'Take that, Fink!': Why Ed Miliband's first political victory in ages makes me feel uncharacteristically hopeful and aggressive

Like many people I've despaired at how weird and ineffective Miliband is, but could he finally be turning it around?

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The Independent Online

I'm not a fighting type of person (once, when I was randomly attacked in a tent at Reading Festival, I wrapped my hands around the assailant to stop him punching me and then sat there aggressively hugging him until he left).

That said, watching Ed Miliband land a political knock out on the Tory donor Lord Stanley Fink over tax avoidance has gotten me so fired up.

When I heard the news today that Fink wasn’t going to sue the Labour Leader for calling his tax affairs “dodgy” I felt like I had been suddenly transported ringside. I was down by the red corner, towel over my shoulders, fists punching the air, shouting things like “Get in”, “That’s my boy”, and “Yes son, 'ave it”.

It all started with Miliband’s smart left jab on Fink in PMQs yesterday. For someone supposedly so good at avoiding things, it struck Fink right on the nose. And Miliband's defence (parliamentary privilege: he can say what he likes and not get sued) was both constitutional and immediate.

Incensed, Fink squared up to Miliband. “I challenge you to repeat your allegation outside the House of Commons,” he sneered. Miliband didn't repeat the word "dodgy" in his second attack, but he didn't completely wimp out, and repeated his claims.

But just before they entered that weird embrace boxers always seem to get themselves into, Fink responded the only way he a man in his taxing situation could: by roundhousing himself in his face. “I don't even want to sue Ed Miliband," he said; "If he simply uses the words 'Lord Fink did ordinary tax avoidance' then, no, I couldn't sue him…”

Fink then managed to punch himself in the face again while he was down, adding that his tax avoidance was "at the vanilla, bland, end of the spectrum [...] The expression tax avoidance is so wide that everyone does tax avoidance at some level." We’re still counting down, waiting to see how this all ends, but from where I’m sitting it looks like a KO.

Why am I so excited? Because apart from when Miliband went to town on The Daily Mail for saying his dad hated Britain, or waged class warfare with his mansion tax proposal, I’ve despaired so much about Labour under his leadership.

His handling of bacon sandwiches has nothing to do with it, but more what he says, and how he says it. He just always ends up sounding so weird. For example, what does he feel when he's sees a white van? "Respect". What sort of fun did he have as a teenager? “I did some things that most teenagers did, I drank a bit too much, you know, um, but I grew up in a household where you were told to care about the world…”

And what’s that? Cameron is refusing to take part in the TV debates? Real open goal here, Ed. What do you call him? "He's frit!" I don't even know what that means.And finally, have you ever taken drugs? No-one thinks you’re that cool anyways, a simple “no” will do. “I haven’t taken drugs. I’m not in favour of decriminalisation, for example, of cannabis, because of my reading about it – and I have read about it.” Great.

This why I'm excited that Miliband has proven that he can do more than just kick the ball into his own net. Because we're at the point where society has become so unequal that we need a Lionel Messi or Diego Costa in front of goal. Not a Nicklas Bendtner or Emile Heskey. Too much of his leadership has already looked like this.

Why do I want this so much? Because the issues that Labour are campaigning on – like the housing crisis, equal pay, or realistic energy bills – aren’t just superficial battlegrounds, but injustices that the Tories have made clear they're not going to deal with.

And they’re objective injustices: can anyone point me towards a single, reputable comment piece that argues in favour of property developers evicting families from their homes and building huge blocks of luxury flats in their place, without any affordable housing? Or an article that actually outlines why women should be paid less than men? No-one in their right mind actually believes any of this, yet for some reason Labour are the only ones who look like they're actually going to address them.

Until there's another main party doing this, I’m going to want to vote for Labour. But Miliband has been making it so hard. So my message to him now would be: keep on going, don't say anything stupid, and my god please try your hardest to appear human (ie don't stare at a camera like this).

The optimist in me thinks that maybe Miliband could do this, that that this could be the turning point. But the pessimist in me thinks that his Fink KO might just be a blip, and it’s only a matter of time until he says he feels “love” when he sees a pint of beer, or harps on about the 1930s again, like anyone without a degree in 20th Century British political history knows what he’s talking about.

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