Five Year Mission: The Labour Party under Ed Miliband (Paperback)
  • Five Year Mission: The Labour Party under Ed Miliband (Paperback)

Five Year Mission: The Labour Party under Ed Miliband (Paperback)

Paperback Published: 02/04/2015
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In May 2010, Labour suffered one of its worst ever election defeats. A few months later it chose Ed Miliband as its new leader. His task? To win back power after just one term in opposition - a tall order given how many voters had come to blame Labour for the economic mess the country was in, and to see the party as a soft-touch when it came to immigration and welfare.

Even those who were more sympathetic had their doubts. Was Ed Miliband really leadership material? Would he be able to overcome defeating his elder brother to get to the top? Would he have to do as he was told by the trade union leaders who had helped him win? Could he resolve the tensions between Blairites and Brownites, Blue Labour and New Labour? Might his desire to keep his colleagues united mean Labour stayed stuck in its comfort zone? Would he, in seeking to break from the party's recent past, take it too far to the left? Could he offer the electorate something really radical in 2015 or would he instead choose something safer but ultimately less inspiring? And what should twenty-first social democracy look like now that the money had run out?

This book, by one of the country's foremost experts on party politics, seeks to answer all those questions and, in the run up to the 2015 general election, to ask one more: will Ed Miliband's five year mission turn out to be 'mission impossible'?

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198702962
Weight: 394 g
Dimensions: 214 x 136 x 18 mm


This crisp and penetrating analysis shines new light on Labour's striving for the historically near-impossible - a return to power after just one term in opposition. Ed Miliband as potential prime minister emerges as a new figure, under-examined in the cacophony of his detractors. A gripping read, Bale balances sharp style and insight with invaluable research rigour. - Polly Toynbee, The Guardian

[Bale has] mapped every twist in Miliband's journey without getting lost in the labyrinth. - Rafael Behr, The Guardian

In this detailed account of Miliband's five-year leadership Tim Bale [...] charts the strategic calculations, the compromises and the endless triangulation between boldness and caution that have resulted in the electorate still having no clear idea of what the Labour party stands for or whom it is appealing to ... Bale's month-by-month reminder of every speech, promise, gaffe, clarification and forgotten mini-crisis of the past five years graphically illustrates the depressing pettiness, obsessive poll-watching and point-scoring that is the stuff of modern politics. - John Campbell, The Independent

Tim Bale has written an authoritative and revelatory account of Ed Miliband's Leadership, one that challenges a number of fashionable assumptions. He also casts much needed light on the wider Labour Party after its fall from power in 2010. The book is a must read for all those who want to understand what a Miliband led government might be like. - Steve Richards, The Independent

A superb overview of the past five years of Labour's history, offering an unequalled sense of perspective on Ed Miliband's ambiguous record as Leader of the Opposition. This book will be the starting point for all future historians as they seek to understand the 2015 election, which promises to be one of the most fascinating contests of modern times. - John Rentoul, The Independent on Sunday

In Five Year Mission, Tim Bale seals his reputation as Britain's finest political scholar. The book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand Ed Miliband's strategy, record and claim to be Prime Minister. Bale's command of policy, personality and their inter-action is exemplary. A superb book. - Matthew d'Ancona, The Guardian and the Evening Standard

Excellent. Tim Bale rises above the daily political frenzy with this extremely shrewd, insightful and considered assessment. It is a must-read for anyone interested in Labour's journey under Ed Miliband. - Andrew Rawnsley, Associate Editor and Chief Political Commentator, The Observer

Incisive and authoritative. - Andrew Sparrow, The Guardian politics blog

The book will remain a useful first-stop to this period in Labour's history. - Stephen Bush, The New Statesman blog

Tim Bale gives us a detailed, insightful and at times riveting account of Ed Miliband's failed attempt to revive Labour's electoral fortunes following the 2010 electoral defeat and the demise of New Labour. - LSE blog

A comprehensive study ... Bale's account contains important lessons for Labour's future; this book is required reading for policymakers and politicos alike. - Chartist

An absorbing, narrative account of Miliband's ascent. - Stephen Tall blog

[An] excellent book. - Palatinate

Lucid, engaging and fair commentary. - Book reviews and Randomness

The worst day in government is better than the best day in opposition. As leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband has one job - to get Labour back into government. Tim Bale vividly analyses the complexity and challenges of this job describing the people, policies and events which help and hinder the mission. It is a roller coaster political ride. - Jacqui Smith

Tim Bale's account of Ed Miliband's leadership of Labour is comprehensive and authoritative - an essential guide to understanding the 2015 general election. - Charles Clarke

A book worth reading and referring to ... 5 out of 5. - Mark Pack

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