Friday, January 07, 2011

Ed Miliband: the cleverest man in politics

It has become de rigeur in political circles to denounce Labour's 'new' leader. At least, I think it has, I'm not 100% certain what de rigeur means - but I've heard the clever boys use the term in this sort of context so I hope it isn't slang for a cervical smear or anything. "He's like a lifeless jelly" they say. "Less a leader, more an intangible feeling of discomfort." That sort of thing.

But, gentle reader, I crave your indulgence for a moment because I believe this fashion is quite, uite wrong. Yes, like any Zen Master he's making his genius seem effortless. Yes, like any Kung Foo champion he achieves his aims with just a slight twist to his shoulder or gliding step to the side - but let's not mistake this for lack of mastery.

So mist like is his appearance that you see the Coaltion forces growing more and more disconcerted at the lack of opposition. Like children camping they an't work out if there's a monster out there or not. They turn on their torches, they start at a snapping twig, they start to argue, "Look, there is no Labour Party, it doesn't exist!" The other child starts crying, "Labour are out there and they're going to eat us raw!"

The Coalition announces cuts in housing benefits that will result in misery and homelessness and Miliband just looks at them. It's not even a glare. just looks right through them. Not-saying-a-word. So they're left shufflng their feet until the Lib Dem blurts out "I didn't want to do it, it's him, he wanted to put down their pets. After all why should people have pets if they can't pay the rent?" Miliband doesn't move, he just keeps on staring.

Then the Lib Dems start staggering around clutching their throats "We're dying! We're dying!" the shriek, but it can't be Labour's fault can it - after all they haven't moved a muscle? So they turn on one another.

Voters against members, members against MPs, MPs against leader and leader, baring his arse to a shocked world, against all of them. Meanwhile Miliband watches, as if to say "I am stone. As life comes and goes about me, I am rock. Let rivers rage and thunder crash, what are these effemeral twitiches to the aeons?"

As libraries shut, offices close, unemployment rises and riots flare across the streets all we see are Lib Dems and Tories racing round setting light to schools, and urinating on our armed forces (but only the living ones, never the dead).

Of course, Labour's ranks are not all schooled in Miliband's teachings. Some cluck and splutter "Do something!" They shout "Call someone a bigot! Announce a policy initiative! Issue a press release! Do something!"

Miliband stops breathing, a hint of a frown crosses his face, but just for a moment. Holding up one finger he silences them. A deathly quiet falls. "Listen." One brave Labour acolyte steps forwards, and trembling asks "Wh... what is that sound? It's cutting me to the quick... horrible..." she breathes, eyes wide.

"It is the weeping of my enemies."

He places his hand back in his lap and continues the vigil over the Coalition's misrule. He whispers to himself "soon they will come and beg for our return, but not yet, let them twist a little more, let them see what life is like without me a while longer." Look at the polls and tell me I'm wrong.


claude said...

A fantastic article. If newspapers editors knew a thing or two about good writers they would ask you to publish it.

Chris said...

Right Idea, Wrong Brother.

David Miliband set up his seat on the sideline once he got narrowly beaten for Leader. The idea has worked so well most of the Conservative and Labour frontbench teams have done the same, they're letting Ed, the 1922 committee and the Liberal Democrats punch themselves out all under the gaze of never blinking gaze of the News networks who obsess over every word they utter.

It's the warm-up, the dark matches before the main event.
Next Election, David vs David

RooftopJaxx said...

Probably all very true inside the Westminster Village. But outside? For the innocent victims of the cuts? Can they afford to just patiently wait for Steady Eddy?

modernity said...

He's bloody useless, still he's the "best" that New Labour has....which is saying something....appalling and politically naive...

Strategist said...

Love the post too.

"I am stone. As life comes and goes about me, I am rock. Let rivers rage and thunder crash, what are these effemeral twitiches to the aeons?"

- could be the high point in my history of enjoying this blog.

Rustam Majainah said...

Milliband's inaction does seem to be doing well for Labour in the polls, but what I wonder is whether he is by design planning to do nothing, as you say, or whether he really has no ideas and through good fortune and the coalitions unpopular policies he just happens to be winning in the polls.

Jim Jepps said...

I completely agree RooftopJaxx

Thanks to all who've said they love the post. You're all very kind.

Rustam - I think he's in a very difficult position, anything he says will either be wildly off the Labour agenda or hopelessly short of what people want him to say.

The fact that labour criticise the coalition for trying to halve the deficit in three years saying it should be four shows that while large numbers of people see them as an alternative the more they actually speak the more lkely it is that they dispel the illusion.

I've no idea if it is a deliberate strategy or not, but the polls shows they are not derailing their own political comeback by doing anything silly like having positions on things.