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.