Smarter than it Looks ?

3 Oct

The general reaction in the Labour Party ranks to their leader Ed Miliband borrowing a phrase (‘One Nation’) most closely associated with a long-dead Conservative Prime Minister seems to be bemusement. Benjamin Disraeli (Earl of Beaconsfield when he died) lived most (all, one could argue) of his life before the Labour Party even existed, so it does seem a bit – odd. Lord (John) Prescott’s response was predictable enough as representative of working-class Labour opinion [in the House of Lords …] – “Who ?!”

The Guardian gives some helpful background information and some more is to be found here. One of their writers – Tanya Gold – swallows her dislike of Conservatives long enough to put the positive argument for this borrowing, and (with respect) may well have a point – the challenge to Mr Cameron is interesting, and faces him with something of a dilemma: ignore or over-call ? Dizzy himself would have appreciated the irony – he used to accuse Sir Robert Peel of ‘stealing the Liberals’ clothes.’

There is also the point that Ms Gold takes – and Mr Miliband may have intended – that his and Disraeli’s backgrounds can be argued to be similar, and Disraeli will have seemed a rather unlikely Prime Minister early in his political career. Mr Miliband’s difficulties include that – as Ms Gold points out – Dizzy’s closest modern analogue might be Boris Johnson, to whom no-one thinks Mr Miliband similar.

It could go the way of ‘the Big Society,’ of course, which would be embarrassing given Mr Miliband’s portrayal of Mr Cameron as ‘a marketing man’ and ‘all style and no substance’…


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