Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ed Miliband is elected leader of the Labour Party.

Well, I really didn't see this coming.

Ed Miliband is the new Labour leader, it has been announced at a special conference in Manchester.

He beat brother David by the wafer thin margin of 50.65% to 49.35% after second, third and fourth preference votes came into play.

Ed Balls was third, Andy Burnham fourth and Diane Abbott last in the ballot of MPs, members and trade unionists.

Mr Miliband, 40, replaces acting leader Harriet Harman in the contest triggered by the resignation of Gordon Brown.
I think that's great news. I had hoped for Ed but thought the party would embrace David because he was much more the New Labour candidate than Ed was.

At last there is a sliver of difference between the Tories and the Labour party and, come the next election, with what I fully expect to be the complete collapse of any left wing support going towards the Liberal Democrats, Ed has a chance of becoming the next Prime Minister.

And, until then, Labour will at least have a left wing voice to offer as an alternative to Cameron and Clegg's. He campaigned on "turning the page on New Labour"and beginning to work at taking back the Labour heartland, lost during the Blair years, especially in places like Glasgow East.

The newspapers will, predictably, define him as "red Ed", but I think the public are intelligent enough to see past this name calling.

Blair made it very clear that he wanted to see David elected as Labour leader and this rejection appears to mean that Blair's hold on the party is well and truly over. And not a moment too soon.

In his victory speech, he vowed to unify the party, telling delegates: "The Labour Party in the future must be a vehicle that doesn't just attract thousands of young people but tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of young people who see us as their voice in British politics today."

He paid tribute to his predecessors Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, but added: "We lost the election and we lost it badly. My message to the country is this: I know we lost trust, I know we lost touch, I know we need to change.

"Today a new generation has taken charge of Labour, a new generation that understands the call to change."

I am surprised, I really thought David would squeak past Ed. But I couldn't be happier with the result.

Click here for full article.

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