By Tim Montgomerie

Lots of Left-wing visitors have been filling LeftWatch threads in recent days alleging that our focus on the new Labour leader is a sign that we are scared of him. I've been careful to say that we should not underestimate Mr Miliband but attempting to define a new leader in his/her early days should be the priority of any effective political operation. First impressions matter and last night's YouGov poll suggests that the Tory and newspaper onslaught is having some success. "Red Ed" got no bounce from his speech on Tuesday and nearly three times as many voters think he is taking his party Leftwards rather than to the centre. Mid-term Coalition unpopularity will almost certainly give Labour big leads but they will disguise Mr Miliband's predicament. Unless the new Labour leader drags his party away from the union and public sector interest groups his opinion poll leads will be a protest against David Cameron and not a positive vote for his agenda.

Screen shot 2010-09-30 at 08.44.46I've identified ten weaknesses in Ed Miliband's politics in a column for this week's New Statesman. The top three are:

Deficit denial. Cameron's belief is that the economic cycle is on his side. He hopes that UK plc will be growing by 2014-2015 and voters will reward him for dispensing the restorative medicine. There will be a more immediate upside for Labour if it fights every big cut but, over time, there will be severe brand damage. Labour won't be trusted to do the right thing and that will blight Miliband's "new generation".

A leftwards drift. Blair and Gordon Brown suppressed the desire of many Labour activists for greater union rights and taxes on the rich. During the leadership race, the old instincts returned: even David Miliband promised to review the tax status of private schools. This is the Old Labour politics of envy, not the New Labour politics of aspiration. Will Ed Miliband be strong enough to keep on the centre ground when the unions are paying nearly all of his indebted party's bills?

Odd Ed. The new Labour leader isn't so much Red Ed as Odd Ed. Only 36% think he is prime ministerial, according to a poll conducted for the Conservative Party. Is it the staring eyes? That he hasn't done anything outside politics? His claim that he was "too busy" to register as his child's father is certainly odd.

Read the full list of ten here.

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