I really want to like Ed Miliband. You have to admire anyone who applies for a job knowing that one of the perks is to be lambasted and attacked very personally day in, day out by five national newspapers for being the spawn of Satan, and that's just when things aren't going your way. Start to score points against the coalition and they really turn on you.
Then, you have to go to your bosses who chose you, the unions, and say "I don't care if you're paying me, I'm going to pick a fight with you." Oh yeah, and all the time there's that big brother flicking your ears, giving you a Chinese burn and moaning that he should have got the job, not you.
So why am I sighing the inevitable sigh of the lifelong football supporter who greets September with cautiously optimistic raised eyebrows, but by mid-October is already working out which teams in the league will be relegation rivals?
I think it's because he's only gone and backed a coalition policy that NO ONE agrees with.
The unions don't agree with it (of course, they're the unions, no surprise there), but they're joined by virtually every economist in the world. The CBI are largely against it, a majority of people in this country voted against it, even 'the markets' don't agree with it.
Whenever I hear about the markets getting jumpy I always think of Del Boy and Rodney shifting the last of their half-inched goods from a stall in Deptford and legging it just before the filth arrive. Which is probably as accurate a description of 'the markets' as any other.
But these markets, and their mates with the brilliant names of Moody, and Standard and Poor, however simplistic their approach, do give us an idea of how things are. "Okay economy - what are you? You can only be one thing: Standard? Or Poor? Well you can be Moody too, but that's only because you're poor."
They keep looking at the austerity packages being foisted on Greece and Italy, the same as the one we're landed with, and they keep shaking their heads going "no... nope", or rather, being the markets, "NO!!!" and "Aaaiieee! We're all doomed!"
But stupidest of all Ed, and this is why it's really mad that you've done this, even George Osborne doesn't agree with it.
David Laws, the so-called mastermind architect of the whole austerity package, didn't believe it. At least, the week before the election, he said "The Tories made two big mistakes, they supported the war in Iraq, and they read the whole economic situation wrong."
I know, a week is a long time in politics - talking of which, 40+ years is a blooming eternity, which was when Harold Wilson first said "a week is a long time in politics". Come on politicians, isn't it time you came up with a new catchphrase?
Although Cameron's refusal to engage with Europe was bonkers, you can see why he had no choice but to pander to his grassroots support. They're the last remaining Tory activists and even they were about to head off to UKIP. But Miliband has a different problem. Lots and lots of people are against the coalition - Lib Dem as well as Tory - and Labour has been the only place for them to go. Ed's grassroots are largely new and fresh, 60,000 have joined since the last election, and are ready to argue the case against the coalition. Or rather, were.
There are two Labour parties in this country. There's the one that attempts to protect jobs and the workforce, and whose councils try and provide services for people on low or no incomes. Of course the economy is in a terrible state, and spending has to be cut, but these people have loads of ideas about what to do, every day they're finding alternative ways to deal with the recession - being creative with jobs, setting up co-ops and credit unions and by-passing banks and coming up with ideas for putting that new £75 billion actually into the economy rather than giving it to hedge fund speculators.
Then there is the London leadership, obsessed with media coverage, how policies will play out on the news, and worried about annoying popular right-wing newspapers like the Daily Mail and The Sun. They aim their policies at that 'squeezed middle' of 73 marginal voters who might make a difference to the 10 seats or so that are anyway about to go Conservative under the new boundary changes.
Maybe I'm wrong, maybe Labour refusing to attack unpopular Tory policies is the way forward. After all, it worked so well for Neil Kinnock, who in 1990 refused to attack the poll tax, and two years later was swept to power as prime minister.Suggest a correction