Ed Miliband: economic challenge entwined with unity problem
There is acrimony; there is a kind of dull, stunned realisation among Ed Miliband's followers that a man who entered parliament only 5 years ago is leader. Remembering that the majority of MPs and party members did not support him, and that the majority of Fleet Street opposed him, and only the unions delivered victory, the new labour leader has a lot of urgent positioning to do.
On the economy, what's important is that the "statist" wing of Brownism, which had backed Ed Balls, swung behind Ed Miliband on 2nd preference. This means Balls is in a position to ask for the shadow chancellorship. Given that Balls set the pace in arguing that Labour should drop its old strategy of halving the deficit in four years - and that Ed Miliband swerved around this issue in his acceptance speech - it will be high on the agenda in negotiations between the two men.
The new Labour leader is leftish not essentially in his economic policy but in the fact that he has embraced the whole idea of community activism, the living wage, mutualism and the idea that Labour can be a social movement that participates, while in opposition, in protests against the Coalition cuts.
What's being missed also is that Labour now has an extremely green leader: Ed Miliband fought (against the pressure from the very unions that have backed him) against the Heathrow third runway, and forced Gordon Brown into the compromise and conditions that eventually killed the idea.
I don't read the hesitancy and non-specificity of his acceptance speech as anything other than a political brain calculating what kind of alliances he has to build, and going into a holding pattern until the dust settles.
The obvious alliance is with Balls: a statist centre left and a mutualist centre left commands - on the basis of the vote - a rough majority in the party.
(The pro-Balls bloggers and tweeters are swinging pretty enthusiastically behind the new leader.)
But the majority of the Labour supporting press is to the right of both of them, and the spleen being vented on the internet by Blairite commentators and former players is a signal that it will not be easy to run the party: as in the computer game Medieval Total War, all factions have highly effective "assassins" and Ed Miliband's rhetoric on unity was really a plea for them, including his own, to stand down for a bit while they figure out what to do.
The key question within Labour now is whether war breaks out between the centre left and the Blairite wing which so narrowly, and yet so decisively, lost power within the party tonight. Ed Miliband's face betrayed, I think, that it was not until he finally won that he realised how hard this was going to be.
The pressing issues for Ed Miliband will be to spell out a coherent policy platform with which to oppose (some of?) the cuts expected in the spending review. Does he go with Balls' demand for slower deficit reduction? Does he step back from the rhetoric within the Labour movement of "oppose every cut"?
What does he do on defence, where his union backers regard the building of aircraft carriers, fighter jets and nuclear subs as an article of faith. He is well aware that Labour defence policy has tended to triangulate between the White House and the HQ of Unite but has given few signals of what he will do in the SDSR.
A final thought, among these initial reactions. "Fairness" has become the watchword of the coalition government; inside Labour Ed Miliband had become "Mr Fairness" - crafting the whole manifesto around this central concept.
This will have implications for the way Labour now approaches the Lib Dems: much of the tribal response speaks of "smashing" them. But on the economy and to an extent foreign policy Ed Miliband was the candidate closest in philosophy to the Lib Dems. How he positions Labour rhetoric against "anti-capitalist" Vince will be an early challenge.