So Mil The Younger has given his speech, and the reaction has been, in some quarters, as if he had given several different ones, depending on the political leanings of the audience. Thus the problem with so much of the media nowadays, and its instinctive inability to distinguish between news and comment, echoing the style of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).
It's That Fishing Story Again
While the BBC is attempting straight reporting, for which the Sun and Mail will give it a ritual kicking tomorrow, telling readers “Miliband urges 'historic' changes to Labour's union links”, that there will, in time, be no “automatic” Labour affiliation fee for Trades Union members, and that there may – note may – be open primaries in parliamentary selections in future, it is in a minority.
Because the likes of Benedict “famous last words” Brogan at the Maily Telegraph has already written his headline, which tells that “Ed Miliband has lost control of events. How can he be sure that his party will back him?” while not managing to tell his readers that not only Len McCluskey, but also the diverse likes of Ken Livingstone and Tone, have signalled approval of the speech.
Perhaps Ben will also tell what events Miliband has “lost control of”. And he sells the pass in no style at all when he opines that “Experts will tell us whether this is sleight of hand to keep the cash coming in and the unions sweet”. What the hell does he think the Tel pay him for? He’s the paper’s deputy editor, for goodness’ sakes. He is the expert who should be able to do the telling without casting around for clues.
But at least Brogan retains the pleasantries. Tim Stanley, who you can tell as he’s a doctor, goes straight for the abuse: “If Ed Miliband betrays the unions, it'll leave Labour as just a neo-liberal party led by a sad man with a lisp”. Oh dear, we’ve had “Red Ed” and “Odd Ed”, and now we have “Lisp Ed”. But then, Stanley called the US Presidential Election seriously wrong, so who cares about the SOB, eh?
Others, however, are not so sure about laying into Mil The Younger quite so enthusiastically. Even Dan Hodges, the Colonel Nicholson of the Labour Party, has equivocated, with “Today, Ed Miliband showed that he doesn't want to be Labour leader. He wants to be prime minister”, although how he gets to be the latter without also being the former is not told. But at least Dan is engaging brain first.
And Alex Andreou, at the Staggers although not of significant party political motivation, has mused “Watching Ed Miliband, I had a strange new feeling: I think it's called ‘hope’”. This feeling was apparently enhanced by observing the discomfiture of Grant “Spiv” Shapps, the Tory chairman whose very presence demonstrates a fundamental lack of probity within that party.
Coupled to that Survation poll and its 18 point Labour lead, Alex may have a point.