Harry Phibbs

Campaigners for the Labour Party face something of a challenge in convincing voters that Ed Miliband would be a good Prime Minister or that Ed Balls would be a good Chancellor of the Exchequer. What makes it all the more daunting for them is that many Party activists don’t believe it themselves. Yet that is the situation the Party finds itself in according to a poll of Labour councillors for ComRes. Only 57 per cent of Labour councillors agree that Mr Miliband is “doing a good job” as Labour leader. 31 per cent disagree and 12 per cent replied that they didn’t know. When asked if Labour had a better chance at the next election with Mr Miliband than anyone else only 49 per cent agreed. For Mr Balls 52 per cent agreed he was the best possible choice for Shadow Chancellor 32 per cent disagreed and 15 per cent said they didn’t know.

Furthermore it may well be that some of those polled expressed support for Mr Miliband despite having private doubts out of considerations of Party loyalty.

When I was canvassing in the 2001 General Election I would come across floating votres, often former Conservatives, who said they thought William Hague was quite useless, not up to the job and so on. But at least I was able to disagree with them with the sincere belief that Mr Hague was highly capable. I think that was the view of the great majority of Conservative activists at the time. It must be dispiriting for Labour councillors to defennd Mr Miliband when they don’t really have their heart in it.

The survey also gives an indication that Labour councillors are mostly on the Left on the Party. 63 per cent said  their Party’s relationship with the unions was “about right.” While nine per cent said it was “too close” there were 25 per cent who said it was “not close enough.” Others issues raised in the poll found that Labour councillors want to scrap Trident and ban page three girls. Reinstating the 50p top rate of income tax had massive support – with 89 per cent in favour and a mere six per cent opposed. There don’t seem to be many Blairites in the town halls.

However there is strong opposition among Labour councillors to holding an in/out referendum on EU membership. At least that is one item that should cheer up Mr Blair.

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