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Miliband aims to hand Eastleigh to Cameron

By Paul Goodman
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Screen shot 2013-02-14 at 07.42.54At least, that's the only sense to be made of Labour's selection of John O'Farrell - "The Joke Candidate" - to fight the Eastleigh by-election.

Miliband had a strategic choice in the Hampshire seat:

  • To try not to take votes from the LibDems, run a campaign so low-profile as to be almost invisible - and boost Nick Clegg's chances of winning the seat, thus turning up the heat under David Cameron.
  • To try to take votes from the LibDems, pick a high-profile candidate who may well do so - and harm Clegg's chances of winning the seat, thus turning down the heat under Cameron and giving him a bit of a breather.

You don't have to be a brain surgeon to conclude that, by making choice b), the Labour leader has made the wrong decision.  I thus agree with hired Miliband contract killer Dan Hodges.

It would be a big mistake to write the Labour leader off as completely clueless, but there are times when I almost yield to the temptation...