With recent polls suggesting Labour have between a 10-15 point lead over Conservatives, you may expect them to just continue as they are doing. With disputes between Conservative MPs and open anger among Lib Dem supporters damaging the current coalition, you could be mistaken to think that Labour intend to stick to their current action, but this is not the case. Ed has begun attempts to not only make the Labour party a credible alternative to the current government, but also to make him a more respected leader in the eyes of the public. Former shadow chancellor Alan Johnson recently warned Ed Miliband there was no point finding people to listen to you if you have nothing to say. Watching this conference you can only assume that this advice has been listened to as Labour now have got plenty to say.
What is rather strange about current opinion polls is that despite Labour’s current success in the polls, David Cameron is still seen by the British public as a more favorable leader to Ed Miliband. For the first time in polling history a party ahead in the polls has a leader who is less popular than their competitor. With promises that he will return the top rate of tax to 50p from 45p, Ed Miliband is attempting to raise his profile among voter. While this remains to be seen, this conference shows that there are actually other credible candidates for future leader of the party.
The young politician Chuka Umunna continues to impress since he entered parliament two and a half years ago. He has been one of a few Labour politicians to acknowledge their previous 13 years in government, pointing out the good but also not ignoring the bad of the Blairite and Brown years. The point that stood out the most for me and others was when he said that employment is evidence of systematic failure of policies by governments (both Labour and Conservative). Such bold statements, which criticise his own party’s past, but also praise their past success when many other Labour politicians ignore why they lost the last general election, show why this man’s future in government will go beyond the general election in 2015.
With papers speculating that Cameron’s leadership is under threat by Boris Johnson, Ed Miliband should take note of a politician who will remain no doubt aspire to lead the very party he currently leads. So to anyone saying that Ed Miliband can relax, you are mistaken. With the public questioning his leadership qualities, Ed Miliband must use this conference highlight that he is the man to not only lead his party into government in 2015, but the man to lead them into government with a majority.