Ed Miliband is a millionaire with no real-life experience. He has no ideas of his own. He offers no serious solutions to inequality, educational under-achievement or dealing with a strained Health Service. He has no apparent notion of how to play the UK’s hand in the EU, or in NATO, or in anything really. There is no evidence of original thoughts on anything from global insecurity to local immigration. How have we possibly reached the stage that someone like this is the Leader of the Labour Party and a likely Prime Minister?
This is not meant as a partisan point, but is Ed Miliband seriously the best the British Left could come up with? Someone with no notion of reform, who turns up at Trade Union rallies and looks like a schoolboy, and who buys into Conservative spending and welfare plans seemingly because he can’t be bothered to work out anything different?
Worst of all, who the heck is advising him? Perhaps I am being harsh, but someone who has just come straight out of University – even if (arguably especially if) it is Oxbridge – lacks fundamentally the life experience to advise even a potential Junior Minister, never mind a potential Prime Minister. Once you have run a business/charity/agency; once you have managed a home with the chaos of children and elderly relatives; once you have seen a bit of the world – then, maybe, you can begin advising people how to govern and lead in an in-touch, meaningful, beneficial way. But of course, once you have lived you probably won’t want anything to do with out-of-touch schoolboys like Ed Miliband.
Then of course there is the hypocrisy of a millionaire whose only idea is to condemn the current cabinet for being elite even when his own Shadow Cabinet consists of 33% Oxbridge graduates and almost no one who has ever lived on less than double the average worker’s wage. He is out-of-touch and knows no one who can even explain this to him.
His incompetence knowing no bounds, Mr Miliband then comes up with the cunning plan to tell the Mail – of all papers – that the biggest issue facing Scots at the forthcoming referendum is a potential border patrol. Firstly, communicatively, it is the worst possible form of intervention – an Englishman appearing to make threats to bully Scots and just the moment the Scots have demonstrated (and quite rightly) that this is their decision and they are in no mood to be bullied by a poncy English millionaire. Secondly, it is stupid because it shows no sense that the trend towards “Yes” is a coral movement not a political one – it is not as much about Scotland’s relationship with its neighbours about the type of society Scots want to live in (and it is not one where they want to listen to nonsense from outside the jurisdiction). Thirdly, it is just plain wrong – there is no reason to believe the Common Travel Area would be affected (meaning the border would be open and flights would be treated as domestic – just as within/between the UK and Ireland currently). Of course, to cap it all, Mr Miliband had obviously forgotten the UK already has a land border – it is one thing to be out-of-touch, but to be plain ignorant takes the biscuit.
My point is not about Scotland (though it explains much of the momentum towards “Yes”), nor even about Mr Miliband – who was, after all, elected both by his party and his constituents. It is about how ludicrous British politics has becomes – headed across all parties by out-of-touch incompetents surrounded by inexperienced “advisers”. It is something of a death spiral too – elderly statesmen like Ken Clarke are leaving the game, while already nine of the Conservatives’ 2010 intake have announced an intention to stand down. The ‘most highly talented Parliamentary intake for a generation’ has come, seen, and decided politics isn’t for them.
This is a structural problem. More and more, politics in the UK has just descended into soap opera. From the battle of the Brothers on one side to the battle of the Bullingdon Club on the other, it’s all vaguely entertaining but none of it is vaguely relevant to the person on the street. A “Yes” vote won’t solve it, sadly, but it’s almost what the whole daft charade deserves. And it is not just David Cameron who should consider his position afterwards.