Syria vote: Ed Miliband was wounded – but is now revitalised
James Cusick is political correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. As an experienced member of the lobby, he has previously worked at The Sunday Times and the BBC. His career as a journalist has been split between print and television, including senior positions as producer with Sir David Frost and at BBC Newsnight. He is also an award-winning golf and travel writer, working for over a decade as the UK contributing editor for one of the USA’s leading golf magazines. He broadcasts regularly for the BBC and CNN. He lives in London.
Friday 30 August 2013
Generals, especially American generals, rarely get a mention in Westminster or Whitehall. But over the past 72 hours, George Patton’s comment that when “everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking” could have resonated through Labour’s senior ranks.
When Ed Miliband’s leadership qualities were under scrutiny and when it looked like Labour might be marching, unthinking, to an old 2003 Tony Blair tune, the whole battlefield arithmetic changed. This wasn’t forecast – by anyone.
Miliband is often seen as having two sides to him: one the political thinker, heavily influenced by his academic father, Professor Ralph Miliband; and two, the pragmatic policy-oriented politician. The two don’t match.
But across a week of error-strewn misjudgements by David Cameron, Mr Miliband – at least according to Labour’s official verdict – was able to park the politician and appear driven by his own moral philosophy, the desire to do the right thing, a determination not to ignore the UN, and to take advantage of Cameron’s wrapped gift – to exorcise the ghosts of Iraq, Blair and George W Bush.
Many in Labour’s parliamentary party saw what was coming. Demonstrations in the streets, and a repeat of accusations that blind support for a Tory-led policy shouldn’t be happening, yet again. But that hasn’t happened. Instead the anointment of Mr Miliband as a victor, an accidental general, a leader in command, someone who out-manoeuvred Downing Street, has transformed the mood in Labour ranks.
The party conference season is almost here. Much of that was supposed to be taken up by shadow talks on who could replace Mr Miliband, who could avoid another defeat at the next general election. Instead all that angst and retribution has, almost miraculously, been shifted from red to blue. It is David Cameron’s leadership that is now at risk.
Critics might say this all happened without a decision having been taken. They are wrong. Mr Miliband eventually chose not to follow; he chose to think – and not like Blair.
- 1 Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 The top 50 cities for young people to live in
- 5 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
General Election 2015: Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind as he casts a line to the disaffected of Grimsby
Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
Russian warships accused of 'chasing away' Swedish vessel to prevent Baltic States from achieving energy independence
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...
£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...