Ed Milliband’s Secret Diary, aged 13 3/4

Edel Faraband
Edel Faraband

I can’t stand Ed Milliband. This email he sent me – no, seriously, he really did, it’s in the first person after all, so it must have been him, he wouldn’t lie or anything – tells you exactly why.

People sometimes say that they don’t know what we — what I — stand for, so I’ll put this in the simplest terms I can, Carl Bennett. This country is too unequal, and we need to change it.

So here are the promises I’m making to you about the kind of Britain I will lead:

First, I will undo the damage the Tories have done to our country:

  • I will scrap the Bedroom Tax, which unfairly punishes the disabled and the vulnerable.
  • I will scrap the Health and Social Care Act, which damages and undermines our NHS
  • I will scrap the gagging law, which limits our freedom of speech and right to campaign
  • I will reverse the Tories’ £3bn tax cut for millionaires, so we get the deficit down but do it fairly

Some good points there Ed, but I can’t help wondering why when the bedroom tax was implemented in April 2013 it took you until September 2013 to even mention that you thought it was a really bad idea. It could have been because it was just before the Labour Party conference of course, not that you’d actually discovered a principle you cared about.

Second, I will take on the powerful vested interests that hold millions back:

  • I will force energy companies to freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017
  • I will give power back to those who rent their homes, by scrapping letting fees and stabilising tenancy agreements
  • I will raise money from tobacco companies, tax avoiders, and a mansion tax to fund doctors, nurses, careworkers and midwives for our NHS
  • I will reform our banks so that they properly support small businesses
  • I will stop recruitment agencies hiring only from abroad

I’m not sure how you’d go about scrapping letting fees in any way that wouldn’t see them replaced in 30 seconds by “administrative charges” or some other estate agent scam. And the thing is Ed, tenancy agreements are perfectly stable. They’re too short if you’re looking for long-term security, at six months and a month’s notice, but that’s not unstable. So what is it, as usual, you’re actually going to do to help? If you wanted to help the NHS you wouldn’t have helped to privatise it. You wouldn’t piss about with a mansion tax that’s going to raise not very much, pretty much in London only, affecting just people with big houses but no smarts and no accountants who could, for example, put the house in a company wrapper or something.

Given that you helped refinance the same banks that bankrupted the economy in the first place and given you did nothing whatsoever to get banks to help small businesses last time Labour were in power, I don’t believe you.  Your old boss ‘reformed’ the banks. We’re living with that now.

And instead of waffling on about stopping recruitment agencies hiring abroad, like a budget version of Nigel Farage, how about enforcing the minimum wage and scrapping the opt-out farmers are allowed, so they can hire from abroad and pay lower wages? Do you think that might be an idea? Obviously not.

Third, I will start to rebuild a fairer, better Britain:

  • I will raise the minimum wage, to ensure that everyone that does a hard day’s work is properly rewarded
  • I will promote the living wage by giving tax breaks to companies that pay it
  • I will ban the damaging zero-hours contracts that exploit British workers
  • I will bring in a lower 10p income tax rate, cutting taxes for 24 million workers
  • I will support working parents with 25 hours of free childcare for three- and four-year-olds
  • I will help more young people get on the housing ladder by getting 200,000 homes built every year

A hard day’s work. Ed, one of the reasons I hate you so much is because almost every time David Cameron comes out with some patronising crap about workers and shirkers I see your little face the other side of the House of Commons and you always look as if you’re thinking ‘I wish I’d said that, first.’ When I hear you come out with this hard workers stuff, I know I’m not mistaken.

How will you ‘get’ 200,000 homes built every year, Ed? Will you build them? You don’t say you will. That would smack of socialism, wouldn’t it, and we certainly can’t have you talking like that. So why are the building companies going to build them for you, exactly? Another scabby little deal like PFI that another of your old bosses dreamed up, that suit the companies and scam everyone else? Like the NHS, for example?

But the biggest reason I hate you Ed, is you don’t know what words mean. I don’t think you remember our conversation on Twitter. You stopped taking part in it after all, when I pointed out to you that contrary to what Tony Blair and Tweedles Dee and Dum maintained, words actually do not mean anything you want them to and it does not depend who is the master, them or you. You’d been saying how very sad you were that a market researcher had died after he’d done so much for the Labour Party. He did loads of qualitative analysis to find ideas and identify themes. You were almost heartbroken that this pollster, as you called him, had polled his last.

Which was pathetic and dishonest, because you clearly didn’t even know what he did if you confused counting how many – polling – with finding out why, or qualitative, subjective research.  Or of course, you didn’t know him or what he did at all. There’s always that possibility.

And then we have your insulting little list.

I want to know — is this the kind of Britain you want to see?

Tell me now which of my three promises is most important to you:

Undoing Tory damage

Taking on vested interests

Building a better Britain

– EdThank you.

No Ed, thank YOU! You want to know which of these vacuous catch-alls bothers me most. Undoing Tory damage? Just like the way your old boss Tony Blair increased and accelerated it, with Thatcher back in Number 10 as an advisor the week after she was voted out of it, the woman who was so pleased with what your old boss did to the Labour Party she claimed it as her proudest achievement? I don’t know. Let’s have a look at the others.

Taking on vested interests might be a good idea, except you don’t say what they are, or whether they include the banks, the Royal family, which as landowners are one of the very biggest vested interests in the UK today, along with the Duke of Westminster, or the Big Five accountancy companies, who your old boss Gordon Brown practically gave the running of UK plc over to last time he was Prime Minister. Maybe that one. Are you really going to do that? I’m impressed.

I quite like the idea of building a better Britain, but I can’t say that’s really the big thing, because once again, you don’t say what you mean and without doing that, it’s anything I want it to mean, isn’t it?  If I was six I’d probably say building it out of Lego would be better. If I was a UKIP voter I’d pretend to say I wanted a fairer labour market when I actually meant no darkies, thank-you very much. Or one where Simon Dee was back on Saturday afternoons and it was illegal to call anyone Doctor Who that wasn’t properly Tom Baker. If I was a ludicrous romantic I’d say a better Britain was one with a real Labour Party, one that had principles instead of buzzwords. One that had a leader who didn’t look like a total freak. One that had a leader who hadn’t sat there silent for two years while the Tory boys got to do whatever they wanted while Matron wasn’t looking. One that had a leader who didn’t think having a laugh and joke with Nigel sodding Farage on television, you grinning and graciously conceding his point like the new boy sucking up to the school bully, the same way you do with Cameron in the Commons, was appropriate behaviour. Except it is, for you, isn’t it, Ed?

You want to be everything to everyone, because you aren’t anything. You don’t believe in anything except expediency. Just like your old boss. Which is why I tore up my Labour Party membership card. Which is why I joined the Green Party. They actually believe things. I do, too.

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