Liam Bateman writes.
The general election on Thursday, like many, brought a mix of shock and relief to myself. Whilst I was jubilant to see UKIP crash and burn and the Lib Dems suffer a result not seen since before Paddy Ashdown led the party, Labour was crushed. Despite held electorates swinging back to Labour, some smaller than others and a few welcoming them back with open arms, Labour suffered a defeat second only to Michael Foot in 1983. And Ed has resigned as Labour leader.
Already, people are trying to decide who should take over the party and why they lost. New Labour loyalists are saying they need to remain loyal to Blairism, but I doubt this will be the reason why they lost. The reason Labour lost so many seats in 2005 and 2010 is because they felt Labour had betrayed their beliefs and this was a punishment for doing so. I feel like the main reason was because of disunity within the left. The SNP and PC endorsed the Greens rather than encourage Labour in England. This would have dissuaded the left from voting Labour and thus prevent the retaking of seats or holding of seats like the Vale of Clwd. There are various reasons, but this is one in my opinion.
Now, comes the question of Ed’s replacement. I am going to say this right now. We cannot allow a New Labour loyalist to retake the leadership. Otherwise we may see the worst defeat for Labour ever. Reverting to New Labour is going to achieve nothing. The wrong people were voting Labour when Blair was leader and we don’t need that happening. I could easily recommend Dennis Skinner for the role, but whilst I think it would win back Scotland’s trust in Labour, it would not do well south of England. There’s also the fact Skinner has stated he does not want to get anywhere near the dispatch box.
I actually already have an idea who would do a good job in the stead of Ed Miliband. That person is Ben Bradshaw. For those who don’t know, Ben Bradshaw is the MP for Exeter and was one of the first gay MPs in the Commons. Upon being elected he gave a great passionate victory speech, which can be viewed in the video below from around 42 seconds.
And yes, you heard right. UKIP actually treated a gay man with respect during a campaign.
Bradshaw is not only my choice for the leadership for that reason. He’s done well as an Undersecretary and a minister in several portfolios, including health and is well liked in his constituency. Ed Miliband did lack some charisma, though I didn’t think that stopped people liking Labour’s policies, but Bradshaw has charisma and could definitely rival David Cameron, or when he goes during his second term (Cameron himself confirmed he would not stay the whole five years) Boris Johnson.
This may be a little to early to call, but I would be very happy to see Ben Bradshaw stand for the leadership and will fully endorse him if he decides to do so.