Spectator (Dan Hodges)
Labour’s failure to realise the true state of the ‘ground war’ was
crippling. In the last days of a campaign, it is vital for the parties
to have an accurate picture of what is happening in constituencies, so
they can allocate workers and other important resources.
It used to work perfectly: in the old days, the Labour spin doctor
Damian McBride used to win favours with journalists by sharing the
party’s confidential internal polling, which was always spot on. This
time, it failed. Miliband’s troops were effectively fighting blind.
Blame for this abject failure of basic intelligence gathering has been
viciously apportioned to several areas. Some are quick to point the
finger at Labour HQ. ‘It wasn’t fit for purpose from day one,’ a shadow
cabinet adviser told me. ‘The first day we turned up, we were told there
weren’t enough workstations and some of us would have to spend the
campaign working from home. Then someone discovered there was one
mid-level official who still had a company car because he’d been with
the party since the 1970s and that was still written into his contract.’ .............Ed Miliband was an idealist until the end. He surrounded himself with
academics, took inspiration from political textbooks and had an
extraordinary ability to detach himself from the hue and cry of daily
politics. He created his own world and lived in it. This explains his
preternatural calm and his astonishing self-belief — but it also
explains why he drove his party over a cliff."