Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ed Milli Brand. The tiny brand of a party leader

Ed Milliband is all over the airwaves this morning. I followed him onto BBC Radio Sheffield where I spoke about his performance and brand. Having watched his speeches and media interviews as party leader, and met him briefly, my view is that he's a nice enough chap, but far from statesmanlike.

Leaders of the Opposition have a basic problem, which is that they receive a salary from the state in order to - er - oppose. It's part of our democratic system that we have a loyal opposition who act as a counterbalancing force to the government. That inevitably means that the opposition leader spends a lot of time saying what they don't like, and little time saying what they stand for.

Ed Milliband has a further problem in that he's opposing a government of two parties, which together have both the majority of seats and popular votes. A recent YouGov poll gave Mr Milliband a rating even lower than Nick Clegg (yes, even lower than Nick Clegg), at a time when the government is pursuing an austerity agenda.

However, I think that the real problem is that few of us really knwo what Mr Milliband is about, or what he stands for. His background in financial matters should make him an informed and interesting advocate of - er - whatever he believes, but there's scant evidence of it. In short, his personal brand is so small it's hard to spot. If there was a scale of branding, his score would be just one millibrand.

1 comment:

Ian R McAllister said...

Love it Alan, and so correct! The fact that we are sat in an austerity regime and that there are alternatives, and yet the government seem to be riding high in the polls, summarises the problem for both Labour and its leader.

I said to a staunch socialist friend recently that Labour elected the wrong brother, but he felt that they had gone wrong in electing a Milliband in the first place. Another feels that Ed will be left to flounder until 2013, when David will come back.

I'll just say personally that what ever your politics, the current lack of an opposition let alone a debate is not good for the country.

Lets hope that (what appears to be) nice-but-dead Red Ed gets a spine and a loud haler soon, or an exit ticket.