The right leaning part of the Fourth Estate loves nothing more than to go after the Labour Party, especially at Conference time. And, with Mil The Younger and pals gathering in Brighton this week, they have discovered a stick with which to beat him, this being the return of the S-word: Socialism. Thus armed, the press is clearly confident of doing down the Labour leader.
He's really scary, honestly
After all, socialism is something truly frightening, or at least it is in the minds of right-wing hacks and pundits. Here is the ultimate weapon in the fight to return a majority Tory Government in 2015 and frighten Corporal Clegg and his motley platoon out of any idea they may have of going into coalition with Miliband. But they may find that their audience is not sufficiently bothered.
And telling the readers porkies will not help, although the Mail does its best: “Ed Miliband today declared he was bringing socialism back to Britain as he unveiled a raft of left-wing policies. The Labour leader promised to increase wages for the lowest paid, force schools to stay open for longer and monitor how many women appear on TV” it declared.
To which the responses are, the “declaration” is tenuous, no he didn’t, no he didn’t, and no he didn’t (Harriet Harman talked about “monitoring”, and it isn’t a commitment to changing anything). But have another go: “The Labour leader unveiled plans to dramatically increase the guaranteed rate of pay to reverse the impact of inflation in the last three years”. No he didn’t – again.
But at least the Mail is pretending to be of independent thought, something that is currently an alien concept to the Telegraph, where the word of Justice Secretary Chris Grayling is being reported as fact. The MP: “says that the Opposition and his party’s Coalition partners will drive ‘wealth creators’ out of Britain ... he draws a dividing line between ‘wealth creation’ and ‘socialism’”.
I have a problem with this one, and it’s simply this: those who create wealth are, to a significant extent, those who work at Airbus or Bentley Motors or on building sites around the country or in firms contributing to Crossrail or spending their waking hours driving up and down the motorway network delivering goods or working to maintain lorries, trains, aircraft, ships, and our basic infrastructure.
Chris Grayling and his pals at the Telegraph ought to figure out just who creates this country’s wealth. Then they might see that a lot of those people are exactly those who Ed Miliband is addressing right now – the ones who have seen their pay not keep up with rising prices for more than three years. They are the people from whom our wealth is created, not the super-rich.
And shouting “Socialism” is not going to make them vote Tory. Wake up, Grayling.