Friday, September 30, 2011
Labour leader Ed Miliband makes a massive political gaffe during BBC Scotland interview, cannot name favourite to be Scottish leader, Ken who?
Ed Miliband is having a hard time but walk down the corridor and be in the shoes of Scottish Labour leadership frontrunner Ken Macintosh.
His campaign suffered a low blow in the nether regions as Ed Miliband could even remember his name.
Rather than see that as a disadvantage it gives him the narrative to play the ‘outsider’ card, turning a negative into a positive.
Miliband did remember the other two, Tom Harris, an MP and Glasgow University product Johann Lamont.
Lamont is deputy Scottish Labour leader at Holyrood, and the worst candidate by miles and miles.
The interview by Miliband highlights he is gaffe prone, as the Labour leader could only describe Mr Macintosh as “a third candidate”.
He is the favourite, the natural candidate by circumstance.
However, the lack of knowledge is embarrassing by even more is that Ken Macintosh has been a member of the Scottish Parliament since 1999.
Holyrood is considered by Scottish MPs as a back water institution with the real action happening at Westminster.
At Westminster, you can do it all, domestic, provincial and international politics that is why the real talent in Labour in Scotland want to go to Westminster.
Labour MP Jim Murphy, the shadow defence secretary, and Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary have resisted attempts to persuade them to stand for the leadership as the bright lights of London are too powerful.
Holyrood is 9 to 5 politics, Monday to Friday and sits only a couple of days a week.
The Miliabnd gaffe started easy enough during an interview with BBC Scotland in which Mr Miliband, who looked tired after a week-long conference, described the declared candidates as three “great hitters”.
Then some bright speark chipped in with the classic could name them, Miliband initially looked startled like he had been kicked by a horse.
He then replied:
“What I am saying is there is Tom Harris, there is Johann Lamont and a third candidate who is also putting himself forward.”
How can he not know the name of what he describes as a ‘great hitter’?
How can someone be great if you don’t know them?
He was then reminded it was Ken Macintosh’s name he was scratching for, prompting him to say:
“Look, Ken Macintosh is going to be an excellent candidate.”
On what basis is he, because he put his name forward?
Ed Miliband after his ‘Gillian Duffy’ moment telephoned Mr Macintosh to apologise.
Labour later released a statement from the MSP, in which he attempted to laugh off the incident.
Making light of it Macintosh, who is a father-of-six, joked:
“I don’t think anyone should read anything into it – half the time I can’t even remember the names of my own kids. If anything, it shows politicians are human.”
Then trying to divert, he said what had got his attention was Mr Miliband’s “strong and positive case for Scotland to remain in the UK”.
At present the Labour Party is undergoing an root-and-branch review. The next leader of Labour in Scotland would be in charge not just of the party’s MSPs but also its MPs.
And presumably councillors, you have to be in charge of everyone for it to make sense.
There is still time for other candidates to enter the race, however, the task for Labour is massive, there has been a cull in Glasgow of Labour Councillors but changing faces isn’t enough.
I suspect that Labour will go with a people’s campaign to reconnect with voters as they fight off challenges to their power base, particularly in Glasgow.
If Glasgow falls it is a key mile stone on the road to independence and Labour will fight a vicious campaign to hold onto the city.
As Peter O’Toole put it in Lawrence of Arabia:
“No prisoners, no prisoners”!
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University