Something is troubling the Maily Telegraph’s deputy editor Benedict “famous last words” Brogan. And that something is the real world, although he does his best not to see the bleeding obvious. He demonstrates this shortcoming superbly in a piece titled “The baffling recovery of Teflon Labour and Unpopular Ed”. Labour’s poll ratings are actually improving. But how?
Brogan can’t figure it out. “That Labour should be in such a strong position is baffling, for reasons that scarcely need sketching out. How can it be that a party widely blamed for the nation’s ills – let alone one led by a politician who commands so little public respect – is in a position to measure the curtains for Downing Street?” he muses, and thereby inadvertently pinpoints his problem.
It Labour is so far ahead in the polls – and there seems little sign of the lead eroding right now – their leader is not “unpopular”, and he only “commands so little public respect” within that part of Canary Wharf occupied by the Telegraph. And “the nation’s ills”, far from being dumped on Labour in the public’s mind, are an issue where for many the jury is still out.
After all, the financial crisis of 2008 did not just happen in the UK, and was not down to any one action of any Government. Voters will also recall that the senior partner in the Coalition was all in favour of less financial sector regulation, which would have made matters potentially a whole lot worse. Those same voters will also recall that Pa Broon and Alistair Darling did much to stave off disaster.
Moreover, to dismiss Mil The Younger as “Unpopular” and not respected misses his growing stature with the general public. Who called the idea of an intervention in Syria correctly? Who grew his profile by calling out the Daily Mail over its mean-spirited hatchet job on his late father? Who keeps banging on about wages still being below their pre-crisis level?
Miliband is steadily implanting his brand in more voters’ consciousness as the one who gives a damn about them. As Adam Bienkov has observed, Young Dave is constantly hobbled by a team that gives the impression of thinking the opposite: “Oiky” Gove telling the poor that it’s their own fault if they use food banks, or Boris heaping praise on those who have the most dosh, for instance.
And on top of that, the Tories keep making the mistake of listening to all those Astroturf lobby groups like the CPS, IEA, ASI and of course the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance. But they aren’t where reality is: these groups want to change the real world to suit the demands of their backers. This does not interest the electorate. Brogan is, like his pals in the Tory Party, listening to all the wrong people.
So it’s no wonder he ends up totally clueless as a result. No change there, then.