There’s a bible quote that I think must haunt every politician in the Western world who believes in God, or at least claims to; it’s Matthew 16:26.
“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”
Ed Miliband says he doesn’t believe in God.
That’ll be how he sleeps at night.
I am writing this in a very pissed off frame of mind.
Lately, as I watch Miliband, I have become more and more convinced that he does not deserve to win.
That vexes me, because I didn’t always feel that way about him, and I wanted to see him do well.
I wanted to feel good about this bloke, I really did.
I think he’s had a ridiculous run of negative press stories, the substance of which actually ought to embarrass our media but don’t as most of our “political commentators” have all the shame of a glamour model getting caught round the back of a nightclub with a Premiership footballer.
I mean, the guy had months of bad press based on how he ate a bacon sandwich.
Seriously. Is that the criteria on which we’re judging a future Prime Minister?
By the same token, Nigel Farage is regarded as credible because he looks like an ordinary bloke when he’s holding a pint.
Anyone who saw those sort of pictures and made a choice about how they’re going to vote ought to be deprived of it.
At the very least we need to consider a basic intelligence test before handing people a ballot paper.
Am I kidding? Yes, but only halfway.
What I’m saying is that I looked past all that, and for a while anyway I thought that Miliband might be a good guy, and perhaps even someone worth voting for. If he had been the guy I initially thought he was I might even have swallowed my misgivings about the local comedy club candidate Tom Harris and voted along party lines, all the better to put him in Number 10.
That was before the referendum campaign, of course, when all doubt was removed.
But Ed Miliband could have brought me back to Labour. I make no secret of that fact.
Had his brother been elected leader, forget about it. David Miliband, to me, had all the warmth of a winter’s night in Glasgow Green and when he spoke you could have played a “blah blah blah” track over whatever it was he was saying and still got the gist of it.
As is typical in any number of political “stars” these days – see Kezia Dugdale for People’s Exhibit Number 1 – he had mastered only one real skill; the art of being able to drone on in the technocratic waffle of the professional speaker, who says absolutely nothing but never stops talking.
Now, I am not suggesting I, for one minute, believed Miliband was the leader we’d been waiting for.
I’m saying that compared to his brother he might as well have been John F Kennedy back from the dead.
Ed Miliband did some things, early doors, which made me smile broadly. His stance against Murdoch was ballsy and principled and seemed to change the nature of the game. He took a big swing at the energy companies too and his stance on tax evasion and the non-doms should be music to the ears of progressives everywhere.
But although these are serious things and not just the usual “gesture politics” there are other aspects to this guy that scare the Hell out of me and make me wonder whether he actually does possess a shred of principle, or if he’s simply a calculating sonofabitch.
I tell myself that doesn’t matter.
If he can deliver for ordinary people, then his motives are the last thing I’d usually care about.
When the SNP started talking, loudly, in the language of social justice some years ago I realised early I didn’t give a toss whether they believed it or were just playing political games. The result would be the same if they followed through, which they did.
Motives don’t matter to me. Only results.
Yet this time it does bother me. This time the motive matters.
For a start, even if Miliband himself is progressive I do not believe some of the members of his party are.
Too many of them, like Reeves, like Balls, like Umunna, are privately educated establishment types who don’t want to rock the boat because they’ve been steering it all their lives.
The idea that recession, or austerity, or whatever else we’re calling it, even touches on the lives of these people is ridiculous. If they weren’t politicians they’d all still be comfortably upper middle class … and that’s not me playing the class warrior. They come from professional backgrounds, from places where they’ve never come into contact with people on benefits or struggling to pay their bills.
Their view of politics is skewed from a perspective of never having seen the world that the rest of us live in … and so they start to view our lives as abstractions and the wellbeing of millions of people as data points, to be manipulated for votes or discarded as required.
They are, in many ways, like computer technicians on a battleship, launching cruise missiles at targets they will never come into contact with, creating casualties they’ll never see in the flesh. That remove, that distance, their insulation from the consequences of the decisions they take, help them stay focussed on the only goal that matters; their own advancement.
And see, lately, I’ve been having doubts about Miliband himself, and whether or not we can really call him a good man.
The more I look, the more I see a slippery charlatan.
Miliband is from an immigrant background. His grandfather died at the hands of the Nazis, and both his parents came here from abroad, fleeing the terror of World War II. He ought to be grateful that, first, they came here at a time when immigration was not vilified and secondly that they spoke the language. Soon, that will be a major requirement for anyone coming to Britain.
Reading, over the weekend, that Miliband is now promoting that as a condition of being allowed to settle here I felt my skin crawl and I realised that this guy will say anything to win votes, even stuff that ought to make his own hair stand on end.
He clearly has no respect for the struggle of his own father and mother or he would not pay lip service to it whilst making policy on the hoof to this despicable degree.
It is dog whistle stuff, engaging not just the right but the far right and if he doesn’t realise that it opens a bottle you can’t put a cork back in he is an idiot. As I suspect he’s not I have to conclude that he’s just an unprincipled bastard.
That suspicion becomes even harder to shake when you see how he’s dealt with the merest suggestion that the SNP can help Labour be more radical. Labour clearly doesn’t fancy that, although the suspicion remains that had they decided to pursue the kind of policies that appeal to their normal support they would, in fact, already be over the line and all this would be moot.
But the core vote switches off when they hear immigrants being attacked.
The core vote doesn’t want to hear how Miliband now wants to “reach out to soft Conservatives.”
See, that one burns me too, and with very good reason.
I don’t want to go off on a rant, but I have no love for Tories. The kind of people who vote Conservative are, to me, inherently selfish. They believe in small government, which in itself is not a deal breaker, but their version of it involves ripping away the social safety net and cutting public services to the bone. Miliband can talk all he wants about “soft Tories” and Cameron can talk all he likes about “compassionate Conservatives” but as Blair once put it, “the problem’s not with the first word it’s with the second one.”
I am not even remotely interested in a Labour Party which eschews the chance to be more radical and left wing in the pursuit of votes from the kind of people who possess not one iota of social conscience. If these people had that they’d no longer be even considering voting Tory and so he wouldn’t have to go and sweet talk them into changing their minds.
Anyone with a heart would already be running in the other direction from Cameron, Osborne, the gruesome Johnson, that retrograde bastard Fallon and Jeremy Hunt, perhaps the only person in Britain who’s name and its rhyming slang are perfectly interchangable.
To vote Tory right now is to support a brutal assault on society. This is the most vicious and idealogically driven Conservative Party in my living memory, and they are quite clear that they aren’t even half done.
This party has driven hundreds of thousands into poverty. It has victimised everyone claiming benefits.
It has run despicable campaigns against asylum seekers.
Their policy of cutting foreign aid in the field of sea rescues killed over 900 people at the weekend.
Those who, knowing all that, still want to vote for them aren’t the kind of people Labour should be trying to convince. I don’t want anyone to convince them. Labour should have no interest in getting their support, because that support will cost more than the SNP’s ever would. To win those people over, you need to be willing to mortgage off part of your own compassion.
That’s clearly not a deal breaker for Ed Miliband … and that is disgraceful.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said austerity is no longer needed to pay down the deficit. Yet Labour is committed to it regardless. They are committed to the welfare cap, and will consider more cuts. They’ve already hammer punched under 21’s. With the IFS saying none of this is necessary, what is the continuing justification for it?
You have to conclude, on the facts, that Ed Miliband and his people are willing to inflict further horrendous damage on our society for no reason anyone can fatholm … except to chase votes. In pursuit of power.
Any person with an ounce of courage and seeking the highest office in the land would order an immediate review of Trident and its viability as a weapon system, or rule out renewal entirely. Everyone who has looked at this objectively – and by that I mean examing Trident as a useable weapon and not basing its retention on “national prestige” – knows it’s useless and that the money could be better spent on conventional forces …. Miliband won’t make the case and he doesn’t even want the SNP to put the debate on the table.
At the top of the piece I used a bible quote and I did so very deliberately, because one of Miliband’s other little highlights of late was his trip to a church in a bid to appeal to the religious voter.
Under normal circumstances I would say that, in itself, was a bit cheap and nasty … but where he crossed the line into outright scandal was when he used the trip to extol the virtues of Christianity and to talk up Britain as a nation of “Christian values.”
This is Ed Miliband, the Jewish atheist multicultural leader of the Labour Party here, talking like a member of the American Tea Party, in an effort to appeal to the lowest dregs of UKIP and the EDL. This is beyond shocking.
You would be forgiven for asking “Is there anything this guy won’t do or say to win votes?”
One can only speculate on what we’ll see next … but one thing comes across loud and clear.
Labour is still determined to try and secure this victory by appealing to the right.
Between the Tories, UKIP, the BNP and the English Democrats it’s hard to see where the extra votes are out on that flank.
As usual Labour is chasing voters it can’t catch and, as I said above, that it shouldn’t want to.
If I was still thinking of voting for them I would honestly be sick, absolutely heart sick of it all.
I feel bad for the voters in England who are forced to choose from such a diabolical run of charlatans. If the SNP ran nationally they would have over 100 seats for sure and then all the debate over legitimacy would be moot.
Thank God we have a party in Scotland that we can trust.
Ed Miliband will almost certainly end up Prime Minister.
Based on what I’ve seen from him lately I think it’s a blessing that he won’t be ruling on his own.
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