Ed Miliband’s speech to the Durham Miner’s Gala was the usual mix of obsequiousness and hypocrisy that has characterised Mr Miliband’s leadership and his party at large.
‘Community. Looking out for each other. Never walking by on the other side. These are the value of the people of Durham. These are the values of the people of the North East. These are also the values of the British people.’
With these words, Mr Miliband addressed the Durham Miner’s Gala with sentimentalism and insincerity that only tribal Labour voters would be unwilling to spot. His message about community was delivered sans irony – irony because the party he leads, whilst in office, was almost entirely responsible for the breakdown of social cohesion, autonomy, personal responsibility and community spirit with its fattening mixture of surveillance, state benefits and its augmentation of permissive society and dependency culture.
His attack on the current government included an allusion to the ‘lost a generation of young people’ who face long-term unemployment. This was picked up by a plucky young fellow who reminded Mr Miliband that under Labour’s watch, youth unemployment increased by 40%. This lad also tried to pin Mr Miliband down on his union affiliations, quizzing the Labour leader: ‘Do you think your pandering to your union paymasters will be your downfall in the Labour party?’  It was a question that caused the gurning smile of Mr Miliband to crush itself into steely displeasure.
Labour’s feeble leader listed in his speech some of those who had spoken before him at past galas, including Keir Hardie, Clement Attlee, Harold Wilson and Barbara Castle, remarking ‘I am proud to follow in their footsteps.’ Indeed, following is something Mr Miliband does well; like an ambulance chasing lawyer, he follows band wagons, in pursuance of his demagogic agenda.
His policies, such as they are, remain no less credible than his infantile leadership. Like a latter day Robin Hood his desire to ‘tax the bankers’ bonuses and get young people working again’ is exactly the sort of simplistic and unworkable idea that shows Mr Miliband is incapable of thoughts rational or intellectual. Indeed, like the stories recounting the legend of Robin Hood, his speech had nothing new to add, instead repeating embarrassingly uninspired lines such as ‘A few years ago the Tories tried to say “we’re all in it together”. But now we know they never meant it. Because we have seen what they do when they get back in power’, or otherwise ‘One rule for those at the top and another rule for everybody else. [The Tories] cut taxes for millionaires and they raise taxes on pensioners. It’s business as usual in the banks, and small businesses go under.’ Thus he sidestepped the fact that Labour were responsible for the ‘hands off’ approach towards the banks and the fact that they actively solicited the banks to win favour if not financial capital.
He accused the Conservatives of ‘Not building for the future but ripping up the foundations. Not healing our country, but harming it. Not uniting our country, but dividing it.’ This from the Labour party is quite an accusation.
In all Mr Miliband’s flat and unprofitable speech continues to evidence the assertion that he is capable of only a disingenuous rhetorical register, that he is a nakedly demagogic politician espousing dangerous ideological whimsy. Particularly toe-curling are his unctuous efforts to win those voters he is loathed to court, proving beyond doubt what a charlatan and a fraud both he and his party are.
Whilst the electorate continues to rightfully show disenchantment with the coalition, it is regrettable that such short term memory may well give Labour the chance they need to further dismember the UK. Mr Miliband may think he serves as a leader, but so far as the thinking public are concerned, he only serves to remind one that British politics is now at the very bottom of the trough. If the public are reminded of this enough times, however, the fatuous Mr Miliband may yet serve a worthwhile cause: hemorrhaging votes to UKIP.
© thepanopticonblog, 2012
1. ’14 Year Old Boy Confronts Ed Miliband.’ YouTube. 15 July 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYjrRAbsfJ4>
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