Ed Miliband needs guidance - and there are plenty of people willing to give it to him. With less then a year to go before the next general election, old Labour spinners are coming out of the woodwork, identifying the Party's weaknesses and highlighting a number of ways in which they could put things right. One who stands out and who is not afraid to offer his opinions to the tabloids is, Damian McBride, Gordon Brown's former special advisor.
McBride claims that Ed Miliband's policies are "a steaming pile of fudge" and that his leadership is "totally dysfunctional". Just to rub salt into the wound, his ideas on Labour happened to appear in the Daily Mail, hardly Ed Miliband's favourite national. However, McBride does happen to indicate where the Labour leader is going wrong, rightly stating that by claiming that he is not interested in PR or photo opportunities, Miliband is making a "colossal mistake". He's right. And Labour needs to recognise this, no matter how much they despise their former aide.
It could be argued that it was an unfortunate snap involving a banana which cost David Miliband his ambition of becoming Labour leader. A simple error of judgment but a costly one nevertheless, as his brother ended up with the job instead. So as Ed calamitously floats from one poor photo op to another, he is doing himself no favours and really should think twice before one of his people suggests that it would be a good idea to eat a bacon sandwich to prove he is just like the rest of us. Lately, such masterminds appear to have got it wrong.
Of course it isn't just well judged photos, PR and media events that will raise Labour's image, such stints also need to be matched with coherent policy. By suggesting that he is more interested in this area than PR, Miliband's ideas need to be more forceful than they currently are. Shadow Chancellor Ed Ball's announcements make good copy in the papers but "go unnoticed in the pub", claims McBride. Again, true enough, and a factor that Labour must address if they have any chance of walking into No10 next year.
Although there are some calling for new talent to be employed into the Labour leader's office before the election countdown, it is unlikely that such drastic change would happen given the time frame left. But it isn't necessarily new talent that is required. It simply takes one person to identify that to become Prime Minister means being competent at any media opportunity, whilst also having the direction and understanding of what matters most to the electorate, articulated though clear policy. The top job is tougher than that, of course, but these two traits have the power to ultimately decide Ed Miliband's fate.