John Prescott’s chaos is the last thing Labour needs

Labour’s crisis and loss of poll points clearly comes from the chaos and confusion surrounding its core policies. With this in mind, Labour strategists must have been despondent, drunk, or desperate when they decided to hire John Prescott as the face of the campaign

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Cringe worthy: John Prescott swinging around his diary secretary
Steven_george-hilley
Steven George-Hilley
On 22 February 2015 08:48

Since the start of the year, both the Conservatives and Labour have been trading blows and drawing up the dividing lines ahead of the general election.

The Conservatives have so far managed to avoid any uncomfortable exchanges or policy blunders, a signifier of the razor sharp preparation behind the scenes from the party’s strategist Lynton Crosby.

In contrast to this, Ed Miliband’s campaign has already suffered a series of notable problems, many of which raise questions about whether the party is even fit for government.

From Ed Miliband’s savage attack on Boots, a popular and respected British business and employer, to extreme policy confusion over tuition fees, the party message is crumbling under only the slightest bit of pressure.

The latest, and in my view most damaging comments, came from Ed Balls, Labour shadow chancellor, who is fast becoming the Conservative Party’s biggest asset. Mr Balls claimed that everyone who pays cash for odd jobs, including having someone cut your hedge, should require a written receipt.

Coming after Mr Balls failed to name a single business figure who supported Labour, this blunder inflicted grievous damage on the party’s connection with working class voters. To all those people who help out a friend with a bit of DIY, hedge cutting or building, Labour is going to make you fill in the paperwork and they are going to tax you for it.

Labour’s crisis and loss of poll points clearly comes from the chaos and confusion surrounding its core policies. With this in mind, Labour strategists must have been despondent, drunk or desperate when they decided to hire John Prescott as the face of the campaign.

"The green belt is a Labour achievement; and we intend to build upon it,” is just one of the many examples, along with his affair with diary secretary Tracey Temple, where the former Deputy Prime Minister embarrassed his party. If Labour were having problems before, just imaging how bad they’ll be now?

Ironically, it was Tony Blair who managed to get the most out of Prezza. But the gaffes during those years were offset by a professional and serious team of leading politicians around him, minimising the impact of his gaffes.

This time round, the media and voters will focus directly on the inevitable mistakes of John Prescott, as the public already see Ed Miliband and Ed Balls as comedy politicians.

I’ve witnessed John Prescott on the campaign trail before and he can be remarkably effective at rallying supporters with his booming voice. But after so many Labour voters have been neglected in places like Rotherham, the damage with the party’s core supporters may well be irreparable.

Last year, there was much hype around Labour’s campaign for Ed Miliband to become Prime Minister. David Axelrod, the Obama strategist came over for a photo shoot and produced a video where he endorsed Ed as the Prime Minister in waiting.

All for a reported £300,000. But where is he now? Presumably, he is giving Douglas Alexander and his team daily advice via a conference call. If he isn’t, Labour has again just demonstrated its ability to waste money, but at least it’s the party’s own cash for once.

After the bacon sandwich incident, a soft approach to welfare and catastrophic policy blunders, Ed Miliband has already been proven to be a man lacking the credentials to lead this great country. This morning, a poll in The Observer has given the Conservatives a two point lead over Labour, mirroring the rise seen in other polls earlier this week.

This trend will accelerate in the coming weeks, as the public gets to see the tragi-comedy that is Ed Miliband, Ed Balls and John Prescott. They are an embarrassment to their party, and the British people will not allow them to become an embarrassment to our country.

Steven George-Hilley is a director at the Parliament Street think tank. He is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator @StevenGeorgia

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