Debating the Labour Leadership
Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 6th October, 2010
Last night, I spent an intensive but enjoyable hour-and-a-half on a live TV programme on the Bengali Channel S moderated by Ajmal Masroor debating the future of the Labour Party with Camden Council leader Nasim (Nash) Ali and two East London Labour activists. Interestingly, all three had backed Ed Miliband for national party leader, but a majority of the viewers who called in to the inter-active programme supported my line that Labour chose the wrong Miliband brother. Whatever legitimate criticisms may be made of David Miliband (re extraordinary rendition etc), he is the weightier political figure and would have made a more persuasive potential Prime Minister. Ed Miliband will really have his work cut out putting himself over to the British public — many of whom have only a rather marginal interest in politics, if any. There was some good cut and thrust in our TV debate, but not for the first time, I was astonished by the degree to which Labour activists are in a state of denial, deluding themselves that the Coalition is going to collapse at any moment and that the country will welcome Labour back with open arms. At one stage, Sonia Klein (who fought Ilford North for Labour in May) asserted that the Liberal Democrats are ‘imploding’. Dream on, Sonia! Some former LibDems who enjoy the comfort zone of Opposition may have defected to Labour, but the party in London has grown in size by over 20 per cent over the past few months and the recent LibDem Conference in Liverpool was the biggest and one of the best ever.