THE BLOG

Don't Bin Leaders After Election Failures - Keep Them, Learn and Grow

12/05/2015 23:05 BST | Updated 12/05/2016 10:59 BST

Politics moves inexorably towards the boardroom and the football club. If you don't get the profits, or the goals, you are let go.

You don't wait in politics for the big push, so you honourably fall on your sword and resign.

The only difference between political parties and some footballs clubs with managers in goalless times, or MD's in profitless board rooms, is that you don't get a golden hand-shake. You are yesterday's news.

Instant gratification reigns here. If it doesn't work immediately then it doesn't work at all. So if the party leader can't pull off a win then what use are they to the party?

Concepts such as becoming battled-hardened, through success or failure, through triumphs or defeats, is thrown out with the latest, now seemingly ill considered, manifesto.

Instant success is the big aim. Half a decade of maturing, of growing, of battling and of learning, is dashed to the ground because even though you win many votes you don't win enough.

Because you don't get a nose ahead of the others then your growth and skills as leader counts for nothing. So you surrender to someone who has even less skills and maturity than you, with the hope that they will rise above all things and produce that vote winning performance.

Ed Miliband, in particular, grew incredibly under the pressure of being the leader. The clumsy, at times oafish, apprentice came up to equal and often surpass the seasoned Cameron. Gone the clumsy gauche out of step appointee. In came a man who could talk straight and at times tough to opponents and prospective voters.

Yet because we believe so completely in the leader having to be everything, and to be 100% of an election success, then they are dumped as a spent force.

Miliband and Clegg went through various baptisms of fire and because of that are more steel-like in their understanding and their abilities. Irrespective of whether you agreed with their politics or their decisions, their political tempering is something to be built on, not jettisoned.

Miliband and Clegg are exemplars now of power and leadership. And they remain, faults and all, warts and all, a better bet for their respective parties than anything else on offer.

Build on your mistakes; it is what we all do. And let us end this ceaseless chasing after the new face when we have yet to learn from the current face.

Civilisation is riddled with stories of those who rose from failure to achieve success. Let us recognise that when we look into the entrails of our recent election.

The baby and the bath water spring to mind. So come back Ed and Nick; all is almost forgiven.

John Bird is founder of The Big Issue