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Ed Miliband

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When not legislating, Ed Miliband can be found spotting interesting looking bugs on the Parliament ceiling.
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God Save the Queen?
You used to be famous.
—Ed Miliband's son on his father[1]

Ed Miliband was the Leader of the Opposition in the United Kingdom, having been voted electable[2] Leader of the Labour Party in 2010, succeeding Gordon Brown. Given the Labour Party's commitment to diversity, Ed and his brother David were the two leading candidates to become party leader. There was plenty of controversy surrounding his election, as he has less support among Labour MPs than his brother.

Ed was unpopular due to his "weird" public persona, the infamous bacon sandwich incident,[3] (except the nation also lost its collective shit when Cameron went too far the other way and ate a hot dog with a fork and knife[4]) inadequate alternatives to Cameron's policies, and lackluster debate skills. For years, he faced tension within his party over his job security, which led to his abolishing the votes needed to form a Shadow Cabinet; this made Miliband the first Labour Leader to have the authority to pick his own Shadow Cabinet.[5]

He had the thankless job of debunking D.C's bullshit while fending off several factions within his own party; to his credit, he weathered the coup by sticking to his guns, for better or worse. But honestly, a piteous politician isn't someone you want representing the country. Some people aren't cut out to be prime minister, and voters picked up on that. He resigned in 2015, throwing Labour in a limbo that they will not leave for a long, long time.

He is an atheist,[6] which at the time left just one major party leader as a believer. Sadly, it was the main one.

Background[edit]

Ed was born in London, however his parents were Polish Jewish immigrants who had escaped the Holocaust.[7] His father was a kitten-killing pinko Marxist.[8] He studied PPE at Oxford and did a master in Economics at LSE.

Early Parliamentary career[edit]

He is considered more towards the "Left" of Old Labour rather than the "right" of New Labour, which put him at odds with the Blairite wing within the party. He worked as a special adviser to Chancellor Gordon Brown, and he directed Labour's election manifesto in Scotland; Labour went on to become the largest party in the Scottish Parliament following the election.

David Miliband's pet issue, which later became Ed's pet issue, was climate change. Shortly after winning his seat in parliament, Miliband was promoted by Tony Blair to serve in the Cabinet. When he was Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Miliband announced his ultimate goal to cut greenhouse emissions by 80% by 2050, rather than the 60% cut in carbon dioxide emissions previously announced. Miliband said, straight to the House of Commons, that he would change the government's policy on coal-fired power stations - any potential new coal-fired power stations would be unable to receive government consent unless they could demonstrate that they would be able to effectively capture and bury 25% of the emissions they produce immediately, with a view to seeing that rise to 100% of emissions by as early as 2025.

He was among the few "saints" of the expenses scandal, having not claimed much at all.

Cain and Abel[edit]

This is where things get interesting. His brother, David Miliband, was the top policy adviser to Blair in opposition, even contributing to the election manifesto which led to Labour's landslide victory. However, many felt David was too close to New Labour: rubber-stamping the Iraq War, kowtowing to big business, trigger happy anti-terror laws, national security used as an excuse for unpopular poliies, and the general fatigue within the party.

To the dismay of many, Ed challenged David for the leadership; many assumed David would cruise to the nomination, but Ed received key nominations by Neil Kinnock, Tony Benn, Roy Hattersley, and Margaret Beckett, all of whom former Old Labour apparatchiks. By September, Ed enlisted the support of six trade union giants, including both Unite and UNISON, with his brother gaining more support from Labour MPs in the House of Commons. Four preferences voted were needed for the election, with Miliband taking 50.654% of the electoral college, defeating his brother by 1.3%.

In the final round, Ed took 19.93% of the total union vote to David's 13.40%, but in the MPs/MEPs section and Constituency Labour Party section, came second. It didn't help Ed's image once he became leader. Although he didn't stab his brother in the back directly, he was complicit in it. So you've got half the country thinking he's wet and a bit cowardly, and the other half thinking he's rabid and traitorous.

He's admitted that the bruising election strained relations with his brother, and his family in general. David retired from politics as a result and had not spoken to his brother for months on end - some even report years before they talked. Ed, to this day, and largely due to shitty pro-Tory tabloids, carries the stigma of having stabbed his brother in the back in exchange for more power within the party. David Cameron especially enjoyed bringing up that he "knifed his brother in the back!" during debates.

Leader of the opposition[edit]

Neo maxi zoom dweebie[edit]

Am I tough in us? Hell, yes, I'm touth enough!
—Miliband to Jeremy Paxman.[9]

As Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband is very similar to Clement Attlee - he's a marble-mouthed, geeky technocrat whose attempts at relating to people come across as forced. He lacks charisma, he doesn't articulate himself nearly as well as Blair, David Cameron, or his brother, and he was very uncomfortable at Question Time early on, where Prime Minister Cameron pretty much ran rings around him. Miliband hadn't done a very good job of putting across an alternative view to the Tories, slurred his speeches a lot due to his lisp, and generally appeared to be little better on policy than Cameron at first.

The obvious explanation is that a lot of Britons are cut from the same cloth as their media, i.e. are addicted to sneering. The second explanation is the class system in England. There was a study a couple of years ago which showed that objectively, with everything else being equal, if given a choice, the British public would prefer a male pilot with a posh accent to be in charge of the airplane. For all of his many faults, Cameron is posh and sounds like he knows what he is doing. On a purely superficial level, Miliband is not good at doing that.

Since late 2014, early 2015, however, Miliband has gotten better of late. He advocated for the removal of all cuts to the NHS, and his spending pledges are good, but drop the private option entirely from your platform, then we'll talk.[10] His election manifesto calls for the phasing out of the austerity program under Cameron, the lowering of tuition fees, the raising of corporate fees back to 50%, the recognition of Palestine as a sovereign nation,[11] protections for migrant workers from exploitation, and criminal investigations of Rupert Murdoch over the phone hacks, although his immigration policy overall leaves a lot to be desired.[12][13] Being the son of immigrants also makes him look rather daft over this piss-poor idea.[14] He successfully blocked an attack on Syria in 2013; thereby permanently undermining Cameron in foreign policy, as it was the first time in 100 years that a prime minister's foreign policy voted was defeated in the House of Commons.

The decaying carcass of the Labour Leader seemed to really come alive during the election debates, where he called out David Cameron's cowardice in facing debates, held his own when Paxson grilled him in a live audience,[15] and made several "The fuck are you talking about?" faces that became internet memes.[16][17][18] There was that weird #Milifandom thing on social media, where teenage female voters used their adulation of Miliband to piss off Prime Minister Cameron. No, really.[19][20]

To his credit, Miliband came over to Russell Brand for an interview in the waning weeks of the election, where Brand explained how each party sucks and why simply voting isn't enough for change.[21] While they had a heated exchange throughout, it was enough to convince Russell Brand - the notorious anti voter - to endorse Labour (if you're in England and if you don't have Green on the ballot). Brand claimed that, despite massive differences, Miliband is "a bloke that would listen to us", and advocated for social activism from his followers to make sure Miliband would listen should he win the election.[22]

Al Gore'd[edit]

He's the first man to openly take a shit on NewsCorp.[23] Worse yet, Miliband outright stated that he was coming for non-doms.[24] Contrast with Tony Blair, who bought them crates of wine.

Character assassinations are to be expected, but the Murdoch press went way overboard. He was called a wimp, nerd, backstabber, weirdo, womaniser (which of these things is not like the others?[25]), "Red Ed",[26] etc. The Daily Heil compared him to Jimmy Savile, for pity's sake. Anyone who has studied behavioural economics at all knows the power of word association. Just having the two of them together in a headline like that breeds (irrational) association in peoples' minds.[27]

This is likely his lasting legacy: in a country where the media has a death grip on politics, Ed took a gamble by openly criticizing the media kingpins, and they ripped him to shreds. Future Blairite robots Labour Party politicians will try to learn from his "mistake." Proof that you cannot take on Murdoch, apparently.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes[edit]

Britain faces a simple and inescapable choice — stability and strong Government with me, or chaos with Ed Miliband.
—David Cameron on Twitter, 5.3.15.

In an result comparable with Bibi's Blowout (which took place the same year) or 04's Jesusland, Cameron somehow got a majority government. We'll chalk it up to Ed Miliband having a goofy face and Nick Clegg's idea of bargaining being to 'give up all our policies.' This was the worst defeat to the Labour Party since 1987, despite receiving more votes than in 2010. Miliband was so disgusted that he resigned almost immediately afterward.

Cameron risked everything to beat Miliband at the election, including pandering to UKIP voters[28] in one of the biggest political blunders ever. Scotland voted to remain in the UK, but Cameron later fucked himself by trusting his enemies: A year later, the populist movement he utilized turned around and voted for Brexit. If Labour didn't have a soggy biscuit for a leader, than Remain could have swayed many of those Northern leave votes. Instead, it was left to Cameron whom everyone hates. Corbyn's historically been critical of the EU (for very different reasons to Farage), so it's basically an unfortunate coincidence. The media was doing their bit, turning it into the Boris and Dave Show and completely ignoring or criticizing Corbyn. What little campaigning he did do wasn't publicized.

All that just to beat Miliband. Hope that slim Tory majority was worth it, Dave.

Punchline[edit]

Does anyone remember the Economist cover from the week of that general election? Here's a reminder. "Risk the economy [with Ed] or risk Europe [with Dave]". Ironically, by choosing Cameron the UK lost its place in Europe, and as a direct consequence will now be forced to watch their economy get fucked, too.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Ed Miliband: 'I used to be famous', BBC News. 4 June 2015.
  2. Whoops
  3. Ed Miliband's battle with a bacon sandwich as he buys flowers for his wife at London market.
  4. Taylor, Adam, "Britain’s prime minister ate a hot dog with a knife and fork, and it’s a problem", WaPo 4.7.15. Eating the meat of peasants, hence his sour expression.
  5. Labour MPs back Miliband on shadow cabinet elections
  6. Article on Ed Miliband's beliefs in the Daily Heil. September, 2010.
  7. Article on the Miliband family history in the Daily Telegraph. May, 2010.
  8. Article on the Miliband brothers in The Guardian. February, 2010.
  9. Battle For Number 10, Channel 4 News.
  10. 100 hours to save the NHS... Labour's manifesto analysed
  11. British opposition leader Miliband says would recognize Palestinian statehood at right moment
  12. New immigrants must speak English, says Ed Miliband
  13. Labour's Bizarre 'Controls On Immigration' Mug Is Perfect For The Ardent Ukipper In Your Life
  14. Britains criminally stupid attitudes to race and immigration are beyond parody
  15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpZkPf7ogDc
  16. http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/04/look-ed-miliband-s-face-while-listening-nigel-farage-tv-election-debate
  17. http://www.bailiwickexpress.com/jsy/life/current-affairs/ed-miliband-pulls-sassiest-face-ever-while-listening-nigel-farage/
  18. http://www.buzzfeed.com/markdistefano/mili-what
  19. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/04/22/ed-milibands-milifandom_n_7115110.html
  20. http://www.mirror.co.uk/usvsth3m/milifandom-now-selling-ed-miliband-5612285
  21. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDZm9_uKtyo
  22. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/04/russell-brand-endorsed-labour-tories-should-be-worried
  23. Dan Sabbagh and Lisa O'Carroll, "Ed Miliband says News Corp should be forced to sell the Sun or the Times ", Guardian (7/12/12 at 5:02 PM EDT).
  24. Wintour, Patrick, "Ed Miliband: Labour will scrap non-dom tax status", Guardian (Last modified on 7/11/16 at 9:11 EDT).
  25. Horne, Nigel, "Ed Miliband goes from Wallace to womaniser", The Week 4.10.15.
  26. Little, Alison, "'Red Ed' Miliband in white tie: Is that really a winning look for a Labour leader? ", Daily Express (Updated 5/7/15 at 11:29).
  27. Dearden, Lizzie, "Richard Littlejohn's Jimmy Savile comments provoke outrage from abuse victims' charity", Independent 5.5.15. Written by the same guy who bullied a transexual teacher who would later kill herself.
  28. Mason, Rowena, "Labour accuses Tories of plotting ‘poisonous’ pact with Ukip ", Guardian (4/3/15 at 12:22 EDT). LOOSE THE ARROWS! But, Sire, we'll hit our own men... LOOSE THE ARROWS!