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Those who wish to study a classic demonstration of how to lose an election two years before it is scheduled to take place need only cast an eye over Ed Milipede’s pronouncements at his party conference this week.

Yesterday he proposed an overtly populist two year freeze on energy prices, a move that is likely to trigger a raft of precautionary increases in the months leading up to election 2015, and which signals Labour’s intention to interfere with the running of our free market economy. The energy companies are predictably outraged, but their card has been marked. It is an absolute racing certainty that before eighteen months are out, they will have agreed a pricing structure with the coalition, and that Cameron and Clegg will be wearing Ed’s clothes

Today, Ed says that there is no place for topless women on the pages of British newspapers. Morally, he may be right about that, but as the leader of a party that relies on the red-top vote to have any chance of electoral success, he may have committed a very unusual kind of suicide.

I used to think that the hapless old windbag that was Michael Foot was the most inept leader that any major UK party has had in my lifetime. Now, I’m not so sure.

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