When will Miliband get the message from his party and stop acting like a Labour politician?

His critics within the party seem scared to propose anything that might upset their opponents

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The Independent Online

I suppose he’s got used to it, but it can’t be easy being Ed Miliband. For two weeks, everywhere he’s gone, camera crews and reporters have followed him, shouting, “Mr Miliband, why does everyone think you’re such a wanker? Why are you a wanker, Mr Miliband, answer the question? Are the reports true, that your own wife calls you a wanker? Yes or no, does she call you a wanker?”

Then he’ll make a speech at a hospital about kidney transplants, and the first question will be a reporter from the Six O’Clock News asking, “Mr Miliband, why are you such a poxy, useless, idiotic, hopeless buffoon of a steaming wanker? What do you think of the recent poll in which 65 per cent of voters say they’ve never heard of you, but still think you’re a wanker? Most people think you were one of the Wombles, Mr Miliband, what do you think of that? Or maybe a Clanger? Would Labour do better if you stood down and were replaced by a Clanger, Mr Miliband? Wouldn’t the whistly noises be more attractive to the electorate than your pitiful drivel?”

Then Nick Robinson quotes some poll, with statements such as “82 per cent of people over 43 say they wouldn’t trust Ed Miliband to feed their fish while they were on holiday, with a staggering 48 per cent believing he’d grill the seahorses with lighter fuel, though they may have mixed him up with Heston Blumenthal. But even so, these are catastrophic figures less than six months before the election.”

No one was quoted as asking him to resign, so reports on front pages went, “A growing number of Labour MPs have made a muttering sound when they hear his name. As many as 19 are said to have gone ‘Hnnyym’, with one going as far as saying ‘Ngprrr’, though the MP in question did not wish to be named.”

This has happened despite most polls suggesting Labour are still ahead, although it’s true the Conservatives are much more united, as their MPs stay completely loyal right up to the moment they leave for a different party altogether.

The reason the stories about Ed Miliband seem to make sense must be that usually he makes so little impact. Even his latest speech to defend himself started with a series of sayings, such as, “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger”. This might be true, but makes you wonder whether his speeches are written by Phyllis, who works up the launderette.

For the next party political broadcast he’ll look deep into the camera and say, “The hours you sleep before midnight do you twice as much good as the hours you sleep after midnight. And don’t forget to eat plenty of beetroot, it keeps you regular.”

But his biggest problem might be that his own party prevents him from making an impact. For example, if he pledged to renationalise even some of the rail network, or force landlords to bring down rents, that would be noticed.

Then Iain Duncan Smith would make one of those speeches where he gets so angry his voice gets all raspy and he looks like he’s going to cry and dribble, and say this was an outrageous assault on the human right to charge 200 quid for being squashed on the floor all the way to Leeds, or £300 a week for living in a room where the mould has spread across the whole wall and could be sold as an abstract work of art.

But Labour seem scared to propose anything that might upset their opponents. And the group in the Labour Party that seem most keen on getting rid of Ed are those who preferred his brother. 

They didn’t agree with his apology for invading Iraq. And they urge him to be friendlier to bankers, which would give Labour a boost in the polls as everyone loves a banker. Who hasn’t heard the excited cries of children pleading with their parents: “This Christmas, instead of Santa, can we have the board of Goldman Sachs come to our house? Oh please.”

It’s doubtful whether making Labour more Conservative would help them in the polls, as their decline in recent weeks has been a result of losing support to the SNP and the Greens. And it’s unlikely many voters have thought, “I’ve switched to the Greens because the trouble with Labour is they don’t invade Iraq often enough.”

One of the best results for Labour recently was in the borough of Lewisham, in the council elections in May. Labour won every seat, except for one that the Greens won. This was where tens of thousands were involved in a successful campaign, which Labour had been part of, to save a hospital threatened with closure by the Tories. It seemed there was an alternative to austerity, and that must have been reflected in that election.

Those who have been plotting against Ed Miliband inside the Labour Party probably saw those results and thought, “That’s a disaster. We’ll never make ourselves popular by aligning ourselves with ideas that are popular.” Instead they seem to think it’s still 1997, and will urge Ed Miliband to make himself look respectable by becoming a friend of President Assad and Cliff Richard. And if they’re asked who they’d replace him with, their most honest answer would probably be, “David Cameron, if he’s available”.

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