Dan Hodges is one the best, and certainly one of the most honest, Labour bloggers. He is also a dissident, a self-described “Blairite cuckoo in the Miliband nest”.
It reflects well on the Conservative Party that talented bloggers who deviate from the official line – like Mr Timothy Montgomerie, to snatch a name randomly from the air – are nevertheless given a certain degree of respect. Not so, the Labour Party – where Dan Hodges and his fellow Blairites are regularly roughed up (metaphorically) by various Brownite goons. Luckily, Hodges has a stall in the Telegraph’s stable of bloggers, from which his party can obtain all the home truths they may care for.
This was his take on the day before Ed Miliband’s big speech:
In pondering whether his leader would finally get serious about the economy, Hodges ventured the following prediction:
He wasn’t wrong. Nor, after the event, was he carried away by the eructation of Mili-mania that immediately followed the speech:
This is a typically astute observation, one that clears away the clichés to get at what’s really going on. And yet, in final analysis, Dan Hodges is wrong:
The awful truth about Ed Miliband isn’t that he’s a clueless politician leading his party to defeat. Rather, it’s that his strategy – of rubbishing the Coalition, while having nothing to say about what a Labour government would actually do instead – is highly effective.
Yes, it’s cowardly. Yes, it’s dishonest. Yes, it’s contemptible. But that doesn’t mean it won’t succeed. In France, something similar worked for the equally irresponsible French Socialist Party and the equally uninspiring Francois Hollande – and, right now, it’s difficult to see what’s going to stop it from working over here.