Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Brand Miliband Stuck in the Slow Lane

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Brand Miliband Stuck in the Slow Lane

Article excerpt


WHEN Ed Miliband was elected Labour leader on the opening day of the party's conference in Manchester in September, a leading Tory blogger delivered a withering verdict on the result.

"They've missed out Hague a nd gone straight to IDS," said Paul Staines, author of the Guido Fawkes blog which, while not exactly impartial in its coverage of the political scene, is not without influence at Westminster.

Staines was, so far as I am aware, the first political pundit to make the comparison between 'Red Ed' and the failed Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, but he certainly hasn't proved to be the last.

"It may be too early to start talking about Ed Miliband not making it to the next election as Labour leader, but many more performances at PMQs as poor as he put on today and it won't be long before he's in IDS territory," said another this week.

Wednesday's Prime Minister's questions should have been a breeze for Mr Miliband with the continuing three-way split in the Liberal Democrats over whether to vote for tuition fees, vote against them or abstain.

On top of that, he had the leaked critique by Bank of England governor Mervyn King describing Prime Minister David Cameron and his Chancellor George Osborne as "out of their depth".

Yet Mr Miliband chose instead to base his attack on another leaked document in which William Hague had described himself, Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne as "Thatcher's children".

"I would rather be a child of Thatcher than a son of Brown," the Prime Minister responded, ramming home the open goal to hoots of laughter from the government benches.

For Mr Miliband to attack the coalition for its Thatcherite tendencies was politically inept on so many levels it is hard to know where to start.

To begin with, Mrs Thatcher would not even have contemplated some of the things the coalition is doing, particularly in the area of welfare, so the comparison breaks down at the first hurdle. …

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