David Blackburn

Miliband the hero

Miliband the hero
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Garlands go to the conqueror. The Observer has interviewed Ed Miliband about his response to the News International crisis, and it’s as if Caesar has returned home after crushing the traitor Pompey.

Miliband told the Spectator in an interview with James Forsyth in this week’s magazine that Murdoch’s spell on British politics has been broken. He reiterates that sentiment with the Observer and adds that Murdoch’s endorsement will be a “double-edged sword at the next election”. When speaking to James he was careful to insist that there was nothing personal in his burgeoning crusade against Murdoch; he is not so careful now.  "I think he has too much power over British public life,” he said and vowed to break up Murdoch’s media empire.

This is a stark spiel from a man who was quaffing Murdoch’s champagne just a few weeks ago. But, Miliband has been ahead of the game on this issue, much as David Cameron was during the MPs’ expenses crisis. Who knows why David Cameron dithered as Miliband struck, but it is the latter who looks decisive and armed with a strong voice of moral leadership. Despite that, it’s worth noting that Miliband still trails Cameron in leadership polls.

Miliband is determined to sustain the little momentum he has built. To that end, Miliband says that the Murdochs are just the start of the necessary renewal he envisages for British public life.

“We've seen it in politics with the expenses scandal, we've seen it in banking. We have got to be willing to speak out because it is damaging the fabric of the country, the ethic of the country. We can't have the responsible country that I think we need if this is going on among the most powerful people in the country.”

Miliband seems to exclude the disgraced police force from this epoch of moral resuscitation. He says:

 “I think the way I'd put it is they've obviously got questions that they will want to answer and I don't think it's for me to be calling at this stage for people to go. I'm sure [Met commissioner Sir] Paul Stephenson and [assistant commissioner] John Yates will want to account for what happened.”

With senior police officers voicing concerns about police reform and Labour manoeuvring to outflank the coalition from the right on law and order, his lenient tone seems rather convenient.