April 4: Miliband’s conviction ought to be worrying for Britain

From: Cecil Hallas, Cubley Rise Road. Penistone, Sheffield.

IT seems very strange to me how in the present circumstances Labour should remain neck and neck with the Tories (Bill Carmichael, The Yorkshire Post, April 13). I find more and more difficulty in understanding how the polls, if regarded as a true reflection of opinion, still show such a stubborn following for Labour.

Might it be idealism? Not really, unless there is the pessimistic idealism of envy where the Socialists must be choking on their porridge as they contemplate how after its inception a century ago the Labour Party is today ever more dependent on the taxes of the rich to get them put of yet another financial morass.

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But it isn’t just about politics, it’s about people. We often hear it said “there’s no difference between any of them”. Well, that’s a point of view, however, if a business is seen to be failing a new board of directors has often been seen to do the trick, as our current “board” has done.

In the last five years, this failing business has been turned round. This has largely been due to the endeavours and belief of George Osborne whose firm and unwavering policy of often unpopular financial discipline has steered us back into a country of optimism and confidence. George, generally more admired than liked, is reminiscent of the Margaret Thatcher we once knew, a conviction politician, today an endangered species.

However, Ed Miliband is also a conviction politician. He’s convinced that whatever he says is right – or left – take your pick. This is where I think Labour is to be admired, to have a leader like this and still support the party is loyalty of the highest order. I don’t think that Ed’s sincerity is in any doubt; his self-belief is to be applauded although it is quite clear that even his own party is uncomfortable about his leadership capabilities.

More tellingly, after the election, the country at large might wake up to the overnight prospect of Ed becoming the world statesman, pointing his finger to Angela Merkel or Vladimir Putin across the debating table and saying, “look, it’s not like that”. In a way I feel sorry for the man, in the leadership contest being put in place by a union which is now threatening to withdraw funding from the party because it didn’t select the General Secretary’s friend for the Halifax by-election. That is the world of politics.

However, how could Len McCluskey have possibly known that in endeavouring to have a union placeman as leader of the opposition, instead of a puppet, his man turned out to be a muppet?