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Friday 8 May 2015

So Farewell Then Ed Miliband

The opinion polls, it seems, were wrong, and despite all the final ones showing a dead heat between Tories and Labour, with any momentum going to the latter party, the Tories ended up with a small but genuine Parliamentary majority. As Sinn Féin do not take their Westminster seats, that majority is probably four or five seats. It’s less than “Shagger” Major got in 1992; more what Harold Wilson got in 1964.
There were few bright interludes last night: the repulsive Esther McVey was, as I predicted last year, removed by the electorate of Wirral West. Amateur spiv Stephen Mosley was, by a very small margin, ejected in Chester. UKIP actually lost ground as Mark Reckless was overcome by the superior campaign of the Tories’ Kelly Tolhurst. And George Galloway and his fedora were both shown the door in Bradford West.

Labour did not make inroads where they had to, while losing all but one Scottish seat to the SNP. Mil The Younger has announced his resignation, and Harriet Harman will step down with him. The question has already been asked: could Labour have done better with the other Miliband brother? And the answer to that is a plain, straight, no they couldn’t. The onslaught from the Tories and their press pals would have been just as vicious.

There may not have been a bacon sarnie photo, but there was the one with the banana. David has posed with a number of the world’s less savoury leaders; these photos would have been wheeled out as evidence of his poor judgment. His involvement in the more questionable goings-on that followed from the “War on Terror” and Iraq adventure would have played a part as he was laid low in the same way as his brother.

Was the Labour manifesto especially left-leaning? Was it heck. That was nothing more than name-calling. Miliband running a generally positive campaign counted for nothing in the end, and it will fall to another leader to reassemble the centre-left force that carried Labour to three successive victories under the sainted Tone. Plus there was one very important issue which meant he could not escape the abuse.

Ed Miliband committed himself to keep in mind the victims of press abuse and follow through what was started by the Leveson Inquiry and subsequent Royal Charter. This commitment was re-stated by Ms Harman to the Hacked Off lobby event in February. The Tories’ Sajid Javid suggested his party would leave well alone and, by implication, allow the Fourth Estate to maintain the status quo.

For this, the Tories were given a free pass, their spending commitments not scrutinised to anything like the degree of the other parties, with the Telegraph even publishing copy that had originated within CCHQ. The cause of putting in place properly independent press self-regulation will now be that much harder. But that does not mean it will be put aside, far less abandoned. And what of the much discussed social media effect?

The age of Social Media will have its time. But not this time.


Anonymous said...

This is a momentous day in our country's history, the beginning of the end of the United Kingdom and, quite possibly, the start of the road leading to EU exit. I lost my faith long, but I still remember all the words; '..forgive them, for they know not what they do'.

asquith said...

And let's not forget that the unpleasant SNP enjoy "News" Corp's support as well. The lesson I've drawn from this is that we need proportional representation. The unionist majority in Scotland have no voice that's going to be listened to, especially considering the gurning Little Englanders likely to end up on the Tory back benches.

While I personally have no time for UKIP and the Greens, they command far more support than you might have guessed from the results. Therefore I have made my donation to the Electoral Reform Society today.

Bob said...

Thanks for all the hard work you have put in during this election campaign. Just a shame that too many of the electorate were not as well informed as readers of this blog.

matt said...

The Nasty party is back and has won after a slick campaign of fear in cahoots with the press but the scary thing is that they have been elected after being upfront about how hard they are going to hit the most vulnerable, so they already have a mandate to be as ruthless as they like because that is what we voted for.

I suppose we all have a masochistic nature in us all. Be prepared to be whipped.

Pam Smith said...

I see Chuka Umunna has started his leadership bid early with a piece in the Grauniad saying Labour lost because their manifesto was aimed at their core demographic and didn't reach out to the aspiring middle classes.

Yes, Chuka, that's exactly the reason that Labour lost votes to Ukip in its traditional strongholds.

*Bangs head on desk*

Rivo said...

Only a day in to their new majority and it's already clear that the disabled, foxes and anyone who is pro-EU is on their hitlist...

Anonymous said...

could Labour have done better with the other Miliband brother? And the answer to that is a plain, straight, no they couldn’t. The onslaught from the Tories and their press pals would have been just as vicious

Nice article, but this argument doesn't really wash for me. Yes the rightwing press would've attacked anyway. But Ed's strategy was too visibly a party left-ward tack; that he was too easily depicted as anti-business; the manner of his leadership election - all these factors might well have been critical in the ballot boxes of the marginals. I applaud his resolve and he fought a good fight, but I think his brother might well have won.

Rachel Moses said...

Anon : Ed Miliband wasn't left enough for Scotland and the press tarred him with the "red ed" brush. The fact is that getting wiped out in Scotland destroyed us and as pathetic as it was Ed managed to take 2 seats off the Tories: And the Iraq war? Cameron would have destroyed him when it came to foreign interventions