“I mean, how bad could it have been?” Ed Miliband pontificated, to his faithful leftie audience of podcast listeners (he was once apparently excited to learn that less than 3% of the country are aware of his podcast’s existence). He was referring to a premiership he clearly still envisages in his wildest dreams. He didn’t quite get as far as saying “The country made the wrong choice and I want to wag my finger at them for it” but you could tell it was what he was thinking.
Anyone who is familiar with my previous work can tell I’m not fond of Ed Miliband. Honestly, I rather dislike the man. I’m not yet at the level of standing around and shouting at him as he walks from Parliament, but he is one of the very few politicians I feel I would dislike in person.
There are many reasons I feel this way. For one, in my opinion, he stabbed his brother in the backin a lifelong bid for his father’s attention. Secondly, he has shown utter determination to punish the press for having the nerve to point out his mistakes. And lastly, I cannot forget the moment he looked at rows of children’s corpses in Syria and saw a chance to play politics with David Cameron.
The problem with people like Ed Miliband is, of course, that they’re not really interested in the public at all. They’re interested in their public. Their narrow, two-kitchens, Dartmouth Park and Stoke Newington, middle-class, champagne-socialist public.
Of course, anyone in their right mind can see Miliband is still reeling from his earlier election loss. No one who wasn’t would go to the extent that he does to pretend that everything is fine, to try to propagate the image of himself as a meme, and to try and convince himself that he managed to triumph over David Cameron.
Yet this is just a fairytale, and everyone knows that fairytales aren’t real. Feeling like you’re a victim doesn’t make you a hero, and the electorate took one look at Ed Miliband and laughed in his face, slamming the door on his career for good measure. Miliband has nevertheless convinced himself that he is a “golden boy in people’s minds”, to quote Geoff Lloyd, Miliband’s friend and radio host.
But all that has a serious point, which is this: Ed Miliband and his cronies aren’t mocking the government when they make statements like this. They’re not mocking the Tories. They’re mocking the electorate. They’re mocking the general public, for having the nerve not to agree with them.
They won’t admit that to themselves. They tell themselves that of course it’s not the public’s fault, they just can’t understand what they are voting for, poor things. It must have been those evil Tories, with their media and propaganda. It couldn’t possibly, possibly be that the country didn’t like Ed! No! How could it? How could the country have been led so astray?
This is the same attitude held by the Remainers who, even at this late stage, are trying to stop the democratic will of the people. I have sympathy with people who want to remain in the EU – I was one, at one stage. But it is people like the hysterics chanting abuse at cabinet ministers’ children who chased me away from such causes. These are people for whom the very idea that people could have voted Brexit at all is alien to them. It’s the same with Miliband, who, as Dan Hodges described him four years ago, is still scratching his head at the idea that there’s a world outside his bubble, that that world can’t see his pure, shining, self-righteousness, and carry him upon their shoulders to Downing Street.
But it is a rare moment when Miliband lets his bitterness slip through. Consider the time in May 2018 when he realised his latest campaign against the free press – who had infuriated him by having the nerve to not support his glorious vision of a future of Soviet-style flats – wasn’t going to succeed. Shaking, sniffling, squawking, dropping his papers, one could only marvel at the sight of a man completely falling apart. Miliband dropped in sulky defeat onto the benches like a deflated, angry Donald Duck, as one commentator described, harrumphing to himself and probably counting down the moments until he could snuffle the encounter into a microphone and obtain a crumb of sympathy through a mouthful of middle-class condescension(as indeed, he did, a week later).
It is a rare admission, for Miliband or one of his fellow champagne-socialists to confess it’s the electorate themselves they want to scream at. Of course, they won’t let themselves acknowledge it for long. It’ll soon be back to the poor electorate, the poor, misguided electorate, who just can’t see what’s good for them, who need to let Ed and his friends pat their heads and confiscate their property. They’ll have to return to that, because the only other alternative is to ask if maybe the electorate don’t like them. If maybe the public they know aren’t the public but their own public. If maybe, they’re the problem.
David Cameron’s book came out around the same time as Ed aficionado Tom Noble’s little offering. As of today, Cameron’s is currently still in the bestseller charts, much to the fury of Have I Got News For You’s hosts, which is always a barometer for good. Meanwhile, Noble’s little tantrum so far hasn’t got too much attention. Good thing Ed’s used to being second best.
But then again, it’s no doubt the public’s fault. They just haven’t seen enough of it. They haven’t heard enough about it. They’ve been brainwashed by David Cameron’s publicity team. That’s the only reason they aren’t rending their garments, sobbing into their hair shirts and flogging themselves in agonies of self-flagellation for not voting Ed in. They just haven’t realised what a mistake they made. They can’t have done, because then they’d choose us, surely?
Or at least, that’s what Miliband and the like have to believe. Because otherwise, they’d have to look in the mirror, and what they saw wouldn’t be too pretty.