Let's hear it for Ed Miliband (and not just because it's Christmas)

Ed has become the equivalent of Stoke City – we're told they have no style but they keep winning

BY Neil Clark LAST UPDATED AT 07:15 ON Wed 21 Dec 2011

HE'S A 'WASHOUT'.  His prospects are "bleak". He's the man "with the word 'Loser' printed on his forehead". He's the geek "who can't even get being a geek right".
 
Reading newspaper commentators opine about Ed Miliband and his leadership of the Labour Party you'd think that the party had actually lost last week's Feltham and Heston by-election.
 
In fact Labour won it with an 8.56 per cent swing from the Conservatives. The party's share of the vote increased from 43.6 to 54.4 per cent and its majority rose from 4,658 to 6,203.
 
Yes, turnout was low, at less than 29 per cent, but there's no getting away from the fact that Labour did very well in a seat which the Tories will probably need to win if they are going to form a majority government at the next election.
 
Moreover, the result was no one-off fluke: Labour has fought five by-elections since Ed Miliband became leader in September 2010 and has won them all.
 
The reality is that far from being a "washout" whose prospects are "bleak" Miliband is doing rather well where it actually matters - at the polling station. So why is there such a disconnect between the critical views of Miliband's leadership we read in the newspapers and his actual performance?
 
The problem with Ed - as far as a sizeable chunk of the commentariat is concerned - is that he's the wrong Miliband. It was David Miliband, the former Foreign Secretary, and protege of Tony Blair, who was supposed to have succeeded Gordon Brown in 2010 and not his younger brother.

I remember speaking to one journalist from an august financial publication who assured me that Labour had consigned itself to oblivion by choosing Ed over David. "Ed will never get Labour back into government," the journalist assured me. "David would have been a far more sensible choice."
 
The dominant media narrative states that 'Red Ed' is doomed to failure because he's 'too left-wing' and a 'deficit denier' who is too soft on those awful trade unions. This thinking is based on · 

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