Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Exhibiting political leadership in Britain

Steven Erlanger and Stephen Castle, writing in The New York Times, think that Labour's leader, Ed Milliband, like the Tory and Lib Dem leaders, is unpopular and ineffective. How does Milliband compare to other opposition leaders?

Labour Party Finding Fault With Its Leader
Ed Miliband, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, appeared to have Prime Minister David Cameron on the ropes. Mr. Cameron had just lost a vote in Parliament on a nonbinding motion to consider military action in Syria…

Ed Miliband
But Mr. Miliband, whose own position on the issue kept shifting, did not seize the moment, neither that night, Aug. 29, nor in the next days. He neither spoke convincingly to the nation about the nature of its alliances, its foreign policy or its values, nor did he attack Mr. Cameron effectively for mismanaging the entire issue. In a sense, both major party leaders showed themselves unable to master their own restive parties.

After three years as head of Labour, Mr. Miliband, just 43, has not managed to convince the British public that he is prime ministerial material…

John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, said… that polling shows that “Mr. Miliband is clearly not a help to his party and he may well be a hindrance.” The coalition government of the Conservative Mr. Cameron and the Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg is unpopular, Mr. Curtice said, but there are deep doubts among voters about whether Mr. Miliband believes in anything very strongly…

Mr. Cameron and Mr. Clegg are not themselves especially popular. Mr. Clegg is considered to have sacrificed crucial elements of his electoral agenda to get his party into the governing coalition, and is clearly the junior player to Mr. Cameron.

Mr. Cameron has overseen tough years of economic austerity and recession, and he is being outflanked on the right by an anti-European party known as the United Kingdom Independence Party, or UKIP.

Mr. Curtice thinks that Labour should be significantly farther ahead in the polls than now; its lead over the Tories has shrunk considerably since early summer. Still, he said, given an electoral system that favors Labour because of the distribution of its voters, the unpopularity of the Liberal Democrats and slippage of Conservative votes to UKIP, “the Labour Party might win by default.”

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At 9:03 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

Labour Leader Tries to Energize Party for Britain’s Next Election

Hoping to woo disillusioned voters after three years in the opposition, Ed Miliband, the leader of the Labour Party, promised on Tuesday to freeze energy bills and cut taxes on small companies by squeezing more from big business…

Mr. Miliband addressed criticism of his leadership and attacked the government of Prime Minister David Cameron, saying that it would channel the fruits of Britain’s nascent economic recovery to the rich…

Mr. Miliband said he would relish a debate with Mr. Cameron about leadership and character. Mr. Cameron and his Conservatives, Mr. Miliband said, would engineer a “recovery for the few,” not for the majority of Britons.
“They used to say, ‘A rising tide lifts all boats,’ ” he said. “Now the rising tide just seems to lift yachts.”…


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