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Ed as Maggie

John Rentoul

Thatcher and Ed Miliband Ed as MaggieThe Labour leader has given an interview to my esteemed colleague Steve Richards for a Radio 4 programme at 8pm tonight called “What Does Ed Miliband Really Think?”

There is a preview of it in The Independent, which quotes Miliband comparing himself to Margaret Thatcher:

She was a conviction politician and I think conviction really matters. I think that in the 1970s, it was a similar moment, and that is the biggest parallel. It was a similar moment in the sense that a sense of the old order was crumbling and it wasn’t 100 per cent clear what was going to replace it.

I suspect that this is based on a double misreading of history: (a) that she shifted British public opinion to the right and (b) that we are ready for a shift to the left now.

Still, if David Cameron is as determined to hand the next election to Miliband as he appears to be, we had better start to pay attention to what the next prime minister has to say. I have some other extracts from the programme, in which he claims to have learned from Gordon Brown:

I learned some lessons. I think that, when he became Prime Minister, he didn’t have a clear enough sense about how he wanted to take the country forward. And so I learned that lesson, and I’m not somebody who is going to go into the coming election not being clear about where I want to take the country afterwards.

Richards presses him for an example. What about renationalising the railways, he asks:

On the issue of rail, I’ll give you my very clear answer, which is I’m absolutely open-minded about how the rail system goes in the future. I don’t think we should have the automatic view that everything just remains in the private sector as far as the rail franchises are concerned.

Oh, yes. It is all going very well.

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  • creggancowboy

    Miliband does not think that is the problem – he is a carbon copy of Bliar/Brown. Thatcher made the police political, destroyed swathes of the north and lost 300 troops in a bush war that would not have been out of place in 1882.

  • greggf

    “….and I’m not somebody who is going to go into the coming election not being clear about where I want to take the country afterwards”.

    He’ll regret his words.
    If anything is certain from the economic crisis it’s that politicians have no idea where their “convictions” will lead.


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