Archive for John Healey

Alternatives to Ed Miliband…

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2011 by eljmayes

Frank Field earlier this week stated that Ed Miliband would hang onto his job as Labour leader as “There are no other alternatives to Ed Miliband”. A ringing endorsement I’m sure you would agree. Let’s have a look at those with a feasible chance of becoming Labour leader, conveniently in three sections- those who would be better than Ed Miliband as Labour leader, those who are on the same level as Ed Miliband as Labour leader, and those who would be worse than Ed Miliband as Labour leader. Please be aware these are my own personal opinions as always, if you disagree please use the comments box below.

Those who would better than Ed Miliband as Labour leader

David Miliband- Ed’s bigger brother is better presentationally and would undoubtedly shift the party to the right if he were to become leader. This would help get valuable media outlets back onside for Labour and give them more scope to concentrate on little issues that seem to catch out Cameron on a regular basis. Whilst I think David is far better than his brother presentationally, he still gives off a slightly awkward vibe in interviews which affects his connection with the voting public. I feel David Miliband won’t stand for the Labour leadership in this Parliament if there were a contest. He would be much better served to stand in 2015 if Labour lose that year’s General Election.

Ed Balls- At his best Ed Balls is a very clever, combative politician who is far better at conveying his messages to the public than Ed Miliband. However, he can come across as slightly condescending (putting it politely) in interviews to the media and would certainly steer the Labour party firmly to the left if he were to become leader. Balls is well liked by the unions (more so than David Miliband in a straight run off) and has to considered as the front runner in any leadership contest should Ed Miliband be ousted in this Parliament.

Yvette Cooper- Cooper is similar Ed Balls presentationally with a combative, no nonsense style at the Despatch Box. I doubt the Shadow Home Secretary would wish to run in any leadership contest, favouring to support her husband to win such a contest.

Andy Burnham– Burnham is again much better than Miliband presentationally, having an easy  going “man of the people” style that endears him to the public. Whether as leader Burnham would shift the party further to the right is to be seen as he doesn’t belong to either the Blair or Brown camp, which may harm his chances in a leadership contest. Much like David Miliband, Burnham would be better served sitting out a leadership contest in this Parliament in my opinion, biding his time until a possible opening in 2015.

Jim Murphy- Murphy has a calm, understated style much like Andy Burnham. He is the only Shadow Cabinet  member currently to be landing significant blows on his opposite number Liam Fox. Murphy seems to be an ideal candidate for the leadership role. The problem is he currently is an MP in Scotland, and therefore a MP who could lose their job if the country was to gain independence for the rest of the UK. It would be foolish for him to stand before the referendum is held and for this reason I can’t rank him as a contender.

Chuka Umunna- Umunna has made waves since being elected at last year’s General Election, being put forward for many media appearances on behalf of the opposition and has a calculated presentational style. Umunna is too young to be taken as a serious contender for the Labour leadership at the present time however in my opinion.

Alan Johnson- Johnson is by far the best candidate Labour could field as leader and would take the party to the right. Unfortunately for the party he will likely step down at the next General Election.

Those who are on the same level as Ed Miliband as Labour leader

John Healey- I have always found Labour’s love for Healey baffling. He isn’t any better than Ed Miliband presentationally and he hasn’t exactly made Andrew Lansley sweat as Shadow Health Secretary, even after his series of u-turns on health reform. Healey would be no better for Labour than Miliband and I doubt he’d run if the Labour leader’s post was available.

Douglas Alexander- Alexander strikes me as a politician who always underperforms in media appearances. He isn’t terrible presentationally, but as he is so close to Ed Miliband I doubt he would run in a leadership election.

Sadiq Khan-  Khan is a relatively astute politician but he doesn’t offer anything radically different to Miliband. Any potential leadership contest would not feature Khan I’d wager.

Harriet Harman- Harman did well as a stand in Labour leader after the General Election but is still a marmite politician, you either love her or you hate her. She seems content in her current role and it would be a shock if she stood for party leader.

Those who would be worse than Ed Miliband as Labour leader

Peter Hain- Hain is terrible presentationally, especially in media appearances. Being Ed Miliband’s closest ally it would seem very strange if he were to stand in any leadership election after his friend’s ousting.

Tessa Jowell– Jowell is essentially a female version of Peter Hain sans tan, poor presentationally with little to endear her to the voting public. She is coming towards the end of her political career and to stand for party leader should the opportunity arise would seem bizarre at this stage.

Liam Byrne- A Blairite, Byrne should be a contender in any leadership election. After his “There is no money left” note however I think he is just happy to be in the Shadow Cabinet currently.

The reason why I have put such prominence on presentational skills in this post is because I believe Cameron will run a presidential campaign in 2015, much like Alex Salmond’s Scottish Election campaign this year. It is essential for Labour to have an able media performer in any General Election campaign. I doubt Ed Miliband can get to Cameron’s level presentationally within four years. At the present time, I rate Ed Miliband’s chances of still being Labour leader at the next General Election fifty-fifty at best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Good Week, Bad Week 20/02/11…

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2011 by eljmayes


Good Week

David Cameron- Cameron has had a relatively good week with his well advised u-turn over the sale of forests and his “No to AV” speech. Although many commentators have rightly stated the Coalition has performed numerous u-turns in it’s first few months in office, in my opinion it’s better to get them out the way as early as possible in the Parliamentary cycle to make sure both parties aren’t harmed close to an election. U-turns also show the Government is listening to voters, which is especially important during a time of fiscal restraint. The Prime Minister’s “No to AV’ speech was sensible and to the point. I do feel Cameron would not be that upset if the “Yes” campaign won the referendum however- the redrawing of the constituency boundaries are much more important to the Tories than whether the electorate use AV or FPTP.

Nick Clegg- It has been yet another quiet week and therefore good week for the Deputy Prime Minister. Clegg’s “Yes to AV” speech was concise and passionate. I do believe the momentum is with the “Yes” campaign at this time because they have tapped into the anti politics feeling that the public still have after the expenses scandal.

Larry the cat- Larry has had a very good week, from living in Battersea Dogs & Cats Home to No.10 in a matter of hours.

Bad Week

Ed Miliband- Miliband has had a bad week on balance. He still doesn’t know how to address the AV issue with his party or to the public and his big speech at the Welsh Labour Conference didn’t garner much press attention. Miliband’s statement outside his house on AV looked like an afterthought compared to the other two party leaders- Miliband must try to look like a future Prime Minister in everything that he does as not to affect his perception with the electorate. His speech in Llandudno at the Welsh Labour Conference wasn’t covered in the mainstream media at length mainly because of other world events but also because he decided to attack the Coalition on their NHS reforms, some reforms which were in his party’s last election manifesto. Why Miliband insists on attacking the Coalition on the subject of the NHS is baffling- Labour would have cut NHS spending this Parliament and the Coalition are increasing NHS spending slightly this Parliament, leaving Miliband very exposed in any argument on the matter.

John Healey- Healey has had a bad week by backing his leader over NHS reforms. Labour overly politicising the NHS will make the public switch off from the party as a whole in my opinion. Healey would be better served targeting attacks on specific changes than the reforms as a whole, reforms that his party would have made partly if they had won the last General Election.

Yvette Cooper- Cooper stated on BBC Question Time she didn’t know how much the country’s deficit was in cash terms when Labour left office in 2010. I’d say Cooper had a fair idea of the country’s deficit given the fact she was Chief Secretary to the Treasury for a year from January 2008 to June 2009, and still in cabinet until Labour’s electoral defeat in 2010.

Shadow Cabinet Face Offs…

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2010 by eljmayes


So Ed Miliband has decided (rather quickly) on his Shadow Cabinet going forward- here are the tussles that await those lucky enough to be selected.

Shadow Chancellor- Alan Johnson faces George Osborne Johnson will almost certainly be to the right of Ed Balls fiscally (as he backed David Miliband’s leadership campaign so strongly) which will make him more credible to the country but perhaps not in his own party or to the unions. Coalition will no doubt try to portray Johnson as the “old generation” who was at the centre of the last Government which racked up a massive deficit. My gut feeling is Ed Miliband won’t be able to reign in Johnson as Brown did with Darling, and a coherent message on the economy may suffer.

Shadow Home Secretary- Ed Balls faces Theresa May Balls could be effective in this role, especially with the cuts that are coming to the Police. The issue with Balls is one of whether or not he can focus entirely on his brief and not go off on tangents. If he does drift off message towards his specialist subject, the economy, he could come into conflict with those on the right of his party.

Shadow Foreign Secretary- Yvette Cooper faces William Hague Cooper will be wasted shadowing Hague as the Shadow Foreign Secretary role is one mainly of agreement with the Government, there are few major foreign policy differences between all three major parties after all. Cooper would have been better suited to the Education or Defence portfolio in my opinion.

Shadow Health Secretary- John Healey faces Andrew Lansley Health is a rather tricky subject for Labour in opposition because of the Coalition’s commitment to increase spending on the NHS in real terms throughout the Parliamentary cycle. Healey is an unknown, and to an extent Andrew Lansley is as well. I predict therefore (scandals notwithstanding) health and the NHS will slip down the Labour attack agenda as they oppose cuts to other sectors more vehemently .

Shadow Education Secretary- Andy Burnham faces Michael Gove Burnham isn’t as combative as Ed Balls, who was effective against Gove whilst he was Shadow Education Secretary after the General Election. Burnham is a more likeable character however, and his “man from up North” persona may play well against Gove’s (slightly) upper class persona. I expect education to be a key battleground over the Parliamentary cycle, with every single cut being opposed by Labour.

Shadow Defence Secretary- Jim Murphy faces Dr. Liam Fox Defence is by far the most emotive role a politician could be appointed to at the current time. With Fox seemingly disenfranchised with his party over the cuts, Murphy should be able to make headway if he can outline where cuts to our Armed Forces should be made (no mean feat admittedly).

The rest of the Shadow Cabinet would seem to face an uphill struggle against there opposite numbers in the Coalition. Sadiq Khan will not relish taking on Ken Clarke at the despatch box on Justice matters, and neither will Douglas Alexander look forward to challenging Iain Duncan Smith on the subject of Work and Pensions. Ed Miliband’s strategy going forward must be to set up three or four credible attack lines on the cuts maximum and to maintain cohesion between his MPs, activists and trade unions.

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