I am a Conservative, but I have friends and colleagues in different parties in the House of Commons. There are also opposition politicians who you respect. Self evidently noone respects Ed Miliband, although as an individual he is ok. It is just that he is hopelessly out of his depth, deeply misguided in his views, and would bring disaster to this country, if he were PM, particularly with Ed Balls as Chancellor.
One of Eds mistakes as Labour leader is to demote the intelligent and pragmatic Labour politicians: the sacking of John Healey MP, and the demotion of Jim Murphy MP were serious errors. It only further undermines Labour credibility - not least amongst their despairing MPs. In the Coalition we look in amazemement at the demotion of such people and the promotion of "Yes Men and Women" by Miliband. In the North East Phil Wilson is probably the best Labour MP, yet he is not promoted, and then several genuinely average performers are. My Labour MP mates all can see it. Yet nothing is done.
What really undermines Labour is the idea that business is the enemy, not the creator of jobs. The Miliband attitude to entrepreneurs dismays me.
This last 18 months I have been to Scotland repeatedly to battle for the Union with the SNP. We succeeded and, although you would not know it to hear the SNP, they lost by 10% points. There is no doubt that Jim Murphy made a real difference in that battle. He is likeable and articulate. On Wednesday morning we played together in the midfield against the Soldiers Charities team in the same House of Commons football team. He is now the Scottish labour leader.
For my part I am torn: I know that if the SNP take lots of Labour seats in Scotland it lessens the awful prospect of Miliband becoming Prime Minister, but it will also enhance the likelihood of Scottish separation and the breakup of the UK. I am confident that the Scottish Conservative Party will win more seats in Scotland at the General Eelection in May, but I recognise that to stop the SNP you need a strong Labour party in Scotland. And the win for Jim Murphy is a good thing. I wish him well. His biggest problem is his own leader Ed Miliband, who is a complete liability, whether here in England or in Scotland.