Thursday, 26 June 2014
The job of Her Majesty’s official Opposition is to oppose the government of the day. Ordinarily the way to achieve this is to ridicule the policy and competence of the incumbents while presenting credible alternatives. A certain amount of hyperbole is to be expected but in resorting to the texts of Ancient Greece, Ed Milband’s New-but, Old-but Labour is stretching to breaking point the aphorisms about learning from history. Transcripts have come to light of Shadow Cabinet strategy meetings…
Ed: Our job is to oppose, so that’s what we’ll do. Whatever they say, we’ll say the opposite. On Opposites Day black will be white, up will be down and left will become right.
Shadow Cabinet: Didn’t Tony Blair and Alistair Campbell already do that? And we all know how that ended.
Ed M: Okay, so forget the left-right thing. But we know David Cameron must have a chink in his armour, an Achilles heel. We just have to find that.
Ed Balls: How about the flatlining economy?
SC: To be fair, Ballsy, you can take naysaying too far sometimes. It IS a flat line… it’s just an upwardly sloping one.
Ed M: How about we attack them on their employment record?
SC: Really, Ed? You really want to go there? Have you seen the figures?
Ed M: But the Prime Minister just doesn’t get it, does he? With this cost of living crisis eroding everybody’s lifestyle. We can keep stabbing away at him with that and eventually we’ll break him down.
Ed M: What?
SC: Have you not seen the papers lately? More in work than ever before, cost of living the lowest it’s been for half a decade, housing market healthy and new-build starts higher than we ever managed… And that mild winter didn’t help one bit. Nobody ran out of heat, nobody starved, too few old people died. We’re telling you Ed, this situation is desperate.
Ed M: They have utterly failed to get a grip on immigration. 200,000 a year are coming here, taking our jobs, claiming our benefits…
SC: We let in over 3 million…
Ed B: ...that we know about.
Ed M: I know, let’s try and say he brought a criminal into Downing Street. He’ll go down in history as the first politician ever to employ a criminal! And trying to get into bed with Murdoch - can you imagine how the public will react to that?
Harman: Have you really forgotten everything about the Blair years? And did you ever hear of Robert Maxwell? You can attack Cameron's character Ed, but at least he has one to attack. Sometimes I think he looks quite the statesman while you're banging on with your puny sound bites. We're fed up of having to come to your defence all the time.
[Ed Miliband’s lower lip begins to tremble and he looks - as he so often does – as if he is about to cry. He stamps his foot and raises his voice a notch in both volume and pitch.]
Ed M: But I am the leader! And I have done my homework. He hasn’t done the right thing! He has brought disgrace on his office! He hasn’t learned the lessons of history! He HAS got a weak heel and I will keep on stabbing at it until he is on his upper class, blue-bloody knees.
Harman: But Ed, if you had done your homework you would realise that a) The general public forgot all about Leveson a year ago, b) Your carping on about him being out of touch is exactly what everybody accuses you of being, c) Your constant ‘intellectual’ politicking has been called out for the bullshit it is, d) Achilles isn’t history, it’s a myth, and e) Compared to you he doesn’t look like Achilles so much as Hercules.
Wait! I've got an idea!
Ed M: So you're saying we should stop with the personal attacks, come up with some truly ground-breaking new policies, fight for a better Britain and present the voting public with a proper, viable alternative to government as normal? But we're the official opposition, right? So let's stick with our winning formula and just do exactly the opposite.