It's been quite a week for Ed Miliband. In our splash news story on Wednesday, Political Editor Andrew Grice had exclusive results from a ComRes poll that will make for unhappy reading up in Manchester. As we reported:
"Only two out of 10 people believe that Ed Miliband has what it takes to be a good Prime Minister, according to an opinion poll for The Independent which highlights the mountain the Labour leader still has to climb ComRes found that almost twice as many people think David Cameron can be a good Prime Minister, and the Conservatives are more trusted on the economy than Labour despite the slide back into recession...
According to ComRes, only 22 per cent of people believe Mr Miliband has what it takes to be a good Prime Minister, while 63 per cent do not. Labour supporters are split down the middle about his ability to lead the nation. Some 44 per cent think that he has what it takes, but 42 per cent do not.
Although a majority of people (52 per cent) do not believe Mr Cameron has what it takes to be a good premier, 39 per cent do – a much higher rating than Mr Miliband's. Four in five Conservative voters (81 per cent) agree that Mr Cameron "has what it takes", compared with 41 per cent of Liberal Democrat supporters and 21 per cent of Labour voters.
But not everyone is so emphatic. In a stirring column for independentvoices.com on Monday, Owen Jones examined the question of what, in a modern, austere age, Labour is for. In its editorial today, The Independent argues: "Ed Miliband may not have emerged as a political superstar, but he has endured two years in the most difficult job in British politics. In two years of relentless pressure under the public gaze, with no real power, he has made no serious mistakes."
And the general response - even among the Right-wing press - to Miliband's speech was overwhelmingly positive. Indeed, Telegraph columnist Peter Oborne writes today: "In Manchester this week, Ed Miliband conjured up the finest piece of conference oratory since Mr Cameron’s own superb 2007 speech scared Gordon Brown off calling an autumn election. Mr Miliband – just as the Prime Minister himself did so brilliantly five years ago – has brought about a change in the architecture of British political discourse... Mr Miliband has not simply grown in stature. An intelligent man as well as an under-rated politician, he has set a trap for the Prime Minister."