Labour’s Arrogance Could Cost Ed Miliband The Election

Ed Miliband - Austerity - TUC March For The Alternative - Arrogance

 

With less than a month to go until the 2015 general election, the London Evening Standard (print edition) is currently running a Constituency Focus series, exploring the different dynamics and personalities at play in London’s diverse boroughs and constituencies.

Yesterday saw the focus on the constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn, this blogger’s home turf, with Labour candidate Tulip Siddiq featuring prominently. My own interview with Tulip Siddiq is here, and this blog’s overview of the electoral battle for Hampstead and Kilburn can be found here.

Today the focus moved to the west London constituency of Brentford and Isleworth, an area covering Chiswick, Isleworth, Brentford, Osterley and Hounslow, close to Heathrow Airport. Unsurprisingly, all of the main local candidates are proudly displaying their NIMBY credentials by opposing a third runway at Heathrow.

From the Standard:

In the Tory stronghold of Chiswick, the issue of school places dominates; while in the traditionally Labour-supporting parts to the west, NHS waiting times are the hot topic.

But the one issue that is a major talking point across the whole of the Brentford and Isleworth constituency is the proposed Heathrow expansion, which both the main candidates oppose.

Conservative candidate Mary Macleod won by just 1,958 votes in 2010, making this the 65th most marginal seat in the country. The constituency … is also one of the Tories’ 40/40 seats – 40 to win, 40 to keep.

But it is on the subject of austerity that a real difference is revealed between Labour and Conservative philosophies.

Ruth Cadbury, a long-serving Labour councillor and part of the Cadbury chocolate dynasty, is standing as the Labour Party candidate in the general election. And when she spoke about the level of Conservative support in the wealthier parts of her constituency, she had this to say:

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British Prime Ministers Should Have Term Limits, But Wider Constitutional Reform Is Needed

David Cameron 2015 election Term Limits Parliament Constitutional Reform

 

After the initial shock at David Cameron’s casual announcement that he intends to limit himself to two terms in office as Prime Minister should he win the 2015 general election, the nature of the media response is changing.

First came confusion and uncertainty as to what (if any) impact the announcement would have on the outcome of the election campaign currently upon us. Then came speculation about the impact on the Conservative Party, and whether the Tories would find themselves riven with infighting and jostling for position from the start of any new administration, effectively making David Cameron an instant lame duck. And then there were some rather tenuous claims from the left that Cameron’s decision was “arrogant” and presumptuous.

This blog believes that a far more interesting question is the mystery of who will replace Ed Miliband in the quite likely scenario that he fails to lead Labour out of opposition and back in to government, and is gently encouraged to fall on his sword on 8 May.

But now there is a school of thought among those riding to Cameron’s defence which holds that the Prime Minister’s actions were principled and honourable, and that his example should be formalised through the introduction of term limits for the role of Prime Minister.

Daniel Finkelstein, writing in The Times (+), is the latest high-profile convert to the cause:

Ten years is quite long enough for anyone to be prime minister. It’s not a good idea for anyone to enjoy power in perpetuity even if they have to get re-elected from time to time. Instead of this charade of asking the prime minister a question to which we all deserve an answer, and then calling him a fool or presumptuous if he answers, or a liar and evasive if he doesn’t, why don’t we just solve the problem for him or her?

We should have a term limit for prime ministers. Two terms and that’s your lot. And if you quit half way through your term, your successor should require an election within months. David Cameron’s answer should be compulsory.

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