The Week in Review: Dead Elvis
By Adam Bienkov
Ed Miliband could not dream of an easier set of circumstances in which to win the next general election.
The economy is struggling, the Conservative vote is split by a second right-wing party and David Cameron has just lost the trust of the public and his party on a matter of war and peace.
After a week in which the prime minister suffered humiliation at home and abroad, Miliband should be ending his week on a high.
And yet, throughout this week it was the Labour leader who looked to be having the most difficult time.
His poor performances in the Commons and his near invisibility elsewhere has convinced some Labour activists to give up what little hope they had left in him.
It's difficult to see how he has let this happen.
After defeating the government on Syria last week, some of his critics accused him of being an opportunist. But they couldn't be more wrong.
Opportunists take advantage of opportunities. Ed Miliband has shown almost no sign of being able to do that this week.
The British public are overwhelmingly opposed to any more wars in the Middle East.
In any normal situation, a political leader taking that position would have managed to secure at least a small boost for their efforts.
Miliband has secured none. In fact one poll this week found that just three per cent of the public think he is good in a crisis and just two per cent think he is a natural leader.
As one Tory MP pointed out this week, that's half the number of people who believe that Elvis Presley is alive.
The corpse of Elvis would probably not make a better leader of the opposition than Ed Miliband, but if the Labour party did choose Dead Elvis as their new commander in chief, it's hard to see how his ratings could be much worse.
So far Miliband's is not doing quite bad enough for most voters to switch to the Conservative party.
But if Labour's polling remains relatively buoyant then it's in spite of Miliband's leadership, not because of it.
Stuck in the lobby
The electoral mathematics remain firmly in Labour's favour, but this week has seen the Conservatives' latest attempt to re-write the equation.
The government's new lobbying bill has very little to do with lobbyists, and everything to do with restricting the ability of trade unions to campaign for Labour.
But perhaps the biggest threat to Labour's union support comes, not from the government, but from Miliband himself.
His decision to reform Labour's link with the unions was cheered by many commentators and activists on the right of the party.
But the direct result of that decision is millions of pounds less money coming into Labour's future election campaigns.
Miliband's decision led the GMB to announce this week that they will cut their contribution to Labour by over 90%.
They are just the first of many other trade unions set to dramatically sever their ties with the party.
This is dangerous for Labour but it doesn't have to be fatal.
Miliband hopes to make up for the shortfall by inspiring many more individuals to sign up to the party instead.
This is arguably a big opportunity for Miliband, especially when Conservative party membership is at such an all time low.
With great challenges, come great opportunities.
But then with great opportunities, there usually comes Miliband walking past with empty hands.