Squeaky bum time for Labour

Love him or hate him, Tony Blair made the Labour Party run on time. There may have been rumblings, rows and simmering resentment, but it was managed in a way that enabled the Labour machine to be efficient, effective and electable.
Ed Miliband’s Labour Party looks like neither of the first two, and you would argue at the moment, nowhere near the third.
Purely from a communications perspective – and politics has largely become about perception as much as action – the British left is in disarray. The media commentators are saying Miliband has mismanaged his relationship with the Unions so much that he looks to be both at odds with them and in their pocket at the same time. They argue there is no clear vision of what the currently Labour Party stands for. There seems to be a lack of unity on the front bench. Rumours are that a planned reshuffle was delayed to avoid battles breaking out at Party Conference – yet that looks like backfiring.
The perception is that Ed was waiting for the Coalition to self-destruct – either because Nick Clegg could not control the left of his party, or because the electorate would revolt against the austerity economics of George Osborne. The first dog hasn’t barked – yet. The second has been turned around by the first signs of a global economic recovery – so vindicating what Gordon Brown said about the UK being at the mercy of world economics when he was a big beast, rather than a brooding shadow.
Worst of all, Ed Miliband’s Labour seems hamstrung by its own internal issues and unable to get onto the front foot. Political editors are complaining about a lack of get up and go from once fearsome Labour spin machine – which seems to be in rinse and hold mode. The summer of silence was an open goal missed.
So who can save Labour? The answer isn’t likely to be on the front bench, the backbenches or even from the slew of ex-journalists Labour is hiring. It could though come from a lifelong Labour supporter who is currently cooling his heels because he gave up one of the most prominent jobs in Britain a couple of months ago. Yes. Sir Alex Ferguson.
A man who divides opinion as much as Blair, but like Blair is ruthlessly effective. He turned Manchester United from an underperforming giant into the most successful football team in Britain, and double champions of Europe. He would not accept inertia, dissent or bickering, yet could harness mercurial talent for the good of the team.
For Miliband, it’s squeaky bum time if he wants to be the next PM. For the good of Labour – and probably David Moyes – Sir Alex needs another project to distract him from ManU’s faltering season. It’s Fergietime.

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