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Will polling match-ups be Gord’s secret weapon?

July 31st, 2008

    What’s the point of switching leaders if the ratings won’t go up?

I’m still in France with only minimal internet access and have been unable to follow the chain of events that David Miliband’s Guardian article has set off. But one thing is clear – the Foreign Secretary’s action has put what people were talking about privately right onto the public agenda and it’s hard to see any going back.

The PM’s aides have always been ferocious in the defence of their man and Miliband must have known what he was getting into when he decided to publish the article. This can only end, surely, with him or Gord being out of a job?

One thing we can expect in the next few days are polling match-ups – “would you be more or less likely to vote Labour with DM as leader” etc. etc. When these have been asked in recent months there has been no overwhelming evidence that a change at the top is going to help.

    For Miliband’s problem, and those of other possible contenders in a leadership election, is that none of them are very well known and have very low levels of public recognition. The Labour years have been dominated by figures who have left the scene and Gordon.

Brown’s strategy of making all the big announcements himself has prevented other figures from establishing any sort of public profile. This has been exacerbated by the now common practice of Labour not putting up ministers to answer points in TV discussions and the like.

Who apart from political nerds has even heard of let alone recognise the likes of Denham, Johnson and to a lesser extent Harman? Miliband’s personal media coverage in what would normally be the high profile role of foreign secretary has been relatively light.

If Labour is to go through the pain of replacing Gord then there has to be an obvious gain. I don’t think the pollsters will provide the evidence.

Meanwhile every day that goes by brings the general election that much nearer and Cameron, no doubt, is enjoying his holiday in Devon.

Mike Smithson






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