Ed Miliband is a bit of a character. When I say character, I mean a caricature.
His goofy, nerdish persona, large facial features, and comical squeaky voice all contribute to his softly-softly image. He comes across as a nice guy, sincere in his beliefs. Dare I say it, he even comes across as trustworthy — though that’s not to say he actually is.
While many in the Labour Party lament clean-cut, Blair-esque David Miliband’s loss of the leadership battle to his brother Ed, the rest are heralding a change in the party. Many are anticipating a shift back to the left and away from the New Labour ideology. A fresh start, breaking free from past mistakes like Iraq, which Ed prides himself as having opposed.
They think he can heal Labour’s image, scarred by the bullish and awkward Gordon Brown, and the PR-friendly bulls**tter Tony Blair, not to mention some horrendous policies.
Is Ed really the man to take Labour through a genuine rennaisance? I sincerely doubt it. Let’s ignore his rhetoric and instead look at his voting record during his five years as an MP.
According to theyworkforyou.com, he voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq War. This from a man who made a big point during his Labour leadership campaign that he was against the Iraq War. There’s actually very little evidence to show he opposed the war as he wasn’t an MP at the time of the invasion and he took no public, active opposition to it — there’s merely his word and that of anonymous “close friends”.
Leaving aside how opposed he actually was at the time of the invasion, he has since been forcefully and vocally opposed. If he is so against it, why has he voted against rigorously holding those who led us to war to account?
Furthermore, he was utterly complicit in Labour’s assault on civil liberties. He voted for introducing ID cards, as well as all of Labour’s anti-terrorism legislation. This legislation has since been used to spy on ordinary citizens, arrest photographers and arrest peaceful protesters. I could go on.
He’s also voted for much stricter legislation on asylum seekers. As a result of these harsh laws, 98% of homosexuals seeking asylum are returned to a life of persecution, or worse still; execution.
On top of his voting record, he has spent almost his whole working life in politics within the Labour Party. He helped build and maintain New Labour, working for Gordon Brown for a few years while he was in the Treasury, before being gifted a seat in 2005.
Ed Miliband is not any significant change. He is no special key back to power. His roots and actions are New Labour through and through and people won’t quickly forget his party’s massive wrongs over the last thirteen years — including his part in them.