At the very last hurdle in the Labour leadership race, Mil the Elder – who, yes, I reckoned twice would win – stumbled. As Pa Broon’s former confidant “Auguste” Balls was eliminated – on the third round, not the first as some Balls haters were gleefully predicting – the lead changed places.
So it will be Mil the Younger who gives the Leader’s speech to the Labour conference on Tuesday. This year it is being held at the recently renamed Manchester Central, under the single span roof of the former railway terminus. He will also be on tomorrow’s Andy Marr Show (is Marr having his script rewritten to change “David” to “Ed”? Hours of endless fun over something we may never know).
Already there is glee on the right, as Mil the Younger captured far more of the trade union vote than his brother. Thus he will be characterised not only as “Red Ed”, but also as being in hock to the union bosses. Does it matter? My feeling is that there is a limited amount of mileage in this kind of thing before it ceases to have an effect on the electorate.
What is not going to help the anti-Labour media in their attempts to frighten the public over Mil the Younger is that Rupe’s downmarket troops at the Screws and Sun are about to vanish behind a paywall. In an age where more and more folks get their news online, two of the mainstream media’s attack dogs are being muzzled – by order of their owner.
That might just benefit the new Labour leader, who has been in Parliament just over five years – although that is a year better than Young Dave could manage when he became leader of the Tories.