Tara Hamilton-Miller: Ed's advances will not help Lib Dems

Not one of our political parties appears capable of defining itself. Not a good time to have a 'who are we, what are we?' crisis. Ed Miliband attempted another stilted relaunch this week. It was almost painful to watch as the boy leader decided to ask out the Liberal Democrats. It was awkward.

Tara Hamilton-Miller

Ed is finally realising how tough it can be at the top surrounded by people who have no idea how you got there and have little or no faith in you. Even his own brother refuses to rule out 'a return to frontline politics'.

It is going to take time with Labour. Left friends, all of whom supported David Miliband, still live in denial. They have yet to come round to the fact Labour lost the election - and the elder brother lost the leadership.

The Lib Dems are in a rut, but whether a come-on from Ed is going to raise their spirits is debatable. An ex-Labour cabinet minister sniggered with Tory MPs this week: 'We're in the s**t, but at least we're not Lib Dems.'

Thankfully for David Cameron, not many seem concerned by a growing Tory unrest. As the Lib Dems completely lose it and Labour considers therapy, a group of Tory MPs are simmering with resentment over decisions the coalition is making. A percentage of the new intake is not happy and although this goes largely unreported, there is discontent. They don't like the level of bullying from the Whips; they were promised the earth and feel sidelined, and nobody likes Speaker Bercow. An overwhelming disgust of Bercow is the strongest bond between all of the right.

Tim Montgomery from Conservative Home suggests Tories must choose either 'liberal conservatism' or 'mainstream conservatism'. Cameron has been leader for five years and yet at Christmas parties held by right-leaning think-tanks, young Tories and MPs are trying to define what the party stands for. Who's a pragmatist, an idealist? Cabinet performance is scrutinised - who has performed, who has been a disappointment?

As 2010 draws to a close, all parties are desperate to be seen as 'progressive' - the latest buzz word. In 2011, Lib Dems ponder Ed's offer like plain, unmarried village girls in a Jane Austen novel. Don't do it.

Tara Hamilton-Miller is a political adviser and formerly worked for the Conservative Party press team

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