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Of #Milifandom – Who’da thought it?

Milibae the magic kawaii politicianIt’s my party and I’ll be late if I want to. News of the unexpected #Milifandom around comrade number one, Ed “Milibae” are chip wrappers humming in the nation’s bins alongside tea bags and gravy-speckled LibDem leaflets, but a conspiracy hatched by campaigning and a dud internet connection has blocked yours truly from commenting. Until now.

How short political comment’s memory is. The rise of Miliband fandom, and its entirely confected and useless Tory countershove, the “Cameronettes”, are not without precedent.

Recall last November when, for the best part of a month, #webacked and #CameronMustGo topped trending topics like a boss. Then, it was plots and rumours of plots against Ed Miliband that, again, emerged spontaneously from pissed off Labour people and used the collective power of Twitter to challenge the media common sense.

The same is here too. Except this time, against some of the most scurrilous attacks ever mounted on a mainstream politician, young women and teenage girls have led a fightback in their own inimitable fashion.

This is 2015, not 1992. The lesson the Tories and their media friends won’t learn is that the media landscape has changed irrevocably. The right wing press still have a mass audience, but it’s shrinking. As they drop anywhere between five and ten per cent year on year, their reach and influence shrinks.

Even worse for them, social media is more demanding and often more rewarding for many of its younger readerships. The diet of propaganda masquerading as news that once addressed its audiences more directly are now effectively filtered/stymied by one’s social media networks. Sun editorial ranting about Ed Miliband in increasingly desperate tones?

When one pops onto social media, one is likely to at least note the trends, status updates, tweets, etc. offering alternative viewpoints. There is no reason why social media should challenge dominant narratives – anyone venturing into poverty porn-related chatter can tell you that. However, when something goes viral in response to a Tory attack – as Miliband fandom has – the more likely it will impinge on a reader’s extended networks, become a talking point, and offers access to opinions the right wing press are unsuccessfully trying to crowd out. The more egregious the smear, the stronger the backwash.

I haven’t been on t’internets too much these last couple of days, but I am surprised the fangirling around Ed Miliband hasn’t brought forth a ripple of snarks. What’s going on here is a double subversion/appropriation of the leader’s image by intellects both warm and sympathetic.

Yes, it is ridiculous to photoshop Ed’s face onto ripped, muscular bodies but at the same time, in each case, the juxtaposition serves to underline his quiet strength. Instead of the tired Wallace comparisons gifted us by our unimaginative press, the choice of bodies are about a can-do attitude. Some might even say “hell yes”.

It’s a laugh, but if you like this is a more authentic Ed because the images are the results of grassroots collaboration and sharing. They’re not the contrived offspring of party press’ers or beleaguered editors getting the hairdrier treatment from their overseas gaffer. These, just like what came before, are reclamations of the Labour leader. The affectionate joshing is proprietorship, identification, and a flowery, soft-focus middle finger to Labour’s enemies.

This article first appeared at All that is Solid

Image credit: Milibae the magical kawaii politician by BeckaBN




  1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

    I can never before, (and I was pushing election addresses through letter boxes at the age of 12,) remember feeling quite such a profound sense of weariness, boredom and ennui at this point in any previous election campaign.

    Our politician’s narcissism and the media’s obsession with poles grow ever more tedious and debilitating by the day and still without any serious attempt by either political party to contest or even to seriously acknowledge the real issues, (massive unemployment; IDS’s cull of the disabled; failures governance and accountability; poverty and exploitation widespread and growing; the consequences of TTIP; the EU; immigration; loss of UK political independence; lack of decent, affordable and particularity of social housing: US proxy wars; personal, corporate and political corruption at every level; inequality; lack of access to education, health care or law……..) or to win hearts and minds, by 2 wholly unconvincing and frankly equally slimy candidates, (who some would say are both equally completely divorced from the real lives of the 80% of people in the UK who are not part of their self styled elite,) and both of whom are essentially just a pair of multi millionaire right wing Tory wing-nuts anyway.

    As I’ve commented here previously, at the election I’ll almost certainly now be voting UKIP, (as will many other people that I know,) but what I’ve probably failed to fully convey is just how potent and visceral my dislike of pretty much everything that they, (UKIP,) stand for and represent actually is and how deeply I resent being forced to lend them my support for lack of anything less distasteful.

    UK politics has never in my lifetime been more dysfunctional or more broken or seemed so completely in the grip of a small and unrepresentative clique of delinquent, corrupt and entrenched cronies or so much, to be now just another tired shabby racket.

    I never ever though I could get bored with politics, but I am, bored and nauseated.

    1. John p Reid says:

      JPCraig Weston, apart from the ‘I’ll be voting Ukip’ bit have to agree entirely
      By the way when were you twelve?

      1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

        When was I 12 ?

        “Before the Romans came to Rye or from the Severn strode,”

        Well perhaps not quite; but needles to say it was a while ago anyway and I’ve seen a hell of lot since, much of it not much to my liking especially not Thatcher, Blair and particularly not Miliband and his fellow Tories flying under the completely disingenuous pretense that that might still nonetheless be a little bit socialist or a tat more decent and compassionate than Cameron, when personally I can’t see a blind bit of difference between any of them.

        1. Robert says:

          I think a lot of people are having difficulty in seeing Miliband or Cameron as leaders, as for Boris taking over.

    2. Robert says:

      Andrew Marr show.

      Why have you not apologised for the banking crises.

      Andrew we have, ok I will apologise for removing the banking legislation which caused the banking crises.

      For the last four years labour have stated the labour party did not cause the crises it was in American Lehman Brothers not the UK, so lets get this straight the labour party did not cause or have anything to do with the banking crises.

      This is going to go down like a balloon filled with lead.

      I think Cameron is a joke Boris who everyone wants is an even bigger joke, so is poor old Miliband who stated I’m leading the labour party, but we all know it’s Progress.

      So whom will I be voting for it would be Plaid but they are looking forward of keeping labour in power, Greens would also be willing to enter with labour , Liberal will be willing to go in with anyone and every one. UKIP would go with the Tories , so whom does one vote for, well I do not see any one worthy of bothering with.

      1. John p Reid says:

        Vote for the Robert party, but make sure, you don’t get infiltrated by Sainsburies splitters

      2. Matty says:

        A few days ago you wrote on this site that you didn’t bother going on the electoral register.
        Now, you are mooting who to vote for.

        1. Robert says:

          As i said who would I be voting for none of them, they are all in it for them self as for John he still has wet dream over Blair , nope I will not be voting for the parties who think Austerity is for the poor the sick the disabled but not for MP’s.

          I’m waiting for somebody to come along with a final solution

          1. John p Reid says:

            Incredible Robert knows who I have dreams about ,when I can’t recall who I have dreams about,

            I mean how bitter would one have to be, in never seeing Lwbour win elections in the 80’s ,to result to personal insults,

  2. Robert says:

    John you have been a Blair -rite progress member and have always shouted for the welfare reforms but if your hoping that your change to Miliband will make people forget sorry as for your wet dream oh I think you still have them.

  3. John p Reid says:

    You think I still have wet dreams what are you basing that on, the fact that I’ve pointed out on the net, that Blair won, foot lost, hardly a clue as to whether I have a sexual fantasy ,is it?

    As for welfare reforms, I’ve defended Liam Byrne or Frank field as people from personal attacks, the Latter of purse backed John McDonnell for leader, it’s not so much them on welfare outs more the personal attacks and s,ears,which are unfounded.

    What part of I’ve never been a member of Progresss don’t you understand

  4. David Ellis says:

    What is it with bureaucracy and the cult of personality? This is worst than Putin and his effed up teenage followers. At least Putin can atually eat a bacon sandwich. Can probably make one himself and may even kill the pig it’s made out of. If Milliband forms a minority government that rules in the interest of `the nation’ and relies on Tory votes to get its legislation through expect to see a lot more of this hysterical crap. It will make Cleggmania look tame. All hail Napoleon Milliband.

    1. Robert says:

      Well it looks like he (Miliband) will win with a coalition it will be with the SNP, or maybe the Tories, my self he will do a deal with the SNP as the Liberals will be hammered and will decide to rebuild because another hammering would be the end of them.

      But it does show one thing labour and the Tories be it with Mr Blair or without him labour are now seen as more and more a party of Professional MPs who are in it for what they can get.

      We need to get off this FPTP and give people a real vote so we can get rid of the Tories and labour and get something New into politics, it like the old Whigs and Tories again.

  5. gerry says:

    Milifandom – talk about the descent of man! Has it really come to this, the party of Hardie, Attlee, Bevan, Bevin and Gaitskill, and now …milifandom: I weep for my party and country.

    But Mr Craig-Weston – to come on to a Left Futures site and shamelessly state that you are voting for a party led by a merchant banker, unrepentant Thatcherite and all-round phoney nationalist, then you are – how can I put this? – more than a little confused! I will vote Labour as I have done since 1979 but do all I can to try to get better po!icies and po!iticians than the shower we have now..if you are really sick of Labour and the rest, why not be principled and vote TUSC or Communist or Green who are at least recongnisably on the left of the spectrum…why vote for the party of fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists?

    And John Reid – yes, stay in Labour and fight your corner! Labour must always be a broad church , from Progress to Blue Labour to Compass to the CLPD and leftwards…and for all his many sins, Blair did lead us to three election majority wins and did good things like the minimum wage, Northern Ireland peace, Devolution, fox hunting ban, equalities legislation, Sure Start, NHS funding increases, Education maintenance allowances and much else

  6. john reid says:

    No more blogging me from me for the next week, busy canvassing. good luck to everyone

  7. R.B.Stewart says:

    Talking of youth I watched a TV debate with a young audience and whilst I understand they have to be from a cross section of views I was left wondering if some of them had ever read any political books?
    One young woman said the equivalent of, “Get on your bike to find a job” and even questioned why she should pay tax for others?
    Perhaps she may need to learn that we are all vulnerable human beings; one serious accident or serious illness away from potential poverty and any one of us one day may need support from a caring society.
    Some young entrepreneurs were also worried about paying a minimum wage to staff but they had a narrow view on entrepreneurship – were other human beings just there to be their slaves, just to make them rich (and whilst I wish then stellar success in pursuing their dreams) we are right to demand decent pay and conditions (and the right to join trade union if they wished) but I was also reminded of a quote from Charles Dickens and ‘Christmas Carol’. “Business! Business! Humankind is your business!”
    Is this what Neo-Liberalism has done to some of us?
    The super-exploited young will have their surplus labour legally nicked until they are 70 then they will be dumped with meagre pensions.
    Young people should join trade unions and be democratic socialists (but avoid Trotskyist/Lenninist groups – who are top down with all the answers) but most importantly read, read, read and empower yourselves!

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