Whatever else Ed Miliband does, the one overriding lesson he could surely learn from the Gordon Brown era, is not to pander to what must be the most vile and despicable media in the world.
We don’t want a leader chasing his tail trying to please Nick Robinson, Jeremy Paxman, John Humphries or the odious Michael Crick. And they are just the venal crowd from the BBC. Chuck in the flotsam and jetsam from Sky, the Daily Mail and the lying pack who eke a living writing crap for Murdoch and you have a real bag of snakes. They have long since abandoned reporting the news, these days their job is to make the news.
In an interesting post on Liberal Conspiracy Don Paskini points out that not all of those things the media identify as ‘left’ are unpopular with the electorate.
But Lord Ashcroft’s research highlights a key dilemma for Ed Miliband and Labour. He won the leadership despite the opposition of newspapers, all of which endorsed his brother, and his success was due to his ability to adopt mainstream policies, from Iraq to the living wage, and his ability to articulate them with conviction and passion. The same challenge will present itself at the next general election. Principled and mainstream policies which swing voters strongly support will be denounced by the political elite.
Ed will be advised by some to show the Westminster Village that he is not “Red Ed”, that he shares the prejudices of wealthy newspaper editors and won’t “lurch to the left”. The evidence shows that most swing voters are at worst indifferent to the prospect of Labour moving to the left, that they want Labour to change, and that policies like a mansion tax, living wage and High Pay Commission are all fine examples that would help to show how Labour has changed for the better.