I was sitting here about an hour or so ago watching Ed Miliband do what Ed Miliband does when he’s speaking (making me and every political person wonder how on Earth Labour screwed themselves so badly by not making David their leader) and I asked myself considering just how ineffective he is – are the real opposition already in government?
We aren’t a country that knows too much about coalitions. The average person on the street doesn’t like them and every ‘comedian’ tripes out jokes about how ‘no-one voted for this’ and the audience roar in laughter. However could public perception in fact be completely inaccurate and that by having the Lib Dems within the government be doing a better job on curbing the excesses of the Tories?
We (Lib Dems) can probably all agree that some of the decisions we have made in government have been poor. Some have lacked judgement morally and some have lacked nous politically. We have made mistakes but show me a person or group that hasn’t and I’ll show you a liar by showing you a mirror.
For once a political party cannot just do whatever they like whilst in power. Yes even if the Lib Dems hadn’t gone into coalition then the Tories were going to be hamstrung by the numbers but the decision was to go into a full on coalition due mainly for economic reasons. So this is where we are – we can’t turn back time. So now we have to look at who is forcing the Conservative Party down roads they would prefer not to go down more – Labour in opposition or the Lib Dems in government?
Now whilst Labour will believe it is them – the answers seems pretty clear that it is the Lib Dems. A party with 11% of the seats are punching above their weight and have the Tories by the short and curlies. The Tories would need help from other minority parties on a case by case basis if the Lib Dems ever rebelled fully. This would be tricky to put together.
When these constant polls come out saying people trust Nick Clegg more than Ed Miliband it says a ot – considering how Nick Clegg is the most hated politician in this country since the Iron Lady herself. Labour are not seen as credible by the country and whilst in the polls they are doing well – I am very comfortable sticking my neck on the line and saying in a General Election that Ed Miliband would melt under the pressure and not lead Labour to a victory. Gordon Brown may have cost himself an election by calling Gillian Duffy a bigot but at least he had experience on his side. What does Ed Miliband have going for him? Experience? No. Charisma? No. Speech Delivery? No. Being the best person for the job formed from the same DNA combination? No.
Labour cannot be an effective opposition until they have a figure that the public and the party can rally around. Ed Miliband is not that man. Looking at the party the likelihood is that man is Ed Balls. Balls gets under Cameron’s skin and he would play out well with the core Labour vote. Balls v Cameron would be rather interesting but that is not what is on the table. Until then the best opposition to the Tories is the Lib Dems as a permanent needle is their side. The Lib Dems may not have played this role too well over the first fifth of this parliament but there is a long way to go and if they can ensure economic growth whilst not allowing Tory ideological changes to core services then they’ll have done both a good and more importantly – an effective job.
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