The Daily Mail might just have handed Miliband the keys to power

Outrage at the attack on the Labour leader's father transcends politics

Related Topics

It is the 8th of May 2015 and Ed Miliband has won the election. Amid scenes that were simply inconceivable two years ago, the incoming Prime Minister, Justine and the bleary-eyed Miliband children assemble outside Number 10. World leaders phone in their congratulations. Political pundits recount the story of a once-forgotten brother who, for the first three years of the Labour leadership, was written-off as a political non-entity, compared to an automaton and dubbed ‘Red Ed’. No one is laughing now.

It is rare that public opinion shifts with such sharp, sudden and forceful vigour that the country incurs collective whiplash and reassesses its collective wisdom.

The last abiding memory of this was the phone hacking saga, which for nearly five years lurked in the background as a celebrity media story with little relevance in the real world. That was until 2011 when revelations that journalists had hacked the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler made its significance too important to ignore.

This week has seen a similar step-change. In waging war on The Mail, days after condemning David Cameron for being “weak at standing up to the strong”, Miliband has pushed the debate out of the conference hall and into the real world. He is finally showing Prime Ministerial mettle.

The significance of this cannot be ignored. As the war threatens to overshadow another week, it is burying the old notion of New Labour and making the Conservative attack on “Labour’s mess” look increasingly wearisome. Public opinion is shifting too. When Miliband vowed to clamp down on energy companies, The Mail on Sunday were among the critics quick to write it off as the return of seventies socialism.

Those lines of argument are tainted. Earlier this week it emerged the newspaper had dispatched a reporter to a memorial for Miliband’s dead uncle. This in the same week that its sister paper concluded that his late father, a Jewish refugee, “hated Britain”. The outrage transcends politics.

Momentum is gathering. There has been a protest outside the paper’s offices in Kensington, advertisers are being lobbied to pull their budgets from The Mail, and complaints are piling up at the Press Complaints Commission days before a crucial Privy Council meeting that will decide the future of press regulation on Wednesday.

Then there are other matters. There is the squandered airtime that should have belonged to the Conservative party conference but instead saw New Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell strangely redeemed and reincarnated as a BBC Newsnight attack-dog. There is the chorus of moral disapproval from party leaders on all sides of the spectrum. There is the glaring absence  of Paul Dacre. And there is an apology from Mail on Sunday that, regardless of their separate operational structure, has exposed a gaping hole in the perceived certitude of the paper.

The plates of power are shifting and, with them, Miliband’s own prospects. On Syria he struggled to articulate a clear alternative to military intervention. He says he stood up to Murdoch, but that was from the safe side-lines of opposition.

This time, however, it is different.  In fighting for his father Ed Miliband has finally found himself. It is this battle that has articulated his values and separated him from his party’s former leaders. It could prove to be Labour’s most potent election weapon yet.

React Now

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

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Recruitment Genius: Inside Sales Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Join a worldwide leader in data-driven marketi...

Recruitment Genius: Business Adviser - Sales and Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a desire to help sm...

Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Support - Helpdesk Analyst

£18000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a customer focu...

Day In a Page

Read Next

The majority of sex workers enjoy their job - why should we find that surprising?

Alex Bryce
A 'match' on Tinder  

Tinder may have inadvertently hit its self-destruct button by charging older users more

Nash Riggins
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn