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Amol Rajan: The limits of Lemonia

Posted by Eagle Eye
  • Tuesday, 20 October 2009 at 11:25 am
Rachel Sylvester suggests this morning that the Milibands concoct their own version of the Granita pact by heading down to Lemonia, their local Greek place in Primrose Hill.

The food there is pretty good, and though there are cheaper (and better) Greek restaurants all over London, there's a nice buzz to the place.  Plus it's cheaper than Odette's next door.

The trouble with Sylvester's column is that she seems to recommend the Milibands get together before the election, as if their doing so (with David as leader and Ed running his campaign) could stop the Tories winning.

This misunderstands the mood of the electorate.  All the polls show a strong anti-Labour sentiment among the public.  It's true that Brown, who seems more like Richard Nixon by the day, epitomises much of what Labour is unpopular for.  So getting rid of Brown could help Labour, by making the election more about Labour and less about Brown. But that is a long way short of winning the election.

Most of the public only know David Miliband as the man with banana.  He does not have time between now and next summer to build a positive reputation among the public. (It takes at least year to obtain an emotional contract with the electorate). Most of the press are certain to back the Tories at the next election, and he can't be guaranteed very favourable coverage. He would be (mis)represented as a toothless dweeb, a policy wonk with no cojones.

Cameron, by contrast, has had four years to create a public persona.  If he was up against Miliband, both of them purporting to represent the 'change' vote, he would be much more convincing. The decision Labour party members must make is not which new leader will win them the election, but whether a new leader will reduce their losses. If they answer 'yes' to the latter question, a new Lemonia pact won't save them.  Instead they should send for the postman.

Comments

send for the postman
alanski wrote:
Tuesday, 20 October 2009 at 04:28 pm (UTC)
Loved that one. What postman? Aren't they all going on strike? As for the Millibands to coin an Americanism they're toast! The Iraq and Afghanistan wars put paid to that and this followed by the economic disaster. I suggest they take a long holiday somewhere in the Med where they'll be treated kindly.
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