Predictably, the tight election victory of Ed Miliband over his brother David has already got the Tory twitterati and the media pundits frothing at the mouth. Yes, David won in the MPs’ section and in the individual members’ section of the electoral college, but Ed’s very clear lead in the votes of the (far more numerous) Labour supporting members of affiliated organisations gave him the edge.
So what’s the story? That is the system and has been for thirty years. The electoral college has three parts. That’s the way it works.
Moreover, members of trade unions and affiliated organisations are not sheep. They don’t just vote as their leaders tell them. Their votes – several hundred thousand of them – reflect their perception of who will make the best Party leader.
And for many of those who voted – like me – for David, it was a close run thing. From the outset I knew I was going to vote for one of the Miliband brothers and only decided finally after the contest had been running for several weeks. And many – if not most – of those who gave David their first preference will have given their second preference to Ed.
So the Labour Party will unite behind its new leader and the Tories and the LibDems will be making a big mistake if they underestimate him or the support he will have.