Friday, 28 January 2011

"There is no coalition" says Miliband

Ed Miliband - you know, the guy who does party leader impressions - seems very angry at the moment. It seems to be catching in the Miliband family - a few weeks ago brother David got all upset about something and he's hardly spoken since.

What is irking Ed is the media's continued references to "the coalition". Some Lib Dems and Tories might agree with him...but no, it's not the constant misrepresentation of the respective coalition partners' positions or the incessant negativity on the part of broadcasters that bothers the Labour leader. It's something much, much worse - in his jaundiced eyes at least.

The press should not refer to "the coalition" which sounds very nicey-nicey, huggy, centre-ground, co-operative and liberal. No, it's not a coalition, says Ed; the correct terminology is "Conservative-led government" and it's by time the media got it right. Or people will forget who's really in charge - yes, Maggie Thatcher!

Ideally, Ed wants the "correct" term to be barked in one of those hilariously spooky accents that only exist in Holywood horror movies, immediately followed by evil laughter, peals of thunder and a flash of lightning.

"This is not a partnership...the government is not what it claims to be" says Ed. "Call them Tories". Call who Tories, exactly? The Lib Dems who in the past few months have stood up to the Tories on control orders and civil liberties? Even Labour were appalled about the government's liberalised policy towards "anti-terrorism" measures (which wasn't actually liberal enough by half) - a strange example of Labour doublethink. Sorry, did I say think?

It is ridiculous that Miliband thinks he can use the labels "Tory" and "Liberal" as interchangeable terms of abuse. As for people claiming to be what they're not, hmmmm....

Come on Ed. Believe it or not, the media isn't there to do your bidding and to promote Labour spin (although in the case of the Daily Record I'm not too sure). Get over yourself. And the fact that, whatever the merits and otherwise of the coalition, a partnership is exactly what it is. Not a partnership of equals, because the electoral arithmetic of a democratic election (an inconvenient and irrelevant statistic I know, Ed) determined that the Tories were by far the largest party. We're the minor partner in government. But a partner nonetheless, with Lib Dem ministers making a significant contribution.

I actually have a lot of time for the Labour Party. I have respect for its history and its social democratic tradition, even if I am critical of some of its "achievements" in government. But I have little respect for Ed Miliband's leadership which appears to be built on hot air, bluster and a contempt for the politics of collaboration.

And what kind of guy gets so upset about a few words? This just makes Ed look ridiculous and over-sensitive. And so, over to Stephen Fry for some sober words of wisdom: "If I had a large amount of money I should found a hospital for those whose grip upon the world is so tenuous that they can be severely offended by words and phrases yet remain all unoffended by the injustice, violence and oppression that howls daily".

Yes Ed, it's the injustice and oppression you should be getting to grips with - the kind of thing Liberal Democrats have been doing in government this week to rid this country of Labour's draconian anti-terror laws. Not petty arguments about words.

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