Ed is back – at last. He had every right to take paternity leave, but I’m not sure he was right to disappear completely for two weeks. It seems a little ill advised at such a crucial time. He must be aware that new leaders have a very short time in which to make their mark. It’s usually not more than three months. Having made a slow, stuttering start, he’s got his work cut out to convince us, and his party, that he’s the man for the job.
The General Election was in May. This is now November and Her Majesty’s Opposition has yet to find its voice. It has been either leaderless, or its leader has been absent, for too long. The faces on the opposition benches look lost, disinterested even: a sure sign of lack of leadership.
Ed Miliband has to show tough, strong leadership very quickly indeed or he will find himself presiding over a very unhappy party. He has to restore a sense of purpose. If he doesn’t, he risks igniting endless feuds and squabbles. He needs to move and move quickly or he will be the leader of a party nobody wants to vote for.
This morning’s talk of ‘profound changes’ is a good sign. The Labour Party needs new fresh ideas – preferably big ideas that grab people’s attention. A raft of ‘new policies’ is not enough. The electorate are sick and tired of politicians shuffling ‘policies’ which mean little and deliver less. He has to have a positive, ambitious agenda. He has to fire people’s enthusiasm and imagination.
So far the coalition has delivered nothing but bad news, which gives him the most amazing opportunity to lift people’s heads and give them hope. Does he realise this? Has he got it in him to make things happen? Does he have the big ideas that will make a big difference? His profound changes need to be almost revolutionary, but they need to be about us, not the party. He has to break out of the political cocoon and reconnect with the electorate. The clock is ticking and we’re all watching and waiting. Let’s hope we’re not disappointed.