In today’s Daily Telegraph, our Mayor explains that Ed Miliband wants to avoid the sort of split that dogged Labour over the EU in the 70′s and 80′s by avoiding a referendum. Boris describes the Labour attitude thus: “ If you’re frightened of the verdict of the people — vote Labour.” Later Boris goes further and accuses Ed of “utter cowardice”.
For other examples of utter cowardice from the Leader of the Opposition, you don’t have to look very far. When Ken Livingstone ignored the Labour Party candidate, Helal Abbas, to appear alongside Lutfur Rahman, sacked as an extremist by Labour, any strong party leader would have given Ken the sack. Ed Miliband did not, and all the indications are that he let Red Ken run all over him during the last mayoral contest.
When Ken insulted the Jewish community to suck up to the Muslim vote, in public Ed didn’t say a word. Nobody knows what went on in private, but it can’t have been very effective, because for the entire campaign, Ken ran amok.
Ken’s behaviour was so appalling, there was a sorrowful article in the Jewish Chronicle about it, even an editorial in the Times . From Ed, not a peep. On the contrary, he and Ken went out campaigning together. At worst , Ed looked like a traitor to the Jewish community, at best a weak kneed fool.
Then there is the case of Labour MP Margaret Moran. If she had been Tory, Ed would have been screaming for an enquiry, his mouth full of phrases about Tory greed and the nasty party, but now he played his usual tactic, forget right and wrong, just avoid trouble. If for legal reasons, it is impossible to reclaim the £57,000 embezzled by Moran, why did Ed, in the name of fairness and common decency, not make her pay back the money? But again, always the line of least resistance, avoid conflict, don’t make waves.
Nobody can act like the patron saint of scroungers, voting for benefits to be higher than wages, and at the same time claim to be the “new Maggie Thatcher!” Rather than stand up and fight for he what he purports to believe in, Ed takes the easy road of trying to be all things to all people. This weak approach junked his claim that he is a conviction politician forever. .
Tackled by a 14 year old, Ed’s instinct was not to debate his policies, but to turn on his heel and run. This is Ed all over. Ed Miliband has himself described how he and his brother used to spend a lot of time at school avoiding being beaten up. So he was a coward at school too. No change there then.