The General Election result wasn’t all Ed Miliband’s fault. As this site pointed out several times before polling day, the Conservatives had more than just the better leader, we also had a better ministerial team.
The lack of talent at the top of the Labour Party is currently being vividly demonstrated by their leadership election, as Kendall, Cooper and Burnham struggle to produce anything other than bland lines in response to a Corbyn insurgency made possible in the first place by their very blandness .
In the blue corner, the contrast is drawn out by the ongoing process of capable, responsible government – including addressing some of the more difficult issues which the nation faces. We’ve already seen Michael Gove’s excellent speech on prison reform (which we will be returning to tomorrow morning), and today Theresa May grasps the even thornier issue of deaths in police custody.
She doesn’t have to – there was no manifesto pledge, it didn’t come up in the campaign and there hasn’t been a sudden upsurge of such incidents. In identical cirucmstances, plenty of her predecessors have simply left it be as a high risk, low reward topic.
That the Home Secretary is launching an independent review into these deaths where others shied away is an example of the difference between governing and simply being a politician. The same goes for her reform of Stop and Search under the Coalition. Both decisions display a laudable instinct – Governments ought to seek to do what is right, rather than just what is comfortable or offers instant rewards.
That’s not to say that there are never any electoral benefits from decisions like this. It’s hard to measure, but I suspect the gap between a Conservative team featuring a range of responsible Ministers and a Labour team offering rather less played its part on election day.