Blogs Coffee House

Miliband’s main man blames the voters

8 July 2014

Labour Party guru David Axelrod popped up in Sunday’s New York Times, presumably to promote his new book. He spoke candidly to columnist Maureen Dowd, attempting to explain why Barack Obama is plummeting in the polls:

Reagan significantly changed the trajectory of the country for better and worse. But he restored a sense of clarity. Bush and Cheney were black and white, and after them, Americans wanted someone smart enough to get the nuances and deal with complexities. Now I think people are tired of complexity and they’re hungering for clarity, a simpler time. But that’s going to be hard to restore in the world today.’

That’s right; apparently, President Obama is just too complex for the simple American public.


Is that a bold political strategy rooted in honesty, or merely yet more evidence of the political class’s breath-taking arrogance? You decide – if you’re bright enough.

One wonders what that clever Ed Miliband makes of Axelrod’s analysis. You may recall that it was he who hired the celebrity campaigner, much to the excitement of the political classes, to help him into Number 10. You will struggle to find anyone Westminster who would honestly say that the Labour leader is speaking to those who are ‘hungering for clarity’ and a ‘simpler’ politics. So does he think that the British are crying out for nuance and complexity?

With catchphrases like ‘pre-distribution’ and ‘producers versus predators’ and a fondness for Thomas Piketty, it would appear that Ed’s on the side of the wonks. And it just so happens that his own approval rating is tanking. Mr S may be a bear of very little brain compared to the likes of wise political lodestars like Ed and the Axe; but even he can see a correlation…

More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us now.

  • HookesLaw

    Obama’s difficulty (in terms of any legacy) is that he is a victim of the financial crisis he inherited. That in turn was fed from docisions made by Clinton’s administration. He is just reacting to nevents not ‘doing’ anything. He might as well not be there. He has left Obamacare but how that pans out is anybody’s guess.

    America need to revise the way it is governed – it has led to a massive waste in expenditure.

  • swatnan

    He’s right.The Voters never do get it, and always get the Govt they deserve, and suffer for it.

  • Seldom Seen

    I must admit – I’ve been wondering what happened to Nigel Mansell and now I know. OK, he’s aged a bit but that’s only to be expected. Good idea to change his name to Axelrod because he would have had them on his racing cars.

  • Conway

    I thought if the people weren’t doing what the govt wanted, they just changed the people.

  • Mrs Josephine Hyde-Hartley

    How can debt be predistributed? Retrospective notional accountability?

  • Jacques Strap

    He certainly has some kind of complex…

  • keith

    can someone explain what the X on the ballot paper means

    • El_Sid

      Don’t joke – there was a guy in his mid 20’s on TV recently who had to have it explained to him what the main three parties were.

  • Curnonsky

    Obama is reportedly deeply disappointed in the American people’s unwillingness to acknowledge his brilliance, even as he (according to Bill Clinton) is convinced he has done a magnificent job as President and will go down as one of the greats.

    So perhaps we can look forward to Labour adopting the same attitude in their campaign (pace Dan Hodges): “You people let us down by voting us out but we’re not bitter, we’re prepared to give you another chance.” Because just behind the pro-common man slogans of the Left lurks a deeply-held contempt for the lower orders, who they hold to be too stupid and gullible to look after themselves (which is why they find the whole process of elections so humiliating).

    • Conway

      Didn’t Mandelson state that the British people were too stupid to understand the issues and so they should be denied a referendum on the EU?

  • GIN1138

    “And it just so happens that his own approval rating is tanking”

    To be fair Ed’s approval ratings have been a disaster from the very beginning.

    Assuming he does somehow luck his way into Downing St. for five years it won’t take long for him to sink to depth’s of unpopularity hitherto unheard of in British politics.

    • KestrelSprite

      Ed needs no luck to get into Downing Street. Out-of-date electoral boundaries and massive postal voting fraud guarantee him victory in 2015.

  • JabbaTheCat

    The Obama presidential library is up and running…

  • Mark

    Both Obama and Miliband seem far more comfortable with theory than reality, with the abstract than the concrete. Nothing smart about that: it’s naivety disguised as nuance. The difference is that Obama at least looks and occasionally sounds like a leader.

    • george

      theoretical voters dont laugh at you when you cant eat a bacon buttie without gagging … real ones do!

    • Kitty MLB

      Well they assume looking and sounding like a leader is all that counts now.
      Besides employing people who think for them and tell them what to say.
      So out of touch with the voting public, even the person employed to help him
      win over the voting public happens to be a clueless buffoon.

    • miford

      Both of these men are using Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) in their speeches. They’re manipulating the subconscious minds of the viewers using well known hypnotic techniques (including hand movements and changes in tone of voice at specific points). Obviously Obama is better at it than Milliband because he’s a natural bully, is better looking so people watch him more and he’s more passionate.

  • 15peter20

    ‘Producers versus predators’ may or may not be an intelligent line, but it is hardly wonkish, and easier to grasp than, say, ‘the Big Society’.

    And is Piketty really worse than the ‘Nudge’ and ‘Black Swan’ guys?

  • global city

    Ed’s on the side of the internationalist theoreticians…. the same ones who have destroyed the lives of countless millions round the world ever since Marx followed through one night and someone mistook it for philosophy to guide the common man.

    • Ooh!MePurse!

      Great post!

  • Kaine

    Main man? I thought the line was that Axelrod was there for decoration, and wouldn’t be giving Miliband any meaningful advice?

    Did I miss the meeting where the attack shifted?

Can't find your Web ID? Click here