Feeling bold, Mr Milliband? I've got a cunning plan to deliver a Labour victory in 2015

Millions are upset about bankers and Murdoch, which ought to translate into Labour support. Instead Ed Miliband comes across as an inoffensive Sellotape salesman

Share

You’d be heartless not to wish the people of Eastleigh good luck with their latest MP, as they haven’t had much since the 1990s when they elected a Tory who strangled himself in a sex game. Maybe that explains why the Lib-Dems hung on to the seat, as the voters thought: “The Tory wanked himself to death so fiddling speeding points is at least a step in the right direction.”

Another explanation for current Tory unpopularity might be that it’s becoming obvious whose interests they care for most. For example, this week they’re boasting how they told the European Union they won’t let them dictate to us by limiting bankers’ bonuses to 200 per cent of their salary. The Financial Times quoted one MP as saying: “How dare this jumped-up Euro pseudo-parliament set pay in the City of London?”

That’s the spirit. We didn’t fight on the beaches of Normandy so the Germans could ask us to only let bankers fleece us for 200 per cent. It’s the right of every Englishman going back to King Harold to allow, nay demand, that bankers swipe everything we thought we owned, including coming round our house and microwaving our photos and holiday mementos, pouring cat sick in our socks and strapping us to a flaming barbecue and grilling sardines on our buttocks while they eat our biscuits without interference from some busybody from Belgium, because we’re ENGLISH. “Once the British people understand that message,” think the Tories, “our mid-term blip will be over.”

Their argument, as ever, is that insisting that bankers can only have double their salary as a bonus will lead to them leaving the country. As threats go, that should be as troubling as if Abu Qatada had said: “You’d better give me some Semtex or I might leave the country.”

But while the Government seems discredited, this doesn’t appear to result in any enthusiasm for Labour. It feels as if Labour is only ahead in the polls because most people have forgotten about them. Maybe this is the strategy, to be as vague as possible until everyone forgets who they were and votes for them, then when Ed Miliband announces he’s Prime Minister, we’ll all say: “Oh, THAT bloke. I’m sure I’ve seen him on something, was it 8 out of 10 Cats?”

News stories come and go and Labour has hardly any impact on them, so not saying anything that might be noticed must be the strategy. They’re probably writing a speech in response to the Budget that goes: “We had cauliflower cheese for dinner last night, first time for years.” The local election leaflets will have a dot-to-dot puzzle and six anagrams of characters from Harry Potter.

At the moment, there must be millions of people upset about bankers, about Murdoch, and about the Government, which ought to translate into support for Labour, but instead Ed Miliband comes across as an inoffensive Sellotape salesman you meet at a service station. Occasionally, he tries to look cross and impassioned, but he might as well say: “What the hard-working British people demand is the wider three-quarter inch rolls, available in grey or transparent, and apparently slightly stickier than before. Oh, there’s a special offer of three boxes for the price of two until 25 March.”

You can’t put this down solely to him, as there’s no one obvious who’d do any better. So maybe there’s another explanation, which is that Labour can’t exploit the woes of the Government fully because it was as keen on investment bankers and outrageous wealth itself. In fact, the party’s leader made it his mission to make Labour love bankers and big business.

So Ed Miliband needs to be bold. Perhaps he should try a speech at this year’s conference that ends: “Our party cannot be bound by the ideology of our past. We must abandon the language of the 1990s, when our ideas had to be approved by tax exiles and not announced until agreed by Richard Branson.

“Previous generations may have thought it suitable for our policies to be decided by the old block system, in which Rupert Murdoch’s vote counted for more than everyone else’s put together, but we face new times with new challenges.

“In the past, our leaders said they were intensely relaxed about the filthy rich but, if we want to ever win an election again, we must realise in today’s world it is essential to curb the power of the investment bankers, and realise we will never win the trust of the British people if we regard Peter Mandelson as a normal human being.

“I therefore propose a new clause in our constitution, Clause 4A, which will read: ‘Bloody Nora, have you seen how many billions a year goes missing in tax avoidance. We’re having that back for a start.’

“Old New Labour may have been fine for the old new times but that time is past. We are now in NEW new times; times that will belong to NEW New Labour, for a NEW New Britain.”

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Supply teaching - A great w...

Training Programme Manager (Learning and Development)-London

£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Day In a Page

Read Next
'Our media are suffering a new experience: not fear of being called anti-Semitic'  

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk
David Cameron (pictured) can't steal back my party's vote that easily, says Nigel Farage  

Cameron’s benefits pledge is designed to lure back Ukip voters. He’ll have to try harder

Nigel Farage
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices