Ed Miliband's vanity has doomed Labour for a generation

Now, if Labour is only defeated again in 2020 and 2025 it will have got off lightly

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The Independent Online

Those of us who supported Labour when it won elections ought to be angry with Ed Miliband for what he has done to the party. Not only did he fail to win on 7 May, but he has ensured that the party is further away from ever winning again.

The YouGov poll published on 22 July suggests that more than half of those who were party members in 2010 have left, to be replaced by members who thought the only thing wrong with his leadership was that it was too right-wing.

While he was leader, the party chose as candidates a swathe of the hard neo-left: 14 of the new intake MPs nominated Jeremy Corbyn for leader, and they meant it. They weren’t putting him on the ballot paper to “widen the debate”. It is impossible to say which is the more foolish: nominating Corbyn because you think he should be leader, or nominating him because you think he shouldn’t. Either way, the new MPs are a disaster.

They are part of the wider disaster engulfing the party. That it has already forgotten why it lost this year’s election, let alone 1983’s. The rallying to Corbyn is an emotional response to defeat, a response of the heart not the head, requiring, as Tony Blair said, a transplant.

Historically, Labour has been slow to seek medical treatment. Some of us naively thought that, having been brought back from four defeats in 1997, it would never need to go through such a long exile again. Now, if Labour is only defeated again in 2020 and 2025 it will have got off lightly.

And all of this could have been avoided if it hadn’t been for Ed Miliband’s vanity. His brother would have done better than him and probably deprived the Conservatives of a majority. How dare he, when he resigned, claim that at least he had put the question of inequality on the agenda? Too right he has. After five years in which the Lib Dems restrained the Tories, they are now going to make Britain more unequal.

People who disagree with that should rage against Ed’s vanity project and its disastrous legacy.