I don't particularly like Ed Miliband, but in a way I sympathise with his predicament. Trying to keep both factions of his party happy whilst dealing with an overwhelmingly hostile press doesn't seem like an easy feat. That's not to say that the blue Labourites have any business being there in the first place. I have more time for Tories than I do for the charlatans who have betrayed the values of the Labour Movement. At least they're not pretending to be something they're not.
The unfortunate fact however is that the Labour Party is still stuffed with people who are essentially using the party as a vehicle for personal advancement rather than society's advancement, which pretty much means that they belong in the Tory Party. It doesn't make things easy for Miliband as he tries to find a middle ground which will please both the Denis Skinners and the Alan Milburns of his own party. Simultaneously appearing to be pro-unions and pro-multinational shareholders must be a tricky one to pull off, and he hasn't quite mastered it.
Miliband's dilemma is one which would have seemed alien to Michael Foot during his leadership of the Labour Party, but that was before the creep of neoliberalism. The Labour Party was still very much on the left. Neil Kinnock moved it to the centre-left. The man who ended up so distorting the Labour Party's values was Blair, who shifted it out of the left completely.
That Labour managed to win three general elections on the bounce under Blair's leadership is impressive, no matter what you may think of Blair as a person (I'm of the opinion that he should be on trial at the ICC). And it all seemed rosy for awhile. Gordon Brown thought he'd cracked it as Chancellor of the Exchequer. In the House of Commons he was often heard to confidently proclaim "No more boom and bust". He genuinely seemed to believe it, until Blair handed him the reigns just in time for the biggest bust in decades. Poor, naïve Gordon. His confidence up and left, and he remains possibly the most uncharismatic Prime Minister that Britain has ever seen. It wasn't surprising that Labour lost the 2010 election with him at the helm.
What was surprising (at least to me) was that the Lib Dems got into bed with the Tories and have stayed there since. Five years of bleak Tory/Lib Dem austerity has politicised people to an extent of which David Cameron is not ignorant. The evidence speaks for itself. Trying to get our Prime Minister to take part in more than one televised debate with other party leaders - something which other democratic countries take for granted as being routine come election time - seems about as easy as wading through treacle whilst wearing lead boots. He knows that he's lost the rhetorical battle before its even begun.
Labour would have a genuine chance at winning this election outright if it hadn't become toxic (for good reason) in Scotland, where the SNP are now top dog. So keen are some to deny the SNP any role in Whitehall that talk of a 'grand coalition' between the Tories and Labour has emerged. Had Aneurin Bevan been buried instead of cremated, he'd probably be rolling in his grave at such a suggestion.
With Jim Murphy's Scottish Labour looking decidedly unconvincing, another hung Parliament seems pretty certain. The question as to what kind of coalition we're going to be seeing in May is an interesting one. Not a relaxed, feet-up kind of interesting. This really matters. Consider what another five years of Tory-led government could do to the NHS, for instance. Frankly it's a terrifying thought. Most of us cannot afford private healthcare.
This isn't an invitation to indulge in a bit of tactical voting. As things stand I won't be voting Labour, and as long as the Blairites and faux leftists continue to sit in or stand for Parliament under a Labour banner, I probably never will. Perhaps the damage Blair did to the Labour Party is irreparable, but to the blue streak running through it this is an invitation to either get out of politics or switch allegiances. I don't like coalition governments and I don't like you. We need a real, leftist Labour Party again.