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It's Ed

Nick Robinson | 18:19 UK time, Saturday, 25 September 2010

It was close: eye-wateringly, stomach-churningly, nail-bitingly close.

But one vote is enough. Any politician will tell you that and Ed Miliband won by many more votes than that.

He won it thanks to having the nerve, the chutzpah and the sheer ruthlessness to take on the favourite and the candidate of the party establishment who, just to complicate matters a tad, happened to be his big brother.

He won thanks to a promise to a party weary of battles between Blairites and Brownites to end the New Labour era, to disown the Iraq war and to reconnect with Labour's traditional working-class supporters.

He won thanks, though, to an electoral system which meant that people's second and third preferences count as much as their first and thanks to union support. His brother David won the first three rounds of voting and won more support amongst MPs and MEPs and ordinary party members.

What clinched the contest was the votes of union members - a fact that will be deployed ruthlessly by his political enemies.

That is just one of many hurdles Labour's new young leader will have to cross.

The first, though, is to repair relations with the man whose forced smiles turned to barely suppressed tears - the man who had been told he was his party's next leader for many years now - his brother David.

PS I can now pause to wipe the egg off my face. After the first round of voting I rashly said that it looked as if David might have done enough to win (his figures outperformed the recent polls). That's the perils of live telly for you.

Update 19:15: David Cameron called Ed Miliband from Chequers tonight to congratulate him on his victory.

The call lasted around three minutes. The prime minister told the new leader of the opposition that people would tell him that his was "the worst job in the world" but that it was not that bad. David Cameron promised to keep Mr Miliband in touch with matters of national security.

Ed Miliband responded by saying that he would lead "a responsible opposition" which would work with the government where they could.

The two men talked also about their families. David Cameron's fourth child was born a few weeks ago and Ed Miliband's partner Justine is expecting a second child in November.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Well, I for one am relieved and rejoicing.

    There is now the slimmest chance the BBC may now realise there is more to the exclusion of near all else in the political infirmament than what has been pumped out by rather partisan desires and niche obsessions being confused with public interest.

    Especially when all 'analysis' to date has been shown to be of quesionable value on any basis.

    However, I fear I might need to resign myself to a fair bit more post-match excitement spilling over to the schedules imposed on viewers a wee while longer.

    Those champagne bottles don't get strewn down corridors all by 'emselves.

  • Comment number 2.

    I think that one reason Miliband D lost was because of his abortive attempted putsches against Gordon Brown. To appear both disloyal and indecisive was a disaster for his future leadership prospects.

    To quote an incident from James Clavell's “Shogun”:

    “Toranaga: “There are no ‘mitigating circumstances’ when it comes to rebellion against a sovereign lord!”

    Blackthorne: “Unless you win.”

    Toranaga looked at him intently. Then laughed uproariously. “Yes, Mister Foreigner…you have named the one mitigating factor.”

  • Comment number 3.

    Isn't it a bit lazy for all the hacks to pin a label of left-wing, union-lover on Ed M? After all none of his policy positions are particularly left-wing - unless you call opposing torture and indiscriminate budget cuts left-wing.

    I'm glad Labour have a new leader now. The ConDems have been getting away with a free ride: the budget cuts they are making are far too big at a time when the economy is still weak and will pitch us into another recession. That isn't a left-wing view - Martin Wolf in the Financial Times has said the same. It's time for Labour to go on the attack against the ideologically driven Cons and their Lib Dem lapdogs,

  • Comment number 4.

    Well,well lets wait and see.

    The "in the pockets of the unions" will no doubt be trotted out....but this is not 1973 so thats rubbish.

    Next we have the lurch to the left. Who do you think he is,Tony Benn ? Get real.

    Cameron may not fear him but its not Ed CMD has to be afraid of...20/10/2010 now thats a different matter...

  • Comment number 5.

    So Labour does not use the UK method of electing MPs to elect the party leader.

  • Comment number 6.

    Congratulations to Ed. Hard fought battle, won against the starting odds.

    Enjoy your moment old chap. Here starts the war against the Tories.

    Enough plaudits.....

    The real winners tonight are the Conservative Party.

    As much as the UK feels uncomfortable with cuts, most are realistic about why and how much.

    A lefty leader for Labour has (nearly) sealed another 5 years of Conservative control.

    Me? I'm mostly rejoicing. All my thanks to those who voted for Ed.

    Champagne dearest?

  • Comment number 7.

    the new leader has it all to do making labour electable in 2015. it may be a coalition of liblab as by then the country will have warmed to coalition governments. i urge the new leader not to stray too far fom new labour, just a safe distance

    pm ed milliband
    f/sec brother milliband
    c of exchequer ed balls
    home sec a burnham
    chairman of party, joint chairmen including diane abbot

    i suggest rge above may help to unite labour

  • Comment number 8.

    I predict that the Ed/David relationship will be a reflection of the Blair/Brown "understanding" in that Ed will be leader for a given time with brother Dave waiting in the wings to have his turn when Ed is exhausted or thrown out by disillusioned members of his own Party after electoral setbacks.
    It's difficult to see Ed Miliband uniting the Labour Party, especially as his victory was, to say the least, unconvincing. I suspect that the Conservatives will be quietly relieved that David Miliband was unsuccessful.

  • Comment number 9.

    Nick, we need democracy in this country. In other words, we need the wishes of the people to be reflected in the actions of government. It is just plain untrue that in the STV system '...people's second and third preferences count as much as their first'. Your statement makes STV seem silly, but in actual fact a first preference will always influence the result, a second preference will be used rather less often, a third preference less often still, etc. In all cases, it beats the pants off first-past-the-post, which ensures, given that I live in a safe seat, that the one preference I'm allowed to indicate counts for absolutely nothing at all.

  • Comment number 10.

    What's that sound? 'Pop, pop, pop!'

    Ah yes the sound of champayne corks popping inside Conservative Central Office at the prospect of having the smarmy, arrogant younger of the two Millipede brothers supposedly holding them to account.

  • Comment number 11.

    Labour are now a very scary party. The return of trade unionism and the old winters of discontent.

    David was middle-of-the-road enough to not have to worry too much but Red Ed will have the shirts off the backs of anyone that does remotely well out of life by actually working for a living and daring to do so with any degree of success.

    Be afraid. I'll be making sure I have another country to escape to if he ever wins a general election.

  • Comment number 12.

    #4 you get real.

    The election results speak for themselves - he got in on union votes and if you live in the real world you would have realised that that support was not offered free of charge. There will be a price to pay and that means if Red ever wins the country will be run by the unions again.

    That's the one thing NL didn't sort out - the unions having a say in picking their leader.

  • Comment number 13.

    looks like its back to the kinnock era for labour,or should i say old labour!!!?

  • Comment number 14.

    Why on earth, half way through the announcement of the results "brought to you live on the BBC", did we have to be treated to your (as it happens innaccurate) prediction that David Milliband was now likely to win? This was only a fw minutes before the actual result, which being a secret ballot was (as you showed rather foolishly) by its nature not open to prediction.

    When your co-presenter asked for your opinion you should have answered, "It is impossible to predict. Let's wait and see" and not interrupt the experience of actually hearing the ACTUAL votes for those who are interested enough to watch this programme.

    We tune in primarily for the event itself - and not to hear Nick Robinson exercise his ego with, certainly in this case, utterly pointless guesses. You should have a word with your ego about this, and prevent it getting in the way in future.

  • Comment number 15.

    Fantastic result for the Tories. Well done Ed. You have instantly taken Labour into the wilderness for years to come.

  • Comment number 16.

    As a lib dem supporter I was happy for the lib dems and sad for labour at this result. I think that as the cuts bite and the unions go on strike against them (fair enough) many people will be turned off voting for the union backed ed milliband and if they were thinking about voting lib/lab they'll go lib. However I'm unhappy in a way as I could have been quite happy with the lib dems in a coalition with a david milliband led labour party. With ed in charge I'm not convinced but then again he could surprise me.

  • Comment number 17.

    For me the key take away is that Ed Miliband was elected with the support of the union movement and as you say that is a fact that will be shoved down over coming months.

    The key for the Coaltion will be to portray the unions (in particular the public sector unions) as self interested and unwilling to face the necessity of cutting public spending. If (and it is a big if) the Coalition can ensure it at least looks like "we are all in this together" there is a danger the Unions will over play their hand and drag poor Ed with them.

    In my opinion the Unions and Labour will not get away with a position of simply defending the status quo. Yes they will be able to mount impressive protests but a simplistic opposition agenda will not win Labour the seats they need in the south and east.

    In my view Labour and the Unions need to develop a comprehensive reform agenda.

  • Comment number 18.

    Is this a Michael Foot moment?
    Will we have constant speculation that Labour MPs would replace Ed with David as leader.

  • Comment number 19.


    The Tories must be chuckling with glee.

    (And the Miliband Brothers will NEVER overcome the poisonous animosity that Ed's 'victory' over his older brother will bring).

  • Comment number 20.

    @11 "..Ed will have the shirts off the backs of anyone that does remotely well out of life by actually working for a living.."

    Interesting. He won because he had the backing of people who actually DO work for a living, as opposed to professional politicians.

    The kneejerk reactions here from the tribally committed are predictable, but irrelevant. The future is there to be won - or lost - by Mr Cameron and Mr Miliband. Mr Clegg is so identified with Mr Cameron that he is now almost a cypher, though the other LibDem MPs are not. Now there IS an opposition they may have more leverage.

  • Comment number 21.

    Do you not think those tears could not have something to do with the pride he may feel for his brother? I know disappointed or not I would be brimming with pride if my brother had been up there.

  • Comment number 22.

    Very tough on David (and not my Ed, which was Balls) but my hunch is this is a good choice for Labour. He can communicate, this guy, and young people like him. He hits some stirring "reduce inequality!" notes (a belief in which is what the oft abused word progressive really means in the political context), so has some Left credentials, yet he will - I predict - prioritise winning the next election over all else.

  • Comment number 23.

    I'm out of the country at the moment. So confident was I that David would win that I havent even bothered following events. When I heard today I was devastated. This is a terrible day for Labour and their vote for Ed will ensure extra years in the wilderness. I find it strange that, having just seen the damage done by one left of centre statist, they then elect another. Furthermore won't it simply consolidate the Coalition? Writing here it sounds as though I am a Labour man but I never have been: it was just that, if David had become leader, I was indeed preparing to give them a try. . . . . But now?

  • Comment number 24.

    I'm sure we will at times see sniping from the ConDems suggesting Ed was not the rightful winner, requiring the votes of Trade Unions to sneak in. When that happens they would be advised to remember that neither one of their respective parties received a majority in the General Election, requiring shady deals in smoke-filled rooms (something which they had both assured us pre-election they were not in favour of) where they each jettisoned many of their manifesto policies.

    Actually, I'm just as concerned we will see the same sniping within the Labour party and they will be well advised to remember that what this country really needs is a strong opposition to prevent the ConDems riding roughshod over the interests of ordinary people.

    I hope they can put their internal squabbles aside and concentrate on taking on Clegg and Cameron - they are the only opposition left now that the LibDems have decided they quite like the Tories after all.

  • Comment number 25.

    Great prediction Mr Robinson, but, as a well known Irish quiz master was wont to say " not the right one ". Isn't it wonderful that the great party of the worker has elected a new leader ; who has never worked a single day in his life. Unless you call a spell pretending to be a TV reporter and then a spell as Emperor Blair's doormat. It will not be a good idea to sit too near the front for his acolytes either, or for political hacks to get too close, unless they want a bath, he sprays almost as well as dear old Hattersley, and makes just about as much sense. Cameron and Clegg must be thankful they have the width of the house between them and won't have to wear raincoats.

  • Comment number 26.

    #20 "He won because he had the backing of people who actually DO work for a living..."

    Er no. Please do not try to pretend that these people are "workers". Trade union leaders are professional politicians who masquerade as something else. It's been a long time since most of them did anything that involved creating a product for an employer and even then it was a stepping stone to their back-door political career (the safe one where you can't get voted out).

    Before you call anyone else tribal, please take a look in the mirror.

  • Comment number 27.

    All these comments about the unions electing Ed must be from be from people who haven't checked the election rules.

    Union/affiliated members votes count for only 1/3 of votes. Yes Ed was behind without these votes, however the 1/3 of votes for MPs/MEPs skews this somewhat.

    In addition, unions DON'T have a block vote. Each member votes individually in a secret ballot.

    However I'm sure this will all be ignored by the usual suspects in the right wing media

  • Comment number 28.

    @25, People who resort to very personal insults say nothing about their subject, but plenty about themselves!

    MIliband E may have a speech impediment, but in the end he won because he enthused REAL Labour supporters. The days of the union block vote are gone.

  • Comment number 29.

    'Red Ed & The Unions'.

    Coming to a working man's club near YOU!

    Dear oh dear, what a laughable opposition to Government they will be. The British public are largely moderate. This is a lurch to the left that will make the Labour Party - thankfully - unelectable.

  • Comment number 30.

    "if Red ever wins, the country will be run by the unions" - chris @ 12

    Unlikely. Not the first bit, the second bit.

    First bit is very likely indeed.

  • Comment number 31.

    Well done Ed !

    Tories up and down the country will be comforted that the unreformed and unrepentant old Labour party is now out of power for a generation.

    Sorry for big brother David who might have been a much more formidable opponent in the confines of the coping classes, who now have no alternative to the coalition, which is performing as much more than the sum of its parts.

    Pity the poor BBC, who will be even more out on a limb if they carry out their threat to censor the coming Tory party conference...

  • Comment number 32.


    Blimey, you don't want much, do you?

    5 candidates, all very well known to Labour members, isn't exactly conducive to a clear-cut margin of victory. Come on, mate, Ed's victory is not compromised by its' narrowness in the circumstances.

    As Spurs505(#27) rightly adds, there is NO trade union block vote, any more than I, as a member, had to follow what my CLP recommended. So Tories everywhere can forget that one right now. No individual unionist or party member knows how any other member of their section voted, either.

    I also seem to remember laughing along with most of the media when the Tories themselves went for some fresh-looking guy I'd never heard of instead of David "safe/obvious/most feared by the other side choice" Davies. No hope.

    And where's that unknown now-10 Downing Street, I believe. Lightning often does strike twice in the same place.

  • Comment number 33.

    While its true that the unions dont have a block vote, the fact that they sent out voting forms with an extra page saying "please vote for Ed Miliband" does suggest to me that the voting percentages could be influenced a bit.

  • Comment number 34.

    @26 The facts have been pointed out now, by @27 amongst others, so apologise please for getting it wrong and being so arrogant about it.

    Incidentally, I am an EX Labour Party member, so you can't really call me tribal. I resigned about a decade ago because Tony Blair refused to abolish the block vote, but instead used it to gerrymander the London and Welsh leadership elections. I have rather enjoyed being a floating voter since.

    I have no intention of rejoining Labour in the near future, as my first preference these days would be Green.

  • Comment number 35.

    Further to StephenLClark at #14 I changed channels when Nick Robinson started talking over the result to make an ultimately wrong prediction of DM's victory. This was by the way the same Nick Robinson who had earlier gently ridiculed Sky for having made a prediction during the declaration of the last Labour deputy leadership election - that Alan Johnson had won that! Oh dear.

  • Comment number 36.

    Now lets see some constructive work by Ed Milliband in implementing labour's manifesto plege for a referendum on the AV/ Proportional representation.
    Labour needs to get behind the YES campaign and vote for a referendum at the 3rd reading in the commons

  • Comment number 37.

    When he steps into number 10, Ed Miliband will be our first ever PM educated at Havistock Comprehensive school. How much better to have a member of our intellectual elite in the top job rather than - as now - a member of our social elite. The replacement of the one by the other (of Eton College by Havistock Comp) will be symbolic; a message that we value brains over bullingdon, intelligence over interior decoration. This is a healthy message.

  • Comment number 38.

    First..the egg on your face came from completely drowning out the 2 nd and 3rd stages whilst getting it wrong ! Why can't commentators know when NOT TO.
    Secondly...If we had heard the details we would see that contrary to the westminster village view even us thickies out here could understand how the vote worked and it meant everyones votes counted! Bring it on for national elections.

  • Comment number 39.

    Congratulations Ed. I am quite pleased that he will be primeminister in a few years. First jobs Ed.
    1. Support any genuine achievments of the current govt (there wont be many).
    2. ATTACK and confront whenever possible this nightmare of a coalition.
    3. Formulate Strong and progressive policies that protect the most vunerable, encourage the poor and address monetary inequality as a priority. Deficit reduction, but morally thought through.
    4. Be passionate. Dont be intimidated by the majority right wing press. Murdoch et al. Remember that you were elected from the left of the labour party aswell. dont be ashamed of the trade union connection. they represent thousands of working class people. Traditional labour voters who feel abandoned.
    5. PROMOTE GREEN ISSUES. Promote manufacturing.
    6. make sure that the banks work for the people/small business. ensure tax avoidance is addressed. dont be put off by the wave of academic guff that suggests and clouds the pure moral issue of the wealthy paying their fair share of tax.
    7. Do everything you can to support ken livingstones bid for re-election as mayor. the time for comedic tomfoolery (BJ) is over. the time to protect the most vunerable is already long overdue (SINCE THE CONDEM NIGHTMARE). the mayoral race is more ideological than ever before. a labour mayor will be a bedrock for you.

  • Comment number 40.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 41.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 42.

    Anyone who thinks that Ed Miliband will be a 'lefty' Labour leader will be sadly disappointed.

    Ed, and the people around him, are too experienced and know that elections are won from the centre. I predict that now he is leader he will unite the party in an attack on the cuts of the Con/Dem government and develop sensible, moderate alternative policies that will attract the support of the public.

    I also predict that he will be the next Prime Minister in 4 and a bit years time. The route back to government for the Labour Party starts here.

    Congratulations Ed. The whole of the Labour movement is behind you.

  • Comment number 43.

    This is a complete disaster and the worst of all worlds. We now have a labour party leader who was not wanted either by the parliamentary party or by ordinary members.

    Don't the trade unions and trade union members ever want to get back into power? Our best (only?) hope for this is for Ed to fall on his sword, which isn't going to happen.

    No wonder the Tories are delighted. They left an open goal and labour missed it.

    Very Distressed Labour Party Member

  • Comment number 44.

    40. novoludo
    blimey. could have put it better myself.

  • Comment number 45.

    42. vor
    Ed, and the people around him, are too experienced and know that elections are won from the centre.
    true. but the labour parties heart and soul has always been based on left wing, moral and fair values.

  • Comment number 46.

    Since it is so close perhaps the Ed and Dave could do the fashionable thing and form a coalition?

  • Comment number 47.


    That's a fair point re the leaflet ONE union sent out.

    However, I doubt most members would automatically take that recommendation for granted. I speak as an ex-Unionist(I'm now retired) when I say the leadership can recommend anything, but whether the membership then takes a blind bit of notice is altogether a different kettle of fish!

    Like most of us, trades unionists will have asked What's in it for ME, and you don't even need to be on-line to've found out chapter and verse on that & most other issues from all five candidates.

    Plus, of course, some members aren't even Labour voters & never have been, so they may have gone & voted for the candidate least likely, which sure as heck wasn't Ed Miliband!

  • Comment number 48.

    atcham jack wrote @ 7:
    "... pm ed milliband
    f/sec brother milliband
    c of exchequer ed balls
    home sec a burnham
    chairman of party, joint chairmen including diane abbot"

    Shadows, Jack, ..... it's all shadows!

  • Comment number 49.

    43. JH
    Ideologically i see where you are coming from. But i believe Ed was the best candidate of true left but centrist enough to get enough votes to get rid of this appalling coalition. (check out what eds dads politics were and what he has been brought up understanding).
    of course many in the party would like to have a real deal left winger.
    but as the priority is to get rid of the tories as soon as possible the party needs to work in the game to achieve this. unfortunately.

    the game being the media allowed narrow bubble of acceptability.

  • Comment number 50.

    i meant, couldnt have put it better myself. Mr kronenbourgs fault.

  • Comment number 51.

    JH741 - get a grip man!

    Ed has plenty of time to become an effective leader and to move the Labour Party on from the Blair / Brown years. We will likely get Balls as Shadow Chancellor and he will regularly humiliate the intellectually feeble Osborne.

    The coalition's economic policies will be a disaster, and it will become increasingly obvious that their main aims have nothing to do with the deficit but are about trying to permanently dismantle the public sector and further redistribute wealth from poor to rich (Cameronism is of course simply Thatcherism with a human face).

    Clegg and the LibDems are political toast. Their natural supporters will never again vote for a party that gave them right wing crazies like Osborne and Gove. And for providing the human face for such a nakedly political attack on large sections of our country. I know many LibDems who have vowed "never again" and who will vote Labour.

    Labour really is in a mood to unite now, if only because everyone is simply exhausted by the infighting of the last years. And of course, despite the hysterics of the Murdoch media, Ed is moderate and there is little to divide the major figures in the party now. Especially in the face of the ideological extremism of the Tories and LibDems.

    The Government will fall sometime in 2012 latest when the LibDems in the country can no longer hold their noses at the idiotic economic and social savagery being perpetrated by the coalition. One Ed Miliband will stand a very good chance at that point of becoming the next PM.

  • Comment number 52.

    "When he steps into number 10, Ed Miliband will be our first ever PM educated at Havistock Comprehensive school. How much better to have a member of our intellectual elite in the top job rather than - as now - a member of our social elite. The replacement of the one by the other (of Eton College by Havistock Comp) will be symbolic; a message that we value brains over bullingdon, intelligence over interior decoration. This is a healthy message." (Saga, 37)

    Oh, you little tease, Saga.
    Did our David get his Oxbridge First Class Hons. by spending his time socialising? They do tell me you need to do a bit of work and be a bit bright to get an Oxbridge 1st.
    Perhaps you subscribe to Ed's 'added value' status.

  • Comment number 53.

    I personally do not understand where this fear of trade unions comes from. Surely, any intelligent person is a member of one and that in essence they represent a great number of ordinary people who value their rights. They are not some 'group' that cast a negative shadow or threaten the standing of anyone. If anything, they represent all that is good about politics - people who desire to be heard and defend those who need it. Let's not start viewing trade unions as Thatcher or Major did. I personally got a bit tired of the phone taps on my father's phone line as a child. Who'd of thought a teacher would be so threatening?

  • Comment number 54.

    Never subscribed to the 'better red with Ed' argument
    - Ed is definitely not a Communist (with either a big C or a little c); but is he a Socialist?
    We have a right to know!

  • Comment number 55.

    JOHN - you can't spell CHAMPAGNE love. Bless

  • Comment number 56.

    There could only conceivably been one winner from the Miliband stable.

    Who in their right mind would want to be ruled by Big Brother.

    Orwell would have smiled wryly that his prediction was 16 years out.

  • Comment number 57.

    Slow down. "That's the perils of live telly for you."

    Either "Those are the perils of live telly.." or "That's the peril of live telly.."

  • Comment number 58.

    40. At 8:27pm on 25 Sep 2010, novoludo wrote:

    When(if?) they get around to thinking, the right wing Tories and LibDems will realise that Labour have made the right choice in selecting a man with almost no baggage from the Blair / Brown years.

    I think this is the key point. I might distil Iraq out of that too.

    A rich seam of attack will now become closed off to the coalition, leaving them only with the option of attempting to use 'Trades Unions' as dirty words, and falsely claiming that labour has lurched to the left. I consider it quite possible that if the coalition does use the latter attacks it might come across as them moving to the right and viewing workers rights with contempt.

    Ed should find it easier to say, "Same old Tories", than David.

  • Comment number 59.

    31. At 7:57pm on 25 Sep 2010, MapleB wrote:

    "Tories up and down the country will be comforted that the unreformed and unrepentant old Labour party is now out of power for a generation."

    Well you could be right, hope you are, otherwise it's going to be hard job to get rid of thet dried up egg yolk by off the Tories faces up and down the country. In fact it will probably take a whole generation and and at least 30 face flannels.

    Btw - Not so many Tories up the country than down. So only 3 of the 30 flannels will need to be distributed Northwards with only one being transported all the way to Scotland.

  • Comment number 60.


    Novoludo is living in cloud cuckoo land if he/she believes any of this. Ed M has little chance of beating Cameron.

  • Comment number 61.

    I didn't vote for Ed...but he is a MP who gets it. Expect alot of movement on climate change and re-organisation of the Party, making it fit-for-purpose in the next few years. I voted for David...but I'm willing to give Ed a he will be up against a PR specialist and his Deputy who obviously lacks any moral integrity.

  • Comment number 62.

    In order to get elected you say what you think the electorate wants to hear. His brother, David, had the support of the Blairites and Brownites have evaporated, so he had to appeal to the only other sector of the Labour Party that could deliver enough votes - the unions.

    He also knows that the public will never trust a Labour Party that has as its leading lights too many associated with either Blair or Brown. A clean out of the hierachy is needed (whether they deserve it or not) so relying too much on the support of the old cabinet is not a good idea.

    Now that he is elected he can do what he wants. A few Unions going on strike will be good for him. He can support some of their reasons (eg wrong cuts that affect people's lives) but deplore their methods. In fact he can do whatever he wants in the same way that David Cameron apparently ignored the right wing of his party in order to attract the centre ground. We now know that this was just for show, but DC did what he had to do to get himself elected. Ed will try the same trick. So what will the message be?

    If recovery happens too quickly, the claim will be that the cuts had been unnecessarily hard. If we are not doing so well, it will be because the cuts were too hard and too quick. If, however, there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel then ED doesn't stand a chance.

    Cameron didn't nearly win an election. Brown lost it. It will be the same for Ed and DC.

    Red ED? We won't know until he has got himself elected.

  • Comment number 63.

    Not sure what Ed's real views are tbh as he may just have been playing up to the left to get the union vote but if he is more to the left and this is the end of New Labour then they have no chance of getting back into power imo, Tony Blair won 3 landslides by taking Labour away from the left and into the centre ground and had he stayed in office im convinced it would be a Lib-Lab coalition tbh, The tories must be breaking open the Champagne in CCHQ tonight if that is the case for me.

  • Comment number 64.

    Well, well. A labour leader in the pocket of the unions, who will surely expect recompense. What is most informative is that he has a "partner" and not a wife, so he isn't worried about the breakdown of society in the UK, unlike most of the floating voters.

    The Conservatives should all have big grins this evening.

  • Comment number 65.

    "if Red (Ed Miliband) ever wins (P.M.), the country will be run by the unions" (chris @ 12)
    "Unlikely. Not the first bit, the second bit. First bit is very likely indeed." (saga, 30)
    I concur with Saga's 'second bit'; the unions would not run the country, the unions' 'servants of the people' would run the country, perhaps under the gentle direction of the union leaders.
    Btw, can you think of any country that WAS actually run by 'the unions'? - and it's surely inconceivable that they would have had 'front-men' amongst OUR politicians.

  • Comment number 66.

    The national media, including Nick here, always seek out style over content. Ed Miliband was the most photogenic out of the 5 contenders. We now have 3 party leaders who each represent close to the most photogenic male their party has to offer. Suits the media - they don't have to deal with the presentation of any complex political issues, just personalities, photo opportunities and soundbites. Perfect.

  • Comment number 67.

    11. At 7:06pm on 25 Sep 2010, chris911t wrote:

    Labour are now a very scary party. The return of trade unionism and the old winters of discontent.
    Be afraid. I'll be making sure I have another country to escape to if he ever wins a general election.
    Oh Lordy, where did I put those candles?.......the prospect of labour moving left, towards the centre, is sooooooooo scary.

    I'm with you and the bankers - how's your yodelling?

  • Comment number 68.

    When electing a new leader there are always positives and negatives.

    On the positives, Labour now has a leader who ran a truly fantastic campaign, who is young, unburned by the events of the past, and very much focused on the core values that under pin the party. This will please the party members and strengthen the relationship with the unions.

    On the negative side Labour will now face a challenge. When any party suffers a setback, as the party did in May, the traditional attitude is to return to safe ground. As I said this result will please the party members, but sadly this isn't how you win power. In the UK today if any party is to win power they must not only appeal to their core voters, but critically appeal to the middle class and middle income voters across the country. The trouble the party faces with Ed, with is traditional views, is can he convince these voters that he is the right choice...

    Personally I think the jury is very much out.. I voted for David as I believe you need to be brave in times of hurt, and push forward not back. Like all party members I will do everything i can for the party. My worry though is summoned up by something a friend, who isn’t in to politics, said to me tonight... when I asked what they thought of Ed they simply said "He's nice"... he then rather worryingly said "he reminds me a bit of William Hague in terms of style"... Let’s hope for Ed's sake he lasts longer..

  • Comment number 69.

    JH741 #51: "Ed M has little chance of beating Cameron." Would you care to tell us WHY?

    Fair enough, if you believe that the rapid deficit reduction plan will be an economic success, and the huge bias in the attacks on the public sector and the most vulnerable will not be noticed - you may be right. But it is extremely unlikely that the Coalition can pursue such foolish economic and social policies without hitting major turbulence and becoming extremely unpopular. Or that the decent LibDems who still remain in the party will be able to stand it.

    Ed is moderate, Labour will be united, and the sheer unpopularity of the current Government combined with the political suicide of the LibDems (they will 15% of the vote at the next election if they are lucky) - got to give Labour a decent chance. Especially as Ed will have done such a good job of creating a clean break from the Blair / Brown past. That voters in 2012 will be concerned about a return to the 1970s (when half of them weren't born) is simply wishful thinking on the part of the Tories / Murdoch media.

  • Comment number 70.

    nick talked right over the second round announcement, to tell us David had won!

    And then Emily Maitlis talked of "securing" Ed's first words. Securing from whom?

    I watched the pictures and turned on radio 4 for the sound.

  • Comment number 71.

    Nick, when next commentating on a live event you would do well to follow Richie Benaud's advice:

    "The most important is if you can't add to the picture on the screen then shut up."

  • Comment number 72.

    I love Junkkmale's reference to the political 'infirmament'. Whether deliberate or not, it's a coinage that deserves wider currency.

  • Comment number 73.

    Well, I was enjoying the drama of the rounds unfolding until Nick Robinson and colleague decide to provide a superfluous voice over that drowned out the announcement of rounds 2,3 and much of 4.


  • Comment number 74.

    I completely agree with #14 & #38, talking over the event people actually tuned into see with utter meaningless, inaccurate and self indulgent drivel is not exactly good journalism Nick!
    As for your comment during the programme about David looking happy and Ed looking sad, did it ever occur to you that Ed might be trying to hide his joy at winning and David might not want to be seen to be sulking due to his brothers victory? Surely this is obvious to someone who is paid to be an expert in poilitical commentary? You only had to watch how Ed Balls was sucking up to Ed Miliband throughout the announcement to see that Ed Miliband had indeed won!
    When theres no one whispering insider information in your ear it appears you're not a very insightful political commentator!

  • Comment number 75.

    Nick states that 'Ed Miliband responded by saying that he would lead "a responsible opposition" which would work with the government where they could.'

    I predict that Miliband Jnr won't follow through on this: opposition for opposition's sake will prove irresistible to him and his party. Particularly if he selects the objectionable Ed Balls to be Shadow Chancellor.

    Crunch time will come if and when the unions strike in the winter. Given that union votes gave Miliband Jnr victory, he won't be able to speak out against them. Speaking as a victim of Bob Crow's semi-regular crusades, I can say that strikes aren't popular among the ordinary public. If the electorate sees that the opposition leader is, effectively, endorsing disruption I doubt he will enjoy a favourable poll rating.

    All in all, not a bad result for the Tories. However, short of electing Diane Abbott or Ed Balls, Labour couldn't have reached a disastrous decision. Cuts are going to bring about hardship and any leader of the opposition (except for odious characters like the two mentioned above) can simply play on the electorate's understandable anxiety. Such a tactic might enjoy success, particularly if the public forgets which party presided over the crisis in the first place.

  • Comment number 76.

    "Isn't it wonderful that the great party of the worker has elected a new leader ; who has never worked a single day in his life. Unless you call a spell pretending to be a TV reporter and then a spell as Emperor Blair's doormat.
    It will not be a good idea to sit too near the front for his acolytes either...unless they want a bath, he sprays almost as well as dear old Hattersley..." (kaybraes wrote @ 25)
    OK, so Ed, and Mr Hattersley, and Gordon, and Two Jags were all a bit challenged in the verbal/erudition stakes - it just goes to show that a bit of 'physical' can make up for a lack of the 'verbal'.

    But you can't say that TV reporter, policy wonk, MP and Government minister is not WORK - limited perhaps, but still work. The people without experience of work are those who haven't been able to get a job, and we all know why.

    If two Eds are better than one, any Labour party education policy for state schools should have benefited if both came from 'comprehensives'; however Ed 'went across the creek' Balls chose Public school whereas Ed the Red chose Haverstock Comprehensive - now 'Haverstock School Business and Enterprise College' ( - you couldn't make it up!).

  • Comment number 77.

    Nick Robinson.

    "What clinched the contest was the votes of union members - a fact that will be deployed ruthlessly by his political enemies."

    yes, Baroness Warsi has not lost a moment to make a start on it. IMO, she is an excellent example of everything that is wrong with politics today: career opportunists whose interest consists mainly of serving their own interests above all else.

    as for Ed Miliband, I'd like to think he does care about people in general but fear that, like Barack Obama, he'll get bogged down in endless compromises and concessions until the policies he seeks to implement are so diluted, they won't be worth having.

  • Comment number 78.

    "That's the perils of live telly for you." --->
    Either "Those are the perils of live telly.." or
    "That's the peril of live telly.." (Tom wrote @57)
    Tom, would that be pedantv ?

  • Comment number 79.

    Here we go again.Red Ed. Those of us that remember the 60,s 70,s 80,s of union control of Labour Members of Parliment. Mr Cameron must be toasting the result. Labour moving to the left and in control of its paymasters. Just think what it maybe like if he runs the country. I think after some time they will get rid of him and put his brother in, the maybe they have chance. To many people in the country remember Scargill, Red Jones etc. Now we have Bob Crow in the same mould.

  • Comment number 80.

    22. sagamix

    'He can communicate, this guy, and young people like him'


    I take exception to that last part. It's a sweeping generalisation.

    For a start, many young people will most likely never have heard of him. Secondly, and crucially, the only policy pledge of his which I can think of that directly affects young people is the graduate tax. The twitterati (or whatever...) and various NUS bods seem enthused but I wouldn't be so sure it's going to prove to be popular.

    We already have a tax linked to earnings: it's called income tax. To impose another on those who use their degree to boost their employability strikes me as wrong, even if it is labelled "progressive". Those I know who have either recently left university, are still studying or hope to gain a place don't regard it as a good idea. They don't see it as fair that a successful student might have to pay more than the cost of their degree to subsidise someone else. These sceptics are all young people who either vote now or will do when they are allowed to. None will vote for Ed Miliband, in no small part due to his support for a graduate tax.

  • Comment number 81.

    "Orwell would have smiled wryly that his prediction was 16 years out." (56)
    He would have smiled even more wryly that your calculation was 10 years out.

  • Comment number 82.

    The 'clean break':
    Tactically, Ed Miliband should form a shadow cabinet where NONE of incumbants of office during the New Labour years has a seat at his table.
    He has time enough to do this and get the new faces sufficiently well known to make a fight of it in four years time.

  • Comment number 83.

    One of the first things Ed needs to do in this global infermament, is to press for the bankers' bonuses to be subject to external moderation.

  • Comment number 84.

    52. At 9:17pm on 25 Sep 2010, GeoffWard wrote:
    "Did our David get his Oxbridge First Class Hons. by spending his time socialising? They do tell me you need to do a bit of work and be a bit bright to get an Oxbridge 1st."

    Yes, very bright indeed. But you need to be extremely bright with more than a little self motivation to get to Oxford via a comp school (as good as it may be), as opposed to the special education bestowed upon you at Eton.

  • Comment number 85.

    Nick, as with a few other comments, I was disappointed to hear you talk over the second, third and some of the fourth round of results and even more disappointed with your "prediction" that David Milliband had won. Surely most viewers interested enough to watch a political announcement on a Saturday afternoon were interested enough to hear the results themselves rather than you. Your job is to report the news, not talk over it and you had plenty of pre and post annoucement time to share your views with the nation. Although I am not a Labour supporter, if I was I would be feel very let down by your coverage.

  • Comment number 86.

    76. At 10:18pm on 25 Sep 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    "Isn't it wonderful that the great party of the worker has elected a new leader ; who has never worked a single day in his life.
    Didn't anyone tell you that Osborne did actually get the chancellor's job - I know, it's crazy - but he did.

  • Comment number 87.

    Of the three parts to the electoral college, the union members is the one closest to the unaligned electorate (other two being hardened labour party activists and serving MPs), thus there's a good case for saying Ed Miliband's clear win in this section is a big positive as regards the chances of the general public taking him to their hearts.

  • Comment number 88.

    #42. At 8:30pm on 25 Sep 2010, Voice_of_Reason wrote:

    "Congratulations Ed. The whole of the Labour movement is behind you."

    Errrr.... no, they aren't, is that just the point?

    I think you'll find only about 51% are actually.....

  • Comment number 89.

    "Particularly if he selects the objectionable Ed Balls to be Shadow Chancellor." - @ 75

    Coop for chancellor, I think. Balls at the home office. David M, if he can force himself, to be foreign sec. With Ed as PM, this means the big four will know each other extremely well. Just 2 households. Could backfire but if it works, it will really work. Be able to read each other perfectly. Finish each other's sentences. Very cohesive - the political equivalent of the Spanish midfield.

  • Comment number 90.

    Why shouldn't trade unionists vote by ballot for the leader of the Labour Party? The unions set up the party, affiliate to it, fund it and campaign for it at elections.

    It is good thing that thousands of workers voted by secret ballot for their party leader, I only wish the parliamentary party paid more heed to wishes of the mass of members.

    I presume critics think only MPs, Murdoch and friends, tax exiles and various city types can be interested/influence politics in the UK.

  • Comment number 91.

    Looking at things cynically and slightly dispassionately, it remains true that VERY few of our political leaders in any party have ever done a real job. VC is one obvious exception; Ed M, alas, is not. That being said, he did run a grassroots campaign which mobilised union MEMBERS to vote for him or place him - very impressive.

    As for "Oxbridge First Class Hons" I don't rate PPE, though there seem to be many of the current crop of politicos who've done it. I always felt it was a degree for people who want to boss other people around rather than acquiring a useful skill - more an initiation into the priesthood of power than a rigorous course. Vernon Bogdanor described his ex-student David Cameron as "brilliant", but, let's face it, you can't do anything to much more than first year undergraduate level in the time available.

    At least Ed M has an M.Sc in Economics as well as his PPE degree and is famously numerate. It's time to wait and see what he does with it!

  • Comment number 92.

    I hope that Ed distances himself from the unions. Some may argue that they voted Ed in as he has less chance of getting Labour back into power. After all, the likes of Bob Crow thrive on bashing Tory policies and would be more or less redundant under a Labour govt.

    Stay away from them Ed!

  • Comment number 93.

    Number of votes cast for leader of the Tory Party: 198,000
    Number of votes cast for leader of the Labour Party: 1 million +

    Union membership 6.7 million
    CBI membership 200,000 (approx)

    Final round voting
    MPs 53.4% DM....46.6% EM
    Members 54.4% DM...45.6% EM
    Unions 40.2% DM... 59.8% EM

    Baroness Warsi....elected by nobody at all.

    Aint democracy wonderful.

  • Comment number 94.

    I'm really happy. There were lots of things I didn't like about Blair's New Labour and I didn't want a re-run of that. It's old hat so I'm pleased we might get something and someone new.

  • Comment number 95.

    If Ed Miliband was a true Labourite, he would have borrowed a few more per cent to win the vote and then left it to someone else to clean up the mess.

  • Comment number 96.

    89. sagamix

    Rather ahead of yourself there, I'm afraid. You forget to preface each job with the crucial word 'shadow'. The public decided in May that Labour should no longer be in office.

    Not sure about the Spanish midfield comparison either. In fact, I am sure: it doesn't work, on any level. The key point is that the Spanish midfield is awash with talent. The same can't be said of the putative Shadow Cabinet.

    Your suggestion that Balls shouldn't be Shadow Chancellor is no doubt correct. But rather than putting him in as Shadow Home Secretary, how about giving Andy Burnham a crack? I see him as slightly less offensive than most of those angling for jobs.

    There is of course the possibility of a humorous appointment or two. Why not put Diane Abbott in as Shadow Foreign Secretary or Shadow Defence Secretary? That should be good for a laugh. Also, I hear there's a popular, talented backbencher from a Scottish constituency who might be prepared to take on a big job. The only issue is that he's busy teaching over in America at the moment...

  • Comment number 97.

    86. At 11:04pm on 25 Sep 2010, Billythefirst wrote:
    76. At 10:18pm on 25 Sep 2010, GeoffWard wrote:
    "Isn't it wonderful that the great party of the worker has elected a new leader ; who has never worked a single day in his life.
    Without wishing to call you a bufoon, I said no such thing!

  • Comment number 98.

    91. At 11:35pm on 25 Sep 2010, Sasha Clarkson wrote:
    "As for "Oxbridge First Class Hons" I don't rate PPE,.."
    With respect, Sasha, if Oxford, Cambridge and the other great universities of the world 'rate' Politics, and Philosophy, and Economics (PPE), then that's good enough for me!

  • Comment number 99.

    At last Labour has a leader that is not a cardboard cut-out Tory.
    No wonder all the Right wingers are so bitter, they are worried that the working classes will start supporting the Labour party again and vote the propped up Tories out.

  • Comment number 100.

    Why are people saying that Ed Milliband is photogenic? He looks like a fat gerbil to me!


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