I’ve been careful to say that we should not underestimate Mr Miliband but attempting to define a new leader in his/her early days should be the priority of any effective political operation. First impressions matter and last night’s YouGov poll suggests that the Tory and newspaper onslaught is having some success. “Red Ed” got no bounce from his speech on Tuesday and nearly three times as many voters think he is taking his party Leftwards rather than to the centre.
Notice, for starters, that Montgomerie accepts there is some alignment of the Tory and newspaper onslaught. The obvious subtext there involves Coulson co-ordination of the Murdoch press, with the cyberTories brought in for flanking cover.
Montgomerie then re-hashes from the New Stateman three of his identified ten weaknesses in Ed Miliband’s politics:
- Deficit denial;
- A leftward drift;
- Odd Ed.
The first of those is the length-and-breadth of current ConDem rhetoric. It is intended to justify imposing austerities on the middle- and lower-orders to pay for the excesses of the unregulated banking plutocracy. It’s worth bearing in mind that this is not just betting-the-farm, it’s also playing fast-and-loose with current credit:
- There has a been a significant decline in the €/£ valuation in recent weeks:
- This is curious in one respect: the EU is about to fork out the UK’s receipts under the Common Agricultural Policy, which is a substantial sum and ought to bolster sterling.
- It is instructive in another way: it took one speech (in Hull, of all places) by Adam Posen to knock sterling down a whole percentage point. In other words, despite major strikes across Europe, despite the obvious weaknesses of several European economies already slipping into the dreaded double-dip, the money markets have no solid faith in the ConDem nerve holding.
- George Osborne is now trapped by his own over-inflated doomsaying, and so in a lose-lose situation. If he tempers the wind to the shorn lamb (there’s a cliché, to which Malcolm will revert in another post, but also commonsense at this uncertain juncture), he will be judged a “bottler”; and the markets will react accordingly. If he goes the full distance, consumer confidence collapses, and half-the-High-Street, and its supply chain, shuts down: no expected recovery there.
The second, that “leftward drift” is arrant tripe. Labour must re-occupy the small-l liberal centre ground anyway: hence the baggage on ID-cards, 90-days and other oppressive measure are already in the WPB. More tiresome restrictions will follow. In matters economic there is no need to drift leftwards: the ConDem coalition has shunted so far rightward that anything outside the Chicago School is adventurous. Just watch the collective wisdom of economists shift if/when the great upsurge of the private section fails to materialise.
That leaves us with “Odd Ed”. So let’s take Montgomerie in full on that:
The new Labour leader isn’t so much Red Ed as Odd Ed. Only 36% think he is prime ministerial, according to a poll conducted for the Conservative Party. Is it the staring eyes? That he hasn’t done anything outside politics? His claim that he was “too busy” to register as his child’s father is certainly odd.
That is as cleaned-up, family-friendly, epicene a version as one might get of the filth being spewed out by the Tory muck-machine. What it amounts to is a job-spec for leadership which prescribes superficial metrosexual, media-friendly, cosmetically-enhanced, Photoshopped, Notting Hill glam. No “one-eyed Scottish git“, no “mutt like me“, no “Swabian housewife“, no “hidden dwarf” need apply.
This all prompted Malcolm to go on Record at ConHome:
Malcolm Redfellow said…
Even the most entrenched Tory must admit that some of the ordure recently sent airborne has been a trifle odorous.
The paternity slur, floated by the Mail on Sunday and s-o-o convincing it needed a second outing here, with added authenticity from the head of CPS? What “policy”, what “study” was involved there? [a.k.a. the "When did you last see your father?" theme]
This got added extra vitamins, courtesy of the London Evening Standard: “Familial ties are essentially a bourgeois concept so presumably the Marxist Miliband household was not too weighted down by them.” Yeah. OK. If you say so. So, nothing creepy there.
The curiously co-ordinated “Red Ed” meme? The Guido Fawkes posting on this (22nd Sep) seemed to imply there was input from CCHQ on that one. Was there?
Most disgraceful, the Jew thing? [a.k.a. the Jud Süß theme of self-styled Archbishop Cranmer, with verification cited from Radio Islam]
And, again as here: “Oh! doesn’t he look funny?” (or is that as above?)
I’ve repeatedly quoted, with approval, David Cameron’s 2005 Conference speech, including his deploring “the shouting, finger-pointing, backbiting and point-scoring”.
Surely, surely, we can all agree with Cameron that our politics deserve something better than this nonsense?