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Day: March 14, 2011

Ed Miliband tells Nick Clegg to go cower in a corner and he’ll save the day on AV

Yes I admit I may have used some poetic license in that title.

So Ed Miliband believes that the best way for the YestoAV campaign to win is if Nick Clegg does nothing, says nothing, believes nothing on the issue. The leader of the Labour party is apparently pro-AV and will be backing the Yes vote at the referendum but we’ve heard nothing from him or his party on that front until today. I haven’t heard anyone else from his party say anything on this front but if they have please point me towards it (they must have done but I’ve just missed it – it couldn’t just be Ed saying this whilst everyone else shyly looks down at their feet and starts talking about the weather, could it?)

So Ed Miliband says that the people of the country hate Nick Clegg and will automatically vote against whatever he wants at the referendum meaning that he should lead the campaign. Interesting hypothesis. However remember the people who wanted fairer votes were primarily those who followed the Lib Dems into the last election. So if they wanted fairer votes ten months ago then surely they still want them now? Or does Ed believe that everyone has now turned and after the tuition fees fo pah that all those that did want fairer votes are now perfectly happy with the old system? That doesn’t make sense unless those people now truly believe that Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems are the devil incarnate. Which you never know, they might.

The problem for Ed Miliband is he is a terrible speaker. He just is. David Miliband is good. Gordon Brown was not. Tony Blair was terrific. To lead a campaign you need a strong and charismatic voice and rightly or wrongly Nick Clegg still has that. He can hold an audience (if they give him a chance) and still attract the floating voters. Ed says he won’t share a floor with Nick Clegg believing that he’ll hurt the vote but it is more likely that Ed knows that Nick Clegg would overshadow him completely. If Ed was willing to work with Nick Clegg on this one then the YestoAV campaign would win quite convincingly. However due to Ed being scared of being outshone the vote is up in the air.

Unless Ed can bring the whole of Labour with him and very publicly state and campaign for a Yes vote then he has to let Nick Clegg front the campaign. The Lib Dems are the ones who pushed hard for this and they are the ones who need to win it. They aren’t hated all over the country despite what some people say and even now the polling is nip/tuck and changes from week to week. A good campaign for the Yes vote wins it and the best way is for both Labour and the Lib Dems to stand shoulder to shoulder on this issue. If they do then they win. If Labour don’t want to work with the Lib Dems and win it on their own then they face an uphill battle. The Lib Dems also face an uphill battle winning it on their own.

If Ed Miliband was truly Pro-AV then he would share the limelight and the stage with Nick Clegg. If he does this then they win. If he decides that he doesn’t want to do this then I question whether he is truly Pro-AV or is really Anti-whatever-the-Tories-want.

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