MILIBAND: POLLS AND SUN BLUNDER LAST STRAW?
Labour MPs I’ve met in the last week had a real look of despair in their eyes over Ed Miliband’s massive blunder posing with a copy of the Sun. Now comes woeful ratings in the latest opinion polls. 49% of voters want him replaced. Their wish won’t come true, but don’t you begin to have the feeling we’ve been here before? In the run up to the 2010 General Election it was clear that Gordon Brown was a liability. Loyal Labour MPs backed the leader whatever their private thoughts.
Rebel Southport Lib Dem MP John Pugh said of his leader recently “while it might be necessary for the captain to go down with his ship, it is not necessary for the ship to go down with the captain.” It looks like happening to Labour who have historically lacked the ruthlessness to do something about a leader who can’t win.
The Sun blunder really was bad. Miliband had got a lot of credit for standing up to the Murdoch press over phone hacking. Now he’s posing with the rag and preparing to have dinner with the paper’s representative. The Sun will trash Labour anyway in the election campaign. News International are fighting back.
But the most devastating aspect of the affair was the offence to the Hillsborough families. Miliband shouldn’t need advisers over this. Just ask Andy Burnham or any Labour MP within a hundred miles of Liverpool or Sheffield. Anyway his advisers are either all London based myopics or were dazzled by the chance to back the England football team.
Nobody believes Ed Miliband reads the Sun or eats bacon sandwiches. He shouldn’t have stabbed his brother in the back and should now try to be authentic at least.
JUNKER: THE DEMOCRATIC CHOICE.
Because the Sun (or most of our press and broadcasters) didn’t cover it, doesn’t mean that Jean-Claude Junker can’t become E.U President.
MEPs have been determined to bring some democracy to this appointment and made it clear from a long way back that the party with the largest group in the European Parliament should provide the next President of the Commission. So hustings were held in the middle of May with candidates representing the main groupings and broadcast on BBC Parliament. You could have watched it (if the media had done their job and told you about it) and then you could have supported a party on that basis. For instance Martin Shulz, roughly Labour; Guy Verhofstadt, roughly Liberal, Ska Keller, Greens or good old Jean-Claude Junker, Conservative Federalist. They turned out to be the largest group after the elections so he has the right to be chosen as the next President of the Commission.
Now I hear two anguished cries going up. First “we’ve never heard of these people!” Not an excuse, just like I didn’t know the speed limit, the need for insurance cover etc. People have got to take some interest. The British media have got to raise their game over European coverage.
The second cry is “where was the candidate representing David Cameron’s anti federalist Tories in the European Conservatives and Reformist mini group. They didn’t put up a candidate! Brilliant. If you don’t buy a ticket you can’t enter the lottery or block the democratic choice of the people of Europe.
Cameron may still succeed in blocking Juncker. My advise would be accept him and stop being rude about him. After all Cameron is going to need him to help with a package of reforms which the Prime Minister(if still in office) has to sell to the British people to stop them from voting to get out in 2017.