Like the weather, Ed Miliband’s leadership finally froze over this week.
The temperature started to plummet when he said his leadership was a “blank sheet”. But during Prime Minister’s Questions this Wednesday Ed Miliwent stone cold. Trying to embarrass David Cameron, he was subjected to a crushing put-down: “better a child of Thatcher than a son of Brown.”
Since then, it’s been open season on Ed Miliband’s leadership. But in many ways, the most damning indictment this week was something which got no headlines: a report by the Public Accounts Committee.
The report, which looked into the Department of Energy & Climate Change’s record on renewables and covered Ed Miliband’s time as Energy Secretary, has an oddly familiar ring. It highlights three things.
First, that Ed Miliband instilled no sense of purpose at DECC: ‘The Department needs a greater sense of urgency and purpose to drive the dramatic increase in renewable energy supplies’, the report concluded.
Second, there was a blank page where there should have been a plan: ‘We are concerned that the Department agreed to the legally binding 2020 target without clear plans’.
Third, there was no long-term strategy: “The Department published a renewable energy strategy in July 2009 that set out in broad terms how it intended to meet the 2020 target…It had not, however, started preparing a detailed delivery plan…’
No sense of purpose. No clear plan. No long-term strategy. Dithering. It all points to one thing: Ed Miliband’s start as Labour leader isn’t out of character; it’s just typical.
Whichever way you look, Ed Miliband is weak, indecisive, or wrong. He’s weak when it comes to agreeing tax policy with his own Shadow Chancellor and can’t even unite his own team. He’s indecisive on whether or not he wants to join the student protests and what he means when by his own “squeezed middle” tagline. And he’s wrong on the big question of our time: how to deal with our debts and get this country living within its means.
At PMQs on Wednesday, David Cameron pointed out that Ed Miliband’s been in the job for almost three months now, and everyone’s wondering when he’s going to start. But one look at this report suggests that with Ed Miliband, it’s simply a case of Groundhog Day.