Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

Since Ed Miliband became leader of the Labour Party in September last year, the jury has been out on whether he was going to be the person to restore credibility to the party and provide a functioning opposition to the Cameron-Clegg meccano government.

The jury has only now returned and sat down with a loud, unimpressed harrumph.

That fact that it took so long to decide what Mr. Miliband was about should have been a resounding alert but we sat through the non-happenings of his stewardship with the calm expectation that no one but Nick Clegg could be so flaccid in the face of David ‘The Shaft’ Cameron’s  numptitude. Now we learn that the leader of the opposition is the de facto third partner in Cameron’s coalition of the inept.

Cleggy has some kind of feeble excuse for playing along with Cameron: he gets to sit at the big table with the big boys. It is a measure of Ed’s confusion that he doesn’t even get that benefit.

Milibland has gone to great lengths to support the coalition in its conflict with public workers. June 30, four unions and thousands of students walk out in the biggest act of defiance of this government so far and all Ed Millicent can say is they shouldn’t have done it. He also brought an inquisition of spin doctors to a BBC interview to make sure his message of jellyness got across with maximum offence.

Now we are reminded of the other occasions when he failed to act against the idiocy of the ConDems; we are reminded of the utter lack of opposition by the leader of it.

When Cameron went on his recent Daily Mail-style rant about migrants and how ‘if they want to live here they should learn English’, did Miliband highlight the racism? No, he ignored that and blithered instead that the Tories and the LibDems couldn’t agree, that the coalition had cracks. As a response to Cameron’s racism, it was as useful as putting a chocolate teapot in an oven at 180C for 90mins.

Now: the strike by public workers and Miliband’s failure to engage.

Over the recent weeks, everyone seems to have been getting on Cameron’s case — the military twice, Cameron’s own guru, the Arch Bish, my cat — except Miliband, the leader of the opposition. Oh, and Mr. Clegg. I guess we forgot about him — odd that.

The strike on Thursday was Miliband’s opportunity to weigh in and set out a clear agenda of opposition and a clear alternative vision to Cameron’s. He could have whipped up the nation, already cynical and disaffected, into expressing their feelings. Fuck, he could have prised open the coalition and triggered another election. No: he sided with Cameron as if he were a closet Tory in the way that Blair was.

We are in an extraordinary position now in British politics. Not only is the government comprised of the biggest numpties in living memory, but so is the opposition.

By chris page

Magazine editor, writer of fiction and non-fiction; exile; cat person; red wine for blood and cheese in his soul. Chris Page is the author of the novels Weed, Sanctioned, Another Perfect Day in ****ing Paradise, King of the Undies World, and The Underpants Tree. He is also a freelance journalist, copywriter, editor, cartoonist, illustrator, graphic designer, and consultant in the use and abuse of false moustaches (don’t wear them — you’re welcome — the invoice is in the mail).

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