Miliband Minor channeling Silent T

David Shearer tried the squeezed middle and look where it got him…now it looks like Ed Miliband is trying to channel David Cunliffe in a solid lurch to the left.

Before Labour conference began Ed Miliband’s aides assembled for a meeting to map out their conference strategy. It went something like this. “We could talk about the Squeezed Middle.” “Nah. Much too 2011.” How about “One Nation?” “Duh. Of course. But we can’t just keep banging on about that all week. We tried last year and look where it’s got us.” “OK. Look, I know this may be a bit left-field, but why don’t we use conference to evoke the memory of the dear departed leader Enver Hoxha, first secretary of the Labour Party of Albania, and one of history’s strongest adherents to antirevisionist Marxist Leninism?” “Like it. Bound to go down a bomb with the focus groups.”

So similar it isn’t funny.

Ed Miliband believes he has discovered why his party is struggling to connect with the voters of Britain. He’s not socialist enough. Or more accurately, he’s not being clear enough about just how much of a socialist he is.

He’s been dropping some heavy hints, of course. Flirting with renationalising the railways. Taxing people who live in mansions. Pledging to hang, draw and quarter all those bankers. 

But the electorate haven’t picked up on it. Their hunger for a genuine socialist alternative is such that they are just not prepared to accept cheap imitations. They want the real collectivist deal.

Nationalise power, check, increasing taxes, “you bet Patrick”, yank multinational supermarkets into line, check.

So this week Ed Miliband has decided to give it to them. On Saturday a random passer-by in Brighton town centre spoke for the nation when he shouted “Why won’t you bring back socialism.” “That’s what we’re doing sir!” he shouted back excitedly. “It is about fighting the battle for economic equality, for social equality and for gender equality too. That is a battle that is not yet won in our country!” He might have added “or any other country, except Cuba and Laos”.

When I saw those comments I thought they were just a bit of a slip of the tongue. One of those stupid things Ed Miliband does occasionally. Or in days of the week that end in “y”.

But it’s not a mistake. Apparently, it’s this week’s line to take. “I’ve always used the word socialism. I’ve no problem with that,” Ed Balls told the Today programme, which as we all know is compulsory listening amongst members of the socialist international. “It’s a socialism which is rooted in the struggles of working people in the 19th century: fairness, proper rights at work, to have a health service that works for them, education for all; it’s about an economy and a society which is not only for the privileged few. I think the thing which is interesting about the Labour Party conference, even though these are new times, people take inspiration also from the past.”

Red roses, the international symbol of socialiiiiiism

I distinctly remember Tony Blair, in one of his first speeches after being elected leader, telling his party not to be afraid to talk about its socialism. After which he never mentioned it again.

And there was a reason he didn’t mention it. People weren’t all that keen on it. It conjured some negative images. Unburied corpses. Large walls stretching across western Europe. That sort of thing.

It is uncanny, you could almost substitute Ed Miliband’s name for David Cunliffe’s and it sounds remarkably like Labour here.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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