Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Ed Miliband's ambiton to break grip of Thatcherism will bring down on him a barrage of abuse

If Ed Miliband fulfils his ambition, he will be one of this country’s great prime ministers. He wants to bring an end to a period of over thirty years when politicians – Labour as well as Tory - have operated in thrall to the ideas of Ayn Rand, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. 

Miliband believes that there are more important things to a society than protecting big business and the rich. He knows that the idea that wealth always “trickles-down” is a myth. He knows that, whereas the Crash of 2008 has squeezed the middle and pushed the poor into penury and food banks, the rich have hardly been affected. He knows that any Cameron recovery will be primarily to the benefit of the rich - "they used to say a tide would lift all boats, now it only lifts the yachts."  He rejects the creed that selfishness is good. He wants to return the country to the decent values embodied by Clement Atlee’s post-war government, where the power of government, which had helped win the war, was used to help win the peace by creating the NHS and a more equal society.

For this noble ambition Miliband will face a barrage of abuse. The rich will fight him viciously with all the power at their disposal; too often they use abuse rather than reasoned argument. The press, mostly owned by billionaires andedited by millionaires, will attack Miliband remorselessly. The country’s leading business people, who have done so well over the last thirty years, will try and blackmail the country by threatening economic Armageddon if Miliband has the temerity to try and put the interests of the country above their interests. And the Tory attack dog, Lynton Crosby, will relish the job of trying to bury Miliband under a stinking heap of abuse. 

Will Miliband survive and win? There is a good chance that he will. He is known for his Zen-like calm. The accusation that he is weak has always smacked of wishful thinking. (The Tories tried to undermine Tony Blair initially with the same tag and the nickname “Bambi”.)  Miliband is clearly a very strong politician. He has kept his party united and he has taken on his elder brother, Murdoch and the unions. He is now taking on the biggest target in British politics for generations. I wish him luck.

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