Attacking Ed has become the ‘normal’ thing to do. First the right of the party attack him for lacking direction and, well let’s be honest, not being David enough. Then it is the turn of the left, admonishing him for taking the only sensible political option and opposing the strikes, encouraging instead more negotiation and concessions from both sides. Each day as I flick though Labourlist, Labour Uncut or The Guardian the very people who should be helping shape the future direction of the party are instead wasting their time writing petty, self-indulgent pieces putting down our leader whilst offering no viable alternative.
I understand how tempting it is, indeed it is something I took part in when Gordon Brown was in charge, but then look where that got us. At best the public ignore it, making us irrelevant. At worst they find it an absolute turn-off.
I voted for Ed, though I know a lot of you didn’t. I didn’t vote for him because I thought he was a ready made PM in waiting, but because he had a vision. He spoke of a new kind of politics, he engaged thousands of young volunteers into his campaign, some of who had never been involved in any kind of politics before, and he felt like a genuine break from the past. In return for that promise I understood it might take a while for him to get really motoring. For me he is the right leader at the right time, someone to grow into the role as the party grows again out of the ashes of the New Labour era.
For this to work however he needs the best in his party lined-up behind him, not taking pot-shots from the sidelines. I want to see the great and the good going up against each other on schools, health, defence – pushing the party to go further and deliver more radical policy alternatives than ever before. Whilst we are it, let’s start really hammering the coalition. Whilst we are bitching at one another they are systematically destroying everything we hold dear, and we are letting them.
Over the last few weeks we have started to hear more about the kind of party Ed Miliband wants to lead. ‘The Squeezed Middle’ and ‘Promise of a Generation’ are beginnings of a narrative that I hope will end up in detailed policy that will resonate on the doorstep and deliver a genuine alternative to this cruel and unforgiving government.
In the meantime I would love to read more about policy and less about Ed’s leadership – let’s get behind him, campaign as one against the coalition and build a party ready to take power again.