I’d rather be in Ed’s shoes than Mr Cameron’s (a myopic view from Nelson Street)

At the moment Southend’s Conservatives chief blogger is their former leader, the man who stepped down from the Council in May. Nigel Holdcroft is someone I can profoundly disagree with much of the time, can agree with some of the time, and can almost always look forward to his writing. If politics is the battle of ideas then we need people like Nigel to at least counter what is coming out from the centre-left along the northern edge of the Thames estuary. Tony Cox appears to be enjoying being away from the chamber too much, Cllr James Courtenay is an infrequent writer, and Cllr Mark Flewitt is a better advertisement for his opposition than I am sure he intends.

Occasionally Nigel name-checks me, most recently just over a week ago. He writes of The challenge for Labour candidates, an article that also mentions my fellow Labour parliamentary aspirant, Cllr Ian Gilbert.

I have noticed recent tweets from our own candidates Cllrs Julian Ware-Lane and Ian Gilbert questioning the existence of any leadership challenge or doubts as to Ed’s performance.” Thus wrote Nigel. He adds: ” We are told that it is all mischief making by a couple of disenchanted mps and the wicked national media. Oh come on boys you know as well as the rest of us that Ed’s leadership is doing a good impression of a car crash. You would garner far more support if you were honest and accepted that there is a problem.

Of course I am a loyalist, and I am bound by my loyalty to support the leader. But, as far as I can see, there is no widespread discontent with the leadership of Ed Miliband. The Conservatives may wish for an unhappy Opposition, but it is just not happening.

Whilst we may wish for better polling, for instance, the flux that we are witnessing in national politics means that whoever was in charge would see only narrow leads.

Where it matters, in actual policy announcements, Miliband is doing as well as anyone could.

When talking about Labour leaders it is often said that Michael Foot was the worst; this ignores his major achievement – holding the party together when the SDP was gaining a lot of traction. In 2010 Labour suffered a dreadful defeat, and the fact that within one term we are seriously in contention again speaks volumes for Ed’s leadership. We have not fractured, we are not riven by splits, and we are determined to end the catastrophic Cameron premiership.

Mr Holdcroft may wish for a “malaise affecting the Labour Party“, yet I think there are real problems a lot closer to home for Nigel. This Thursday we are likely to see UKIP make its second gain from his beloved Conservative Party, and one can only guess at the jitters this will create within Conservative quarters. The leader with real problems is David Cameron, and there are serious questions being asked of his leadership. Whilst there will always be isolated individuals questioning Labour Party tactics and policy, there is no debate regarding the job in hand. This is not true of the Tories for whom there is a battle royal between those who wish for one-nation Conservatism and those who favour a rightwards lurch towards policies hostile to Europe, immigrants, and human rights.


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