Ed Miliband's test: To be seen as a possible PM

 

Close your eyes. Think very hard. I want you to imagine something.

You're looking at the most famous black door in the world. It's May 2015 - the day after the next election. The man standing on the step is Ed Miliband.

Now, how do you feel?

The answer of many - though probably not readers of this blog - will be "Who?" We politics obsessives forget that many voters simply have no idea who the Labour leader is, let alone have an opinion of him.

The reply of some will be - "Not that (insert appropriate TV bleep here)..." Yesterday my colleague James Landale vox popped the good people of Manchester to ask them what they thought of Ed M. "He's a [bleep]," said one. The fearless Landale pressed on: "But do you know who he is?" "He's that Tory", came the reply. James gently pointed out that he was, in fact, the Labour leader. "Well," came the unapologetic reply, "he's still a [bleep]".

Others will remember hazily that he's that bloke who beat his brother and is said to be a bit of a nerd.

Today Ed Miliband will address all three groups of non-political cognoscenti and try to help them picture him on that doorstep a little more favourably.

He wants them to know that he is not the same as "that Tory". He wants them to understand that as the son of Jewish immigrants and someone who went to the local comprehensive he was not born to rule, did not go to public school and wants to be prime minister because of his values and beliefs rather than because, as David Cameron once said of himself, "he'd be good at it".

His aim is to show that he is the one who can make the slogan "we're all in it together" meaningful by pledging to use the power of government to stand up to vested interests - banks, energy, pension and rail companies - as well as harnessing the Olympic spirit of working together to repair Britain.

There are another two Labour Conferences before the next election. The test of this speech is in many ways a modest one. If you're not a natural Labour supporter and close your eyes and think "Maybe" and not "Who?" or "That [bleep]" or "Isn't he the Tory?", it will have been a success.

 
Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 47.

    I don't care where Miliband went to school or whether he's a toff or a pleb: if he wants a chance at getting my vote he needs vision, policies and argument to convince me that his ideas have merit.

    Sadly (for him) he is coming over as yet another mediocre career politician bereft of ideas but full of self-importance. Next!

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 51.

    The biggest problem I have with Labour is that they're spending most of their opposition time complaining about the current course of action, but they refuse point blank to propose an alternative. That's all well and good, but if you want me to vote for you, I need to know what you'd do with my vote.

    The biggest problem Ed Milliband has is that his brother is more likeable.

    Sigh. Politics.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 37.

    I find the 'class warfare' game being played by both parties but mostly Labour both unedifying and depressing. Calling someone a 'posh toff' is just as demeaning as calling someone a 'pleb'.
    What happened to reasoned debate about policies which would help the country?
    All politicians seem to be self serving and only worried about keeping their seats and getting power.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 63.

    Ed - Britain is BEGGING YOU here - be different, concentrate on what YOUR PARTY is going to do to mend broken Britain - and above all, focus on what makes YOU electable, not what Labour leaders of the past (Gordon, I'm looking at you here) may have failed to achieve.

    With the con-dem collition struggling, this is your time to show us waht you've got. Class battles are not the way forward.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 30.

    Oxford and Harvard man selects privately educated oxford and Harvard man to be shadow chancellor' (and still feels your pain) .. er, maybe not.

    'Oxford and Harvard man who played key role in last government's ballooning debt crisis feels others' pain'... er, maybe not.

    'Oxford and Harvard man guilty of fratricide feels your pain'... er, not.

    'Unelectable buffoon feels your pain' .. maybe

 

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