Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Wrong Miliband?

I cannot deny that, if I'd voted in the Labour leadership election, (which I didn't, as I'm not currently a party member and the union I belong to is non-affiliated), I would probably have voted for the other Miliband, rather than the eventual winner, Ed. My reasoning was based on the fact that David had greater political experience, plus the support of the parliamentary party, in addition to having demonstrated great organisational skills during his leadership campaign, all of which I believed would be essential if Labour is to make a quick return to power. His brother's relative lack of experience, I felt, could be a handicap when engaging with political operators like Cameron. So, on the face of it, I might be expected to now be saying that the Labour Party elected the wrong Miliband. However, unlike many doomsayers I encountered on line in the wake of the leadership result, I believe in giving a man a fair chance. Indeed, some of the reactions to Ed's election reminded me of the knee-jerk reactions I heard to the news that Daniel Craig was to be the new James Bond, or that Matt Smith was to replace David Tennant as Doctor Who. Both actors were condemned as a disaster by some, long before either had shot a scene in their new roles. But funnily enough, they've both worked out pretty well.

So, will Ed Miliband turn out the same way? I have to say that, after seeing him speak at the conference this afternoon I'm reassured, if not exactly inspired. I liked a lot of what he was saying. He seems to understand the need for change and appears to have a firm grasp of what the Labour Party is meant to be about. But aside from the content of his speech, what I was most impressed by was how quietly passionate and, indeed, charismatic he seemed. Only last night, I had the misfortune to be forced to listen to some ignorant pub bore going on about how uncharismatic and lacking in personality Ed was. As I've given up arguing with pub bores, (life really is too short), I didn't note that, as he hadn't yet heard Miliband make any kind of major speech or policy announcement, he was hardly in a position to judge his character traits. Mind you, as this pub bore is another of those parochial, small minded self employed pillocks I have the misfortune to keep running into, I doubt that today's speech will have changed his mind. I just wish that his ilk would have the courage to just come out and admit that they're Tories. Anyway, getting back to the point (more or less), the other bore he was talking to, (the notorious 'Ted' I've mentioned here before), came out with the astounding assertion that he had no time for either of the Milibands or Ed Balls because they were 'professional politicians - they went straight from university into politics and have never done a proper days work in their lives'. That's rather like denouncing your GP for being a 'professional Doctor' - he went straight from medical school into medicine without doing a real day's work! I don't know about you, but I'd much rather have my life in the hands of professionals than amateurs and dilettantes. It's one of the great myths peddled by the ignorant that our politicians would be 'better' at their jobs if they'd spent years doing something else before they became MPs. I really don't think that Brown and Blair's time as barristers made them better politicians, any more than Mrs Thatcher's time working for an ice cream company, or David Cameron's time as a PR man for Carlton TV have any relevance to the business of running the country. Overhearing this type of conversation just leaves me thinking 'my God - they actually let these people vote?' But, getting back to the new Labour leader - is he the wrong Miliband? On today's showing, maybe not.

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