Leading article: A mountain still to climb for Miliband

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The Independent Online

This newspaper's poll of polls today provides uncomfortable reading for Ed Miliband – he is in danger of making Iain Duncan Smith look good by comparison.

Nine months after winning the Labour leadership Mr Miliband still has a mountain to climb. Worse, he is struggling to get going. The Labour leader gave a lamentable interview last week on the industrial action by teachers and civil servants. His stance was questionable, appearing to want to sit on the fence on the question of whether or not the unions were right to go on strike. And his communication was abysmal. By insisting on giving a pre-rehearsed soundbite to an interviewer over and over (and regardless of the question asked) he came over as robotic.

There is nothing inherently wrong with Ed Miliband's strategic positioning of his party. He is sensible to attempt to move on from the New Labour years. But he needs to improve his game, both in conveying what he stands for and presenting himself as an alternative Prime Minister. Britain needs a strong opposition party and a strong opposition requires a skilful and nimble leader. At the moment, Mr Miliband is failing to provide that leadership.