You can tell when the politicians write their own copy without having someone from out there in The Real World (tm) look it over first: like Lyndon Johnson’s speech on economics, it feels real hot to them, but nobody else seems to notice. LBJ’s metaphor, of course was that it felt “like pissing down your leg”, and the latest clueless member of the wet leg club is Michael “Oiky” Gove.
“Oiky” has selected Mil The Younger as his target, and having been given a platform by the Maily Telegraph, has proclaimed that the Labour leader “is a blancmange in a hurricane”. Gosh, how “Oiky” must have kersnicked and spabbed himself silly after penning that. Sadly, as few people nowadays have even seen a blancmange, let alone consumed one, he need not have bothered.
What is worse for Gove is that he then gives the game away before getting to the body of his article. “Labour’s leader is weak, indecisive, lacks clarity, and has turned his party into a vacuum” he bleats, no more than a fortnight after telling that “One of the great things that Ed Miliband has done is he has welcomed genuine intellectual thought rather than arid exercises in political positioning as part of his policy review”.
The apparent volte face is for one reason, and one alone: Gove is trying to get Labour to give him and his pals something to aim at. And Miliband is not going to oblige him. So there has to be screaming denunciation in a desperate attempt to force him to bend to the Tories’ will. But Miliband, as I’ve said before, is a calm and calculating individual, and “Oiky” won’t move him.
Gove reels off a list of all the allegedly wonderful things the Coalition has done: these include “repatriated European powers, freed millions from dictatorship, created a million new private sector jobs”. This is total crap: nobody has been freed from dictatorship, no powers have been repatriated, and Governments by definition do not create jobs in the private sector. He’s a mere flim-flam artist.
So why say so? Simples. This is following Andy Coulson’s intervention, urging the Tories to “push [Miliband] to take positions”. Gove follows Coulson right down to saying “look – Ed Balls! Scary or what!” as an attempt to get readers to “look over there”. But “Oiky” does manage to work the spirit of Margaret Thatcher into his copy, although, sadly, this too unravels in short order.
“Just last month, Miliband presented himself as a disciple of Margaret Thatcher” he tells. This is not even partly true, and he manages to forget that Mrs T kept the policy stuff deliberately vague when in opposition. There was no need for her to give Jim Callaghan an opportunity to deflect from his own problems. Miliband is taking a similar path. Gove is unhappy about that. And that’s his problem.
The reality is that he and his party have nothing to say, except to kick others.