By Tim Montgomerie
Last night's YouGov tracker poll gave Labour its first lead. It put the Conservatives on 39%, Labour on 40% and the LibDems on just 12%. Net approval for the Coalition was minus 5%. Labour Tweeters were jubilant. This morning's Times splash (£) should pour some cold water on their feverish heads.
Only 36% think Ed Miliband is up to the job of being Prime Minister according to a Populus poll of more than 2,000 Britons. Worryingly for the Labour MPs out-voted by their comrades in the unions, 53% think David Miliband was up to the job.
Miliband Jnr might change this view by taking tough decisions – particularly that upset his party's Left and its paymasters in the trade union movement. He can begin today with his big speech to his party's conference. The Economist's Blighty blog is pessimistic about his chances of transforming expectations, however:
"Matthew D'Ancona (Sunday Telegraph), think the next general election was effectively handed to Mr Cameron the moment Mr Miliband was declared Labour leader on Saturday. Interestingly, Mr D'Ancona's view, which has been unshakeable since the beginning of the contest, rests as much on personality as ideology. Basically, he doesn't believe Ed Miliband looks, feels, or sounds like a prime minister. He may be wrong, but it is not a frivolous observation. This basic, gut-level plausibility is what electoral politics is partly about; ask Neil Kinnock, or William Hague, neither of whom ever struck voters as potential prime ministers. The customary way of phrasing this would be "Can you imagine Ed Miliband on the doorstep of Downing Street?" But I've come up with an alternative formulation. Can you imagine a CNN newsreader referring to "British prime minister Ed Miliband"?"
Tory strategists and centre right newspapers have done a good job in recent days in presenting Ed Miliband as 'Red Ed', a man of the Left. It might just be as important to present him as odd. Too steeped in politics. The Mail's attack on his failure to register as the father of his child is an important part of this. Not wanting to be known as the father of your child is, well, just weird. For once Richard Littlejohn is absolutely right – Ed could learn a lesson from Gordon Brown about the importance of family:
"As Gordon Brown walked out of Downing Street for the last time, he said he was exchanging the second most important job, being Prime Minister, for the first: being a husband and father. For a fleeting moment this weirdest of politicians sounded almost human. Parenting should be the most crucial and proudest task we undertake in life. We don’t all get it right, but most of us give it our best shot. So what are we to make of the news that Brown’s successor as leader of the Labour Party couldn’t even be bothered to add his name to his child’s birth certificate? Ed Miliband said he was ‘too busy’ when his son, Daniel, was born 15 months ago. Too busy? What on earth could be more important than registering the birth of your first-born son?"