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The joy of UK politics: Tories choose gutter press smear operations rather than debates

MoSthumbIn yesterday’s Mail on Sunday. we’re told that Ed Miliband and Ed Balls knew the economy was speeding into a brick wall and therefore privately urged Gordon Brown to go for an election in Autumn 2007. This, from a book by former Doncaster mayor and self-styled fixer for Labour in Yorkshire, Martin Winter.

An aside. Apparently EdM confided all this to Winter, who has kept his counsel for seven-and-a-bit years until the pre-election period came round. According to the piece Winter has grown disillusioned with Miliband and says of him “He is ignorant of the real values of ordinary working class voters and holds his nose at their lifestyle.” By giving the vilest shit sheet in the land a front page and providing succour to the Tories, some might say Winter is equally as ignorant. He might want to look ‘scabbing’ up, for instance.

Did Ed Miliband say what he’s alleged to have said? Who knows. Off the record usually means off the cuff. Nor is there anything particularly cynical about the observation. If you want to win in politics it’s best that you choose the ground you’re going to fight on, and undeniably had Brown not bottled the election that never was Labour would have walked it. Also, do recall that no one in Westminsterland and the media cocoon spun around it was talking about an economic catastrophe in the offing. There’s no evidence either of the two Eds possessed an insight lacking among professional economists, city slickers, and those who track such things.

What Labour needs to pick up on quickly is this heralds a new wave of personal attacks heading the leader’s way. For years we’ve had the weird/weak Ed meme and still Labour are in electoral contention. As Dave would rather be branded a coward than face Ed in a debate, the “weak” lines are going to be rested for the time being. Instead, the Tories are going after what are perceived by the electorate as his strengths. Poll after poll shows that, as a whole, people think Ed is a nice, genuine bloke who empathises and cares about those less fortunate than he. Lynton Crosby’s job is to turn this around. Instead of cuddly Wallace, the Tories are trying to colour him Skeletor. They want to portray him as an inept, scheming manipulator whose veins run cold with the ice blood of cynicism. Another classic case of Tory projection.

Think about it. Osborne provided The Mail some words: “This first-hand account shows Balls and Miliband were more interested in saving their own skins than saving the British economy.” And this line bears some resemblance to the “weaponising the NHS” teacup storm Dave spent time trying to whip up last week, again designed to show Labour up as a cynical exploiter of the NHS than a party ideologically and genuinely wedded to it. And, to a lesser extent – though a bridge too far for even the stretched credulity on which so much official politics hangs – Dave attempted to claim Ed’s calls for the PM’s participation in the leaders’ debates was a cynical way of avoiding facing the Greens’ Natalie Bennett. Yeah, I had to scratch my head a few times too.

We’re going to see more of this. Cynical Ed. Calculating Ed. Even perhaps Sinister Ed. Oh what a joy British politics is.


  1. Robert says:

    “He is ignorant of the real values of ordinary working class voters and holds his nose at their lifestyle.”

    I do not think he is alone in thinking that, to be honest look at Miliband speech to vote labour you have to be in work working, worse hard working.

    He hardly ever speak about welfare except to say he will hammer down, he doers not speak about pensioners either.

    And now his freeze on power is looking totally stupid as prices fall and his freeze would hold up those falls, we warned him many times.

    But yes I will agree this book was badly timed but hell he has to sell it to make money so this is the time to do it just before an election so news papers can pay to serialize it in their papers.

    Nothing strange about that, or the picking up by the Tory press, but is he wrong I do not think so.

    Just bad timing for labour.

  2. swatantra says:

    What an affront to decent journalism!
    EdM and Balls were as clueless as the rest of us this side of the Atanlantic about the coming Armageddon 2008 disaster. However the USA Administration and Business America knew full well, because Big Business America had planned this Sub Prime Mortgage South Sea Bubble con, but hadn’t the decenceny to tell Blair or Brown.
    We should have severed that ‘special relationship’ there and then.
    But there is some truth in the quote that ‘“(sic Ed) … He is ignorant of the real values of ordinary working class voters and holds his nose at their lifestyle.” I say that because usually, local politicians like the disgraceful Winter know the full measure of their own local MPs; only in this case, Winter has decided to spill the beans.

  3. jeffrey davies says:

    but the crooks are still defrauding us daily the banksters walk around without imputrity yep i never liked gordon or that laughing cavilier blair but they didnt borrow anything like this crooked lot done and using any news to discredit before elections will be up the tories st look they even brought rtu ids wife into the fight jeff3

  4. Gerald Allen says:

    Having lived in Doncaster for the most of my 71 years; I can tell you that Martin Winters was the most disastrous Labour councillor that Doncaster or South Yorkshire has had the misfortune to produce(so that will give you a fair measure of the man), if he did nothing else, he saddled the borough with Peter “Chopper” Davis the 1st and last English Democrat mayor the UK has seen.
    While this may be anecdotal, a serving Labour councillor told me a few years ago(5) that Ed Miliband would come to executive meetings of his constituency party when he was a cabinet minister, held in a local pub, then after business was finished he’d finish the night off playing pool with his party members, also having seen him in a local miners club since becoming Leader of the Opposition, near his constituency office albeit after a memorial anniversary of a mining tragedy in his constituency, and playing pool and mixing with club members of whom a fair proportion were/are vocal UKIP supporters,which kind of shoots winter’s description of him as ignorant of real working class values and holding his nose at their lifestyles, he certainly mixed more with the rank and file than Winter ever did; one could imagine his brother, Cameron, Osborne, Thatcher or Heath doing anything like that when they were opposition leaders or senior opposition members.
    Winter has certainly earned his 30 pieces of silver from the Sunday poison. I’m not a member of the Labour Party but I have never had any time for any Labour Party member/councillor/MP/official who would go running to the yellow press/media to help this most reactionary, vile government. If there was one way that I could think of a sentence that could describe Martin Winter’s disastrous term as Mayor of Doncaster it would be:”He made Ramsay MacDonald look like V. I.” Lenin

    1. swatantra says:

      I stand corrected; best to get both sides of the story. You only get the truth about MPs at grass roots level.

    2. Jon Lansman says:

      Well said Gerald!

  5. Barry Ewart says:

    Labour didn’t cause the global economic crisis as any reading of recent history (sub prime lending) and the EVIDENCE shows. But of course New Labour didn’t help by cosying up to the banks. Brown had to step in to save the banks or there would have been chaos (re peoples’ wages, pensions, savings and benefits) but as someone once said, “No good deed ever goes unpunished.” To shut the Tories (and Lib Dems) up plus the right wing media on this issue Labour just need to ask: What would the Tories and Lib Dems have done? They never say!

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