Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Strikes blamed for Miliband popularity slump

Ed Miliband's decision to oppose the recent public sector strike whilst trying to look as if he backed the unions appears to have won him no friends. A survey by Labour List has found his popularity (or lack of it) has plummeted since the day off taken by public sector workers. Only 26% rated him as excellent or good. Remember, this is a survey of genuine Labour anorak wearers so these are people who will, by nature, be favourable to David's kid brother. 41% think his performance has been poor or very poor. In July, Miliband was rated as excellent or good by 59% of people in the survey Labour List carried out that month.

Labour List explains:

"The explanation for the slump seems to be linked to Miliband’s handling of the November 30th strikes. LabourList readers were overwhelmingly supportive of the strikes, with 83% backing the action. Meanwhile only 25% believe that Miliband handled the strike well, compared to 67% who think he handled it badly."

The problem with Miliband is that though he wants to appear reasonable, centrist and considered and seems to want to avoid upsetting anyone, few in his party are interested in following his lead, if indeed, "lead" is the right word. Labour members rather like being in the comfort zone of opposition. They don't have to defend hard but sensible decisions and they can posture as "socialists" after having had to suppress their more militant tendencies since Blair successfully launched his Occupy Labour bid in 1994.

Labour members have eagerly raised 2 fingers to their leader's pronouncement that this strike was a mark of failure he could not support. They joined marches and picket lines (most of the actualy workers on the other hand were shopping or taking the kids to the cinema). It seems Little Ed has a party that wants to head off in a direction he knows will not return Labour to power. And Labour members themselves seem to want to leave him behind.

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