Ed Miliband seeks to re-launch Labour as a Centrist Party - London
Labour leader Ed Miliband tried to put behind him a weekend of bitter stories detailing feuds and alleged infighting between him and his brother David by repositioning his party in the centre. UK. 13th June 2011
Perhaps it's because he's tired the strain shows so much. On his face.
He is Neil Kinnock both before and after the foamy waves washed over his feet on a Brighton beach and ruined his chance of premiership.
And perhaps Ed knows it.
His party handlers try too hard to help orchestrate an event that should really police itself. Although it must be said the minders are scarcely more than children themselves.
I am witness only to what happens in public. On the street. Where it matters.
The present Labour leader Ed Miliband has taken a pounding in the weekend papers.
He is in Coin Street, actually it's Stamford Street, at the community centre, in Lambeth, south London to relaunch his party (Read his leadership which has gone wobbly wrong in a Michael Foot sort of way)
I attest only to what happens outside the hall. Maybe inside a speech is gloriously received.
And Labour is renewed.
The Coin Street Community Centre is all steel and glass with oddly, interrupting, disturbing colours. Think middle weight company HQ. A girl in the reception area has no eye contact with visitors. You get the idea.
No one stops you going in but then why would you? It looks like a dentist's surgery.
Coin Street was once a by word for neighbourhood housing and if I may dare suggest sunflowers and stuff you didn't see often on your way in to that 60's highrise wart The London Studios, once ITV's broadcasting centre, to work overnights in the tower block on London's southbank.
Community and centre are the two words, which for now, for the moment, are key to the minting of a new New Labour.
The Sunday newspapers have been in full Cain and Abel mode following an unauthorised biography written by two Labour hacks and published, as it happens, by Biteback, an impressive imprint it has to be said, edited by the celebrity blogger cum LBC broadcaster Iain Dale, and supported financially by the non domiciled and perfectly legal Tory peer Lord Ashcroft of Belize but printed at the expense, almost entirely, of the junior Labour leader (temporarily resident and pending) Edward Samuel Miliband. And to the advantage, maybe, just perhaps, of the wonderfully silent Ed Balls. The Ed with. The Ed without.
Pending the annual party conference in October because, for our stipend politicians, nothing happens in August or March when parliament isn't sitting.
Apart from wars and such trifles. As these.
'What is he for' is a common sabbath theme.
Unnamed senior sources claim Ed has a few months to turn his/their fortunes around or he/they is/are out.
It is not me thunders the publicly pensioned Lord Prescott ex-directory from Hull whilst another Lord of a darker hue, twice or is it thrice disgraced, overseas entertaining global bankers at a Bilderberg bbq says, nothing. It could be he.
At home Ed speaks of housing.
Attacking both those at the top and those at the bottom. The work shy and the tax shy but says nothing of brotherly love.
Miliband, the younger, is in search of a new new Public for a new new Labour.
But a Sun loving Mail reading public is required and not the one once seen in the mirror.
And Sky News, owned by News Corp aka Sir Rupert Murdoch and his clan, must have its shot. News Corporation's corporation tax returns are a matter of public record. Rup, who changes his nationality as often as his socks, may his gods bless him, is a first and last First Amendment reporter, and does not sue.
Back on the street nothing is left to chance even for a simple journey on this public highway.
The leader of Her Majesty's loyal opposition is tasked to walk through a sliding door chat to polite kids, mainly black and get in to his car. A journey of little more than 15 metres.
Press minders try to police the pavement and attempt to clear away the few members of the public who've bothered to gather.
Kieron, from the press office explains it's so Sky News can get its shot. In TV land they call this a pan. On the street we call this a joke. Ed needs all the friends he can get and they decide to sweep the public away.
And for a shot of what?
A contrived image of an engaged man of the people talking to young people, selected, smiling shaking hands and then walking to his car, a new Lambeth Walk. Even the parking bay is cleared of a motor bike and its satellite - the BBC's Laura Kuessberg - is long gone - so 'Ed' might get to his car. Unimpeded. By the public.
We are cleared away.
Tidied away for the leader of the people's party.
Then two women join the queue.
And ask about the Portuguese community in Lambeth, a community they lead.
And then loses interest.
Or seems to.
We are becoming the largest language group.
In the borough.
I will check this out.
A leader frowns.
The body language is frightful.
Gets to his car looking very grumpy.
This much my pictures show.
Ed unhappy with the public he should lead.
This much I can say.