons that will win him back the core Labour vote. Unfortunately, the core Labour vote are not going to vote in this election. Most of them have either died or left the party. Not quite the candidate I was expecting though. Is going to be worth watching.

Ed Miliband

Surprisingly poor. My tip at the start of the year for the Labour leadership seems to be running aground. Held his own amidst the very crowded field, but at times made himself look a bit too bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Had some good points to make, and clearly wants to be a bit different, but there was nothing of substance in there to justify the nice words. May be just a little too innocent and naive to take on the bruising Ed Balls, the argumentative Diane Abbott and the forceful…

David Miliband

Authoritative, commanding and resolute. But too geeky and robotic. He’s in command of himself, his demeanour and the arguments, but he feels too much like the perfect technocrat. A steady pair of hands is not what Labour needs in Opposition. It needs a street brawler. He was never beaten in the discourse, but is too stiff and formal. Unable to relax, unable to take a joke. Worse: is unable to make a joke. Just doesn’t feel human enough. Could well win, but it won’t be any good for Labour.


No one really won last night. And, after all, this is going to bore us all summer long, so it’s just as well. But Andy Burnham clearly showed he was out of his depth, and Ed Miliband will have to loosen up and get more rough and tumble or he will crash and burn in the same way.

Meanwhile, David Miliband, Ed Balls and Diane Abbott did themselves no harm at all. This is a crucial arena, as it is what we’re going to see in all general elections from now on. They need to be able to do well here, and they showed glimpses of that.

A promising start…

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Time For A Reshuffle, Harriet

Posted by The Futility Monster on May 19, 2010 @ 11:41

The Next British Prime Minister

With the number of contenders for the Labour leadership about to reach four (if John McDonnell can get the signatures) it may well be a good moment for Labour to take a leaf out of Michael Howard’s book.

Bizarre as that may sound, he did have one good idea. In the aftermath of his election defeat in May 2005, he took it on the chin and stood down. Though not straight away. He decided to give the Conservative Party all the time it needed to really think about what the future of the party should be.

Eventually, David Cameron was elected Tory leader in December 2005. A whole seven month interregnum, despite Howard still getting very badly beaten (in majority terms) in the election.

Yesterday, Labour announced they were also going to take their time. It sort of makes sense, because Labour haven’t had a period of introspection for a long while. They are taking a risk in the sense that the coalition might suddenly collapse with Labour rudderless, but it’s worth it.

But what Harriet needs to do is showcase the Labour “talent”. As Anne Robinson says, “ditch the deadwood!”. Get rid of Alan Johnson and give it to Ed Miliband. Put Ed Balls in as Shadow Chancellor. Even John McDonnell should be asked if he wants a portfolio if he gets the necessary nominations. He’ll probably refuse, but he deserves a platform too.

The goal has to be to give due prominence to those who hope to lead the party. Get them right in the limelight. Give them a chance to shine and show the country what they’re made of. It will give Labour members and affiliated trade unionists the opportunity to see a few months of real experience under pressure.

Even better, the associated free publicity for the Labour Party will be plain for all to see. The broadcasters and journalists will give extra prominence to every appearance of Ed, Ed, David and John (and anyone else for that matter) because they know they could be looking at the next Labour Party leader. And if they play their cards right, the next Prime Minister…

So don’t miss this opportunity, Harriet. The media loves a good story. A well-timed reshuffle will get some good publicity. And then, once the right faces are in the right places, it could continue to reap dividends…

UPDATE – 16:30 – and since Andy Burnham is also going to throw his hat into the ring, let’s make it five. At least it’s going to be a proper contest. No women though?

UPDATE 2 – 20/5 – 10:05 – I guess Diane Abbott read my comment above. A Labour leader, perhaps? How fantastic would that be.

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Labour’s Opportunity

Posted by The Futility Monster on May 17, 2010 @ 10:38

Maybe the real wave of change hasn't hit us yet...

What is so fascinating about the current “new politics” of coalition government is the fact that, for the first time in decades, there is truly only one opposition party.

For the next five years – if that is to be the way things proceed – the Lib/Con coalition will be tarred with the same brush. I was hoping to avoid the marriage metaphor, because it’s so horribly clichéd, but this fact is simple: nothing expresses the way the two party’s fortunes will play out than the following phrase.

For better, for worse; for richer, for poorer.

If the Lib/Con coalition works, and there are a couple of turbulent years followed by definite steps towards a transformed economy and budget outlook, both parties will get their reward.

But if they don’t, and Labour pick the right leader, the possibilities are almost limitless.

Imagine, if in a year’s time, the Coalition’s emergency budget, combined with continuing European turmoil, causes unemployment to skyrocket. 3.5m? 4m? VAT has been increased to 20%, and there is talk of another round of serious public spending cuts to stop the rot.

Meanwhile, Labour are leading the charge, unhindered by a second opposition party, solely the ones able to reflect a growing anger within the British public that the coalition is not delivering. Ed Miliband, accompanied at every turn by Jon Cruddas, leading an ever more populist campaign against the ConDem cuts that have, once again, led to a mantra that unemployment is a price worth paying for keeping inflation down.

In those circumstances, the public would quickly tire of exhortations from Gideon Osborne that we need to sacrifice more to put the Great back into Britain. Tolerance of him is already wafer-thin; for now he will get a fair crack of the whip, but if his initial efforts don’t succeed, Labour will be able to say that the same old Tories just don’t care what their pathological and ideological love for shrinking the public sector does to the people of this country.

And worse, the Lib Dems will have guilt by association. They cannot just step out of this arrangement when it suits them. That would be so Lib Demmy, after all. Indeed, with David Laws in the Treasury, who is somewhat hawkish about the economy anyway, there will be no place to hide.

As a Lib Dem member, I recognise that this coalition was probably our only option when it became clear that Labour were ready to go into opposition. But I am truly fearful for the future of our party. There will be a generation of Labour voters that we will never rescue. Labour sympathisers in Generation X, who lived through the worst of Thatcherism, will never vote for us again. That is already a win for Labour.

But they will also be able to cash in on every generation after that and beyond if this Lib/Con thing doesn’t work out.

Maybe that progressive realignment of the centre-left so dreamed about for decades by the Liberal Democrats is going to happen after all.

Without them.

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Miliband, Miliband Or Other?

Posted by The Futility Monster on May 15, 2010 @ 11:16

Just to show how different they are, they even un-coordinated their ties...

It is pleasing to see that later on today Ed Miliband will join the Labour leadership race. I’m pleased not just because it means we’ll actually have a contest to look forward to, but also because it means my prediction on January 1 that he will be the next Labour leader might well come to pass…

Of the Milibands, I have never been impressed by David. I have never understood what made him the “favourite” in the first place. I wrote about this last year. He is policy light, idea-free, but worst of all is not exactly fluent in front of the cameras. In the new age of TV debates, I don’t think his empty personality will come across all too well in this arena.

There was a chink of light earlier this year, however, and I slightly reconsidered my view of him. Maybe within that tired Blairite façade there is a real political thinker waiting to burst out. Oh, if only we could have a leader of a party that actually believed in a philosophy. The Milibands are, after all, steeped in a Marxist heritage. Not that that will happen, but maybe there might just be a little more democratic socialism, or failing that social democracy, under the skin than we think.

No. I’m dreaming. Of course not.

But of the two Milibands, the younger brother Ed has always been slightly more interesting. He is better on camera, without a doubt. He doesn’t have the same degree of uber geekery that David has. He looks, well, a bit more human.

Ed has always been associated with the Brown faction of the Labour Party, while David has always been seen to be a Blairite. Bear in mind that there is barely a cigarette paper between the Brown and the Blairite faction of the Labour Party. It is just a tribal thing. People like to feel like they belong to something more than just a party. The miniscule differences in emphasis between the factions are exaggerated to an enormous degree in order to pretend that you can only be one or the other. Boys, eh.

This distinction is important, though, as it will greatly influence where support is going to come from. It’s already obvious that David has the backing of a lot of MPs. Ed may pick up some Brownite rump, but if Ed Balls also stands then Ed Miliband (too many Eds – Ed.) has lost this third of the electoral college quite convincingly.

Same too of the unions. Ed Balls, if he stands, will get the full backing of them. Why that would be I don’t know. Labour, despite its pretence of meritocracy, is a real big fan of nepotism. The unions have always preferred Brown to Blair, but since Ed Balls and Brown went hand in hand, he will receive the union’s blessing, rather than Ed Miliband. Fortunately, each union member is balloted individually, so this may not be quite so important. It will, however, if it comes to the issue of how much finance each campaign gets to push its message out.

That only leaves the members. And if the members get a genuine look at the candidates, I think Ed Miliband has a chance of winning this third. John Cruddas, if he stands, will fare equally well, but there is just a chance that John Cruddas will stand aside for another candidate, and give them his blessing in return for a cushy Shadow Cabinet post. Could Ed Miliband persuade him? I think he could.

Either way, we’re in for a lot of novelty value of seeing two brothers locked in a deadly political battle. Both of them are still young enough that if both, or either, lose, they will get another chance, but by then there will be a new generation of young pretenders. This may be their one shot.

While only one of them has a chance of doing a good job as the Labour Party leader – Ed Miliband – the other might just be the candidate that makes the Labour Party even more distant from the electorate than ever. Aloof, brainy, nerdy. That’s not how you get noticed in the new media age, I’m afraid.

Fun times ahead!

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10 For 2010

Posted by The Futility Monster on January 1, 2010 @ 10:32

I dunno about you, but that just looks so cool!

In time honoured fashion, the start of a new year is always a good time to consider what it might herald. And so, not to be outdone by other bloggers who’ve done the same thing, I’m going to share with you 10 predictions for this year.

1 – The Conservatives will win the General Election (which will be held in May) with a majority of approximately 50 seats.

2 – George Osborne will not be the next Chancellor of the Exchequer.

3 – Gordon Brown will be replaced as Labour Party leader by Ed Miliband.

4 – Gordon Brown will get a job on the international stage and resign as an MP.

5 – The new Tory administration will suffer a scandal of some kind. Yes, I know this is very vague, and a total cop out, but I can’t quite put my finger on it…

6 – The Tories will scrap the ID card, but questions will remain over whether the database behind the project actually disappears with it.

7 – Obama will not only pass his healthcare reform bill, but will score a major political coup by passing comprehensive immigration reform, utterly dividing the Republican Party in the process.

8 – The Democrats will lose 30 seats in the House, and 5 seats in the Senate, worsening the already fractured relationship between Obama and an increasingly obstructive Republican minority.

9 – Australian PM Kevin Rudd will win the next federal election – a double dissolution – with a major landslide.

10 – The Iranian crisis will either culminate in the death of Mirhossein Mousavi or there will be a popular revolution. That’s another cop out, I’m sorry, but either way I think this will be a significant year for the Iranian situation.

Oh go on, one more, I hear you cry. Well, it’s not going to be what you’re expecting.

Arsenal will win the Premier League.

There, I’ve said it. Cos I’m interested in more than just politics, you know. I’m not that boring…

Hey, that was a lot of fun. Wish that could be my post every day!

And now I’m almost looking forward to the end of the year to see how spectacularly wrong I’m going to be. Wish me luck! Unless you don’t want any of those events to happen, of course.

Happy New Year to you all. Here’s to much more futile monstering in the year to come 🙂

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