Status anxiety

Miliband's fight with the Mail is cold political calculation

5 October 2013

9:00 AM

5 October 2013

9:00 AM

I’m writing this from the Conservative party conference in Manchester, but it’s Ed Miliband I want to discuss. In particular, his objection to Saturday’s article in the Daily Mail about his father Ralph.

I felt a smidgen of sympathy for Ed when I saw the headline (‘The Man Who Hated Britain’) because a similar piece could be written about my father. May be written about him, in fact, if I pursue a career in politics. Like Ralph Miliband, he was a left-wing intellectual and, while he didn’t renounce parliamentary democracy, he was at one point a member of the Communist party. He left in 1936 after the first of Stalin’s show trials. He didn’t hate Britain, obviously, but then I don’t suppose Ralph Miliband did either — not all of it, anyway.

But my sympathy for Ed vanished when he decided to pick a fight with the Mail over it. I don’t buy the argument that he was moved by a genuine sense of outrage and couldn’t let the slur against his father’s good name stand. To me, it felt like a piece of cold political calculation. Any attack on the Mail is always warmly received by the left and creating a stink about it had the added advantage of distracting attention from the Tory conference. Above all, sticking up for his dad makes Ed look good. It humanises him. Mondeo Man may not get excited by his talk of ‘pre-distribution’ and ‘resetting the market’, but he can connect with a son’s pride about his father.

Some people will think I’m being cynical — and I’m prepared to allow that Ed’s anger wasn’t -completely cooked up for the media. I’m not accusing him of being inauthentic. Rather, I don’t think that distinction — authentic/inauthentic — has any purchase in Ed’s case. Nothing he says or does is spontaneous or natural. It’s all calculated.

That’s true of a lot of politicians, obviously. But in Ed’s case, you get the impression that it’s not just in public that he’s unable to relax. It’s as if there’s nothing really there beneath the soundbites and the platitudes. He can’t be himself because he doesn’t have a self to be, at least not in the normal sense of the word. He’s a politician all the way down to his tippy toes. The reason he seems so robotic is because he’s basically a robot.

This is where I think the Mail and the rest of the right-wing press has got it slightly wrong. The reason he’s so tongue-tied and cautious when being interviewed is not because he’s trying to conceal his left-wing convictions. He’s trying to conceal the fact that he doesn’t have any convictions. When asked what he thinks about an issue he can’t refer back to his core beliefs like a normal person because deep down in his core there’s nothing there. He’s an empty vessel.

Where the Mail is right, I think, is in branding him an ideologue — which is different from having convictions. Indeed, one of the reasons ideology is attractive to people like Ed is because it absolves them of the need to think too deeply about anything. That’s convenient if you lack any internal navigation system. Embracing an ideology, whether it’s communism or fascism, is like buying your convictions ready made off the shelf. Ideology fills the hole left by the absence of a moral compass — which is why ideologues are often guilty of appalling misdeeds.

Luckily, I don’t think we need worry too much about Ed getting hold of the keys to Downing Street. The paradox of democratic politics is that even though it rewards politicians who aren’t weighed down with convictions and are able to cut their coats to suit their cloth, it punishes those who don’t have any at all. The public can sense there’s something a bit off about Ed. He doesn’t smell right. He’s got a bit missing where most of us have a bedrock of beliefs.

Some people reading this will be thinking, ‘What about Blair? Not believing in anything didn’t do him any harm.’ But I think that’s a misreading of Blair’s character. The distinction between him and Ed — and the reason he triumphed where Ed will fail — is neatly summed up in this quote from Robert Musil, author of The Man Without Qualities: ‘And indeed the most coldly calculating people do not have half the success in life that comes to those rightly blended personalities who are capable of feeling a really deep attachment to such persons and conditions as will advance their own interests.’

Blair was one such ‘blended personality’. Ed isn’t.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Toby Young is associate editor of The Spectator.

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Show comments
  • Alastair Cartwright

    it’s time to move on…

  • Janice Redmayne

    Very, very interesting distinction between convictions and ideology. It’s rather like ‘we have a system in place’ which usually means ‘we’d rather not have to use our own judgement’. Toby Young is a v good, clever writer.

    • tolpuddle1

      “Convictions” – since when do any Tories have any deep faith or belief in anything, except Money ?

      • Fergus Pickering

        Oh I say. What a pity we can’t be like you and believe in garbage long ago exposed.

      • Colonel Mustard

        What was that about blinkers and bandwagons?

  • sarah_13

    Spot on. Unfortunately he’s all the more dangerous for it.

  • SERAPH1212

    You must live in cloud cuckoo land. The Mail picked the fight !

  • hoddles

    You are completely off your chump.

  • BlueCrashDive

    This article sums up Ed Milliband’s pathetic attempt to deflect attention away from his socialist ideology and his fathers overriding marxist influence on Ed, well.

    Ed M. is as cynical and manipulating as they come.

    • tolpuddle1

      Oh, you mean Ed’s not a naive, childlike, innocent creature like Nigel Dacre or the Mails or the leading Tories ?

      • Colonel Mustard

        Tut tut, Mr Pot, there are those blinkers and that bandwagon again. In fact I’m scrutinising your comments in this thread and failing to find anything original that hasn’t already been brayed by a thousand other irate lefties.

    • David Ainsworth

      Poor Toby is just trying to show how he heroically avoided “his fathers overriding marxist influence.”

    • Fergus Pickering

      Yes, but he’s not very good at it, is he?

  • Dgw201

    All very interesting, but I’d be interested to know what you think Mr Cameron’s convictions are, Toby? Or his ideology for that matter. It seems to me that relies on opinion polls as a substitute for both.

    • HookesLaw

      No he does not – or he would not have supported gay mariage.
      In a simple comparison (which will pass you by) I would suggest that the difference between Cameron and Miliband is that Cameron is decent and Miliband is not. It goes without saying that Balls is not decent, Miliband is the same.
      And of course labour are the party of Alistair Campbell …

      • tolpuddle1

        And of course the Conservatives are the party of Nigel Dacre, Lynton Crosby, Guido Fawkes and other fragrant ornaments of our time.

        Cameron is “decent”; you mean he was taught at Eton how to appear to be a gentleman; though in fact, he’s a professional PR-man with a foul temper.

        • David Ainsworth

          And has Cameron even dared to read the original DM article yet? He appeared to be ducking having to support/criticise the Mail. Probably waiting to see how it played.

    • Ron Todd

      Cameron’s core values gay marriage more expensive energy surrender to the EU mass immigration maintaining high government spending

  • Jon Long

    Typical of Toby to use a genuinely nasty ad hominen attack by the Mail on Ralph as an opportunity to launch his own petty and partisan ad hominem attack on Ed. The cold political calculation here is all Toby’s.

  • Eddie

    If there is one thing about The Daily Mail it is that its readership is overwhelmingly female.
    This rather proves that women tend to be more conservative than men – which they are politically in every country but the USA (coz of religious factors).
    The kneejerk insult of ‘Daily Mail’ reader by the lazy smug pompous left is both boring and silly – after all, The Daily Mail is just a standard centre-right paper aimed at women mostly. It is not Nazi Daily Round-up!
    Maybe it just shows how thick those on the left are if they can’t address issues and instead just fling silly insults at people whose views are centrist and not loonie leftie.

    • Ripple

      Don’t agree with the purported ‘religious factors’. In the USA the lefty-voting women tend to be under 30 and tend to be unmarried, and so they want Papa Sam (used to be Uncle Sam) to be their sugar daddy. The religious ones are, to the contrary, more likely to be married and therefore more reliant on family and less on the nanny state. And they vote by and large for the Republican ticket.

  • Chris Kimberley


    the daily mail picked this fight and they lost; withdrawl of advertising, suspensions, apologies and the end of paul dacres career.
    In the time since you wrote this piece youve been proved utterly wrong.

    The mails attack was nothing less than a spiteful ill-informed hatchet job. (Toby’s poor attempt at one here shows hes not even up to that standard!)

    Millibands standing has been strengthened by this and ‘Daily Mail apologists’ like Young and Gove now diminished

    • The_greyhound

      Interesting to read the view from another planet. Here in the real world the peculiar Miliband is twitching like a bag of rats at the unwanted attention he’s getting. He’s a weirdo, with weird ideas, and with a weird background of unsavoury characters, and like all such people he is allergic to strong light.

      Her’s a delightful and extremely funny insight into Mili-world – a lecture in honour of “Ralph” Miliband

      • tolpuddle1

        Monsieur, you’re in the “real world” of Rightymars

        Here on Earth, the Right has suffered a hammer-blow from Western public opinion and politicians on the Syria issue.

        And there’s a large island on Earth, where the Tories are losing the support of Middle Britain, as it’s called.

        And USA and Capitalism aren’t in great health either.

        Cue rocket attacks on Ed Milliband.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Incredible how the left always presume to represent everyone from their narrowly blinkered bandwagon. Their reaction has been like a cross between a lynch mob and the Borg with every leftist network in the land squealing for reinforcements to attack those who dare criticise the dear leader.

      • tolpuddle1

        Delighted to learn, Colonel, that you’re not blinkered or on a political bandwagon.

        No one would ever have guessed.

        • Colonel Mustard

          There is nothing blinkered or prejudicial about my detestation of the left. It comes from a lifetime of global situational awareness and experience and has been firmly reinforced as a result of reading comments like yours, including this pot and kettle one.

          • tolpuddle1

            Detest the Left as much as you like, monsieur! – I’m a social conservative and detest many of the Left’s ideas myself.

            But I beg you to show the nous to detest many of the Right’s attitude and beliefs as well.

      • David Ainsworth

        “every leftist network in the land squealing for reinforcements to attack those who dare criticise the dear leader.” And how do you know this, or do you just feel it in your water?

        • Colonel Mustard

          Er, I’m counting the upvotes on the various Toby Young lynch mob comments here and elsewhere. He is quite notorious you know and they collectively began to target him when he opened his school. The left are good at engineered outrage and the twittish mobs to go with it because of their Borg-like groupthink.

    • grammarschoolman

      You seem to wrong in almost every particular. I notice, for instance, that Dacre has signed a new contract. A funny way to signal the end of your career!

    • Ripple

      Telling the truth is a ‘hatchet’ job? Well, if you’re a log, that must be how it looks. To the rest of us it looks like felling rotten trees….

      • David Ainsworth

        The truth – you could not handle the truth. “Evil legacy” “The man who hated Britain” – “truths” from the paper that pretty well hates everyone. They’ve even managed to annoy the Jewish Chronicle a bit.

        • Ripple

          Did you say something? Sounds like a fluttering of moth wings around my post….

  • Terence Hale

    Miliband’s fight with the Mail is cold political calculation. As a respectable magazine I think you must admit the Mail went under the queensbury rules of journalism. Perpetrating Mr. Thatcher’s nickers or Stalin’s underwire is not journalism. The editor should resign.

    • Ripple

      Stick up for Leftism often, do you? It’s not a good way to live.

  • PaulOnBooks

    If you should ever pursue a career in politics? Ha, good one. Who would vote for Gove’s imp when they can have the master, whiff of sulphur and all?

    • Colonel Mustard

      I do hope you are not connected in any way with the education of children.

      • Ripple

        He might very well be.

  • Michael Hollick

    You’ve misjudged this one, Toby old bean. The Mail has apparently succeeded only in alienating many of its ‘natural constituency’ with an extraordinarily nasty and unwarranted attack. And I’m afraid my beloved Speccie is itself besmirched by publishing this rather poor attempt at bandwagon-jumping. I do hope Fraser slaps your wrist.

    • Smithersjones2013

      I think its more a case of bewildered their readers than anything. I don’t think you’ll find much sympathy amongst natural Mail readers or natural conservatives in general for either Miliband Snr and his political views or Miliband Jr and his prior integral associations with possibly the most malevolent government regimes (those of Blair and Brown) in contemporary history with their vile track record of smearing anyone and everyone who was the least problematic to them but the Mail focussing on the most tenuous of teenage musings as evidence of Miliband senior’s hatred for this country is absurd. What possessed the Mail to go off on such a ridiculously implausible narrative? Its just bizarre!

    • Ripple

      No he hasn’t, old fruitcake.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Would you please link us to the polling evidence that the Mail’s ‘natural constituency’ (which I presume is a rather smug euphemism for your own prejudiced pejoratives) is ‘alienated’ by this?

      • Michael Hollick

        Colonel, like many of my fellow-travellers, I’m afraid I was overcome by seeing the Mail get a bit of a pasting. An attack on a serving politician by means of a hatchet job on his dead father is pretty low, though, surely? Anyway, so long as there is a market for Mr Dacre’s rather spiteful worldview, the Mail will continue to thrive. I’m more concerned with the Specator following a similar line. I’m been a subscriber for several years and, while I often disagree with the politics of the magazine, I’m always appreciative of its tone. Mr Young’s effort lowers it, somewhat, in my opinion.

        • Ripple

          Thank god it’s only your opinion, then.

  • Walter Ellis

    Toby: How do you know what Miliband really felt about the Mail’s attack on his father? And how do you know that his response was one of cold political calculation? You raise the issue of your own father, only to dismiss it. But, seriously, how would you like it if your dad, an ex-Communist, who, according to Wikipedia, was “a British sociologist, social activist and politician, who coined the term ‘meritocracy’,” was vilified by the Mail, and you with him? You’d be at Dacre’s throat like an angry ferret.

    • Ripple

      Fortunately for Toby — and for the rest of us — his dad isn’t an ex-Communist. And Toby would not be bound by his father’s wrongness, even though Miliband quite clearly is.

      Trust everything you read in Wikipedia, do you? I don’t. It’s a Leftist manifesto half the time. And I say that as someone that has done research for it (a non-political, non-politico-environmental article, please note).

      • bengeo

        New York Times Obit

        Michael Young

        Michael Young, a sociologist and reformer who was a chief architect of Britain’s postwar welfare state, died Jan. 14 at his home in London. He was 86.

        He had been ill with cancer for some time, The Associated Press reported.

        Although he never held elective office, Mr. Young (more properly Lord Young of Dartington; he was awarded a life peerage in 1978) was a master of backstage policy making, writing the manifesto that helped the Labor Party win a landslide victory in 1945 and instituting reforms in education, housing, health care and consumers’ rights.

        ”Few people have made such a contribution to our society in so many different areas,” Prime Minister Tony Blair said in tribute. ”He was that rare combination — not just a great thinker but a great doer.”…

        …..But it was ”The Rise of the Meritocracy” that made Mr. Young world famous. Written as a doctoral dissertation looking back from the year 2034, the book described the emergence of a new elite determined not by social position but by achievement on the standardized intelligence tests that were a very real, and dreaded, fact of educational life in 20th-century Britain. To name this new elite, Mr. Young forced the marriage of a Latin root to a Greek suffix, yielding ”meritocracy.”

        He meant the term as a pejorative, for underneath the mock academic tract lay bitter social commentary. Though the test-based system of advancement emerging in postwar Britain appeared to provide opportunity for all, it was, Mr. Young argued, simply the centuries-old class system in sheep’s clothing.

        Lacking access to the best schools, underprivileged children routinely did badly on the 11-plus exam, the test given to children after sixth grade that largely determined their professional future. As a result, the disadvantaged remained at the bottom of the social ladder, their poor scores used to justify the status quo. ”The Rise of the Meritocracy” became an international best seller and was credited with leading to the abolition of the 11-plus in Britain.

        • Eddie

          Yes, and since the abolition of most grammar schools, bright poor kids have been betrayed and stopped from reaching their full potential by a school system that benefits the already privileged like the Millibands.

        • Ripple

          If only more quote Communists unquote were like that. But that is exactly the point: Mr Young Senior supported the recognition of merit and the rise or desert that stemmed from that; your average Obama-Clegg-Miliband stuffed-shirt supports enforced equality of outcome regardless of merit. If Mr Young were truly a Communist he would have no respect for the individual but only for the abstraction of which he believes that individual to be an unimportant part. But free societies respect and uphold the rights of the individual, and I can’t see Mr Young doing otherwise.

          Let’s proceed. Institutional reform in the name of greater democratic access to public services, in the period of Britain’s greatest hardship no less, can hardly be compared with the anti-capitalist, kneejerk soak-the-rich, out of control tax-and-spend redistributionist anti-democratic policy-making that we see in governments of both Britain and America today.


          • bengeo

            He came. He patronised. He went.

          • Ripple

            We don’t really want to know about his sex life, thanks. And you have failed to establish that he was in any way anything as despicable or mistaken as a Communist at any point.

        • Fergus Pickering

          And where does it say Mr Young was a Communist? Or indeed a Marxist..

  • isthisreallife2

    “The reason he’s so tongue-tied and cautious when being interviewed is not because he’s trying to conceal his left-wing convictions. He’s trying to conceal the fact that he doesn’t have any convictions. When asked what he thinks about an issue he can’t refer back to his core beliefs like a normal person because deep down in his core there’s nothing there. He’s an empty vessel.”

    Wrong. The reason he is cautious is because every word he utters will be scrutinised and twisted by the mainstream right-wing media(basically crazed loons like you) and used against him. It is sad to see the skills of a talented writer like yourself so miserably wasted on personal vindictive vacuous articles like this. This is the politics of hate at its worse. It reminds me of the bile you often see in the US to character assassinate enemies of the neocons. The left-wingers while initially appalled now cant believe their luck when the Mail compounded their original error by refusing to apologise. Even uneducated working class Joes will smell a rat and now take any future attacks on the left with a pinch of salt. What a spectacular own goal!

    • Colonel Mustard

      “The reason he is cautious is because every word he utters will be scrutinised and twisted by the mainstream right-wing media(basically crazed loons like you) and used against him.”

      And this doesn’t happen with right wing politicians?

  • Smithersjones2013

    Miliband’s fight with the Mail is cold political calculation

    Is this the most obvious observation of the year so far?. Typically sanctimonious hypocrisy from the Labour party of Brown, McBride, Whelan, Campbell, Draper, Simon, Watson. Maguire etc etc. Go figure.

    The Mail is an ass (what relevence are the 70 year old teenage musings of a 20 year dead politicians parent ~ Marxist or not?) but it doesn’t diminish Miliband’s cynical posturing over this. Although that said the Mail has given him an open goal. What is it with the London Tory elite these days? All of them politicians and journalists alike seem utterly clueless when it comes to playing politics…….

  • Now that Dacre’s rancid backside has been exposed to the world, at least someone had the courtesy to give it a kiss…

  • ToughShit

    No harm in telling the truth about Socialists and Marxists.

    • Pilate2011

      Ya! I know you will agree that they got it right on the good old Blackshirts as well.

  • NoImSpartacus

    Stop apologising for this vile paper. It has truly sunk to a new low of bad taste.

    • Eddie

      I see more vileness in the way The Guardian attacks people, and defends and appeases Islamic extremists constantly, and attacks Jews and Israel constantly.
      I never read The Daily Mail because it’s a women’s paper – but I have to accept that if women want to read things of vileness and bad taste, why should I stop them?
      Anyone who attacks as a knee-jerk response a national newspaper which is most certainly the most professionally produced, especially online, and which sells about a million a day I think, is 1) an ignoramus about both politics and media; 2) an ovine follower of leftie smock-wearing pitchfork waving ranting mobbers; 3) guilty of misogyny and indirect discrimination on grounds of gender.
      The person who got treated way worse than cry baby Milliband is Nigel Farage who gets mobbed and accuses of being a Nazi wherever he goes – by whom? Oh yes, The Guardian et al, and the biased BBC and Channel 4 news.

  • Ripple

    ‘He can’t be himself because he doesn’t have a self to be, at least not in the normal sense of the word’

    –As damning as anything that could be said about him. Almost. (Hard-cooked Communist is worse, though true.)

    ‘Rather, I don’t think that distinction — authentic/inauthentic — has any purchase in Ed’s case. Nothing he says or does is spontaneous or natural. It’s all calculated’.

    –Sounds remarkably like the Clintons — him and her.

  • bengeo

    Toby, these are your beliefs. What use are they to the rest of us? No facts, no arguments, just one man’s blind prejudice.

    Or is this knee-jerk siding with the press, a desperate attempt by your masters to ward off regulation?

  • alabenn

    It debatable whether Miliband is upset because of the attack on his father or the thought that it might reflect on him.
    Almost every utterance he makes has a slant on some part of Labours current newest attack line, “living standards” all the rest of his team mention that in every attack on the newspaper.
    He and his fellow sewer rats have found a pile of excrement and are rolling about in it happily.

  • anyfool

    The difference between Blair and this man are, Blair was a believable liar without any moral fibre in his body, Miliband is just the same but is not believable.

  • fvhrghtrtytyfttt

    Funny how Miliband stood with of the left morons celebrating when Thatcher died, he doesn’t like it when it is on the other foot and it is all true his father was a communist nut

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    • Pilate2011

      See the Mail has the backing of the reasoned rational middle ground then?

  • Chris Kimberley

    McCarthyism is alive and well in the right wing press it seems

    • Eddie

      In fact, McCarthyism these days is the way the socalled ‘liberal’ elite mobs and ostracises and attacks anyone who dares to challenge their smug, sanctimonious, pompous opinions.
      For example, anyone who criticises mass immigration, tolerance of Islamofascism, a broken school system, ‘political correctness’ whish stifles free speech – is usually jeered by the Owen Drones of this world and accused of having a third nipple like Hitler, and of being a Daily Mail Reader (the usual insult thrown by leftinistas, which is about a limp as it gets).
      The true mob who go witch hunting are not on the right, but the left – and most of all they are members of that smug, self-righteous, gurning gang who assume they are the bien-pensant reasonable people of the world always occupying the moral high ground, so anyone who disagrees with them must naturally be a Nazi and needs to be clubbed to death.

  • Jonathan Lalljee

    This piece is nonsense – a mélange of inaccuracy, contradiction and spite. You had me up to and including ‘But my sympathy for Ed vanished when he decided to pick a fight with the Mail over it.’ After that you must have had seven or eight G&Ts. Where did your bedrock of beliefs come from, Toby? Your dad, or off the shelf? Or are you of a superior race that can dispense with your parents and the milieu in which you grew up to help develop your ‘navigation system’. I’m no fan of Ed Miliband and I agree he should have ignored the Mail, but I can relate to his filial pride and I don’t like it being used as an excuse to decimate his character.

    • Ripple

      ‘Decimate’ his character? What, you mean someone took a tenth?

      • Jonathan Lalljee

        Hey – if anyone’s going to be pedantic here, it’s me! You’re certainly nine-tenths right with the rest of your point but Toby’s attack is on a different, more mean-spirited level than the standard scrutiny. Miliband should have risen above the Mail’s article but I’m sure his upset was not simply a cold-hearted calculation. We’re talking about his dad here – most of us would be upset if our deceased father was written about in such a way; I certainly would. Toby did not tell Speccie readers anything they ‘had to know’. It was simply his rather nasty opinion – not intrusive, vindictive.

        • Ripple

          Upset in private, perhaps. But only because we wish our dad had been a better person. You don’t take it out on other people. The truth IS what it is.

          Miliband wants us to see him (and his father) in a certain light. Well, we shall see them as we see them, based on the facts we can know about. Beyond that, it is not actually his business. I do not want to have a picture of Miliband Senior on my mantelpiece and refer to Ed as ‘Dear Leader’. I reserve the right to be critical of each.

          • Eddie

            Yep, and Millie is using this article about his dad as a really desperate attempt to gain public sympathy and especially the women’s vote.
            However, it seems like a misfire to me.
            After all, no-one likes a whinger, a wimp and a cry baby – especially women (no matter what they say about equality, feminism, liking men to express emotion etc).

      • Fergus Pickering

        But Ed Miliband never stops banging on about his wonderful father and what an inspiration he has been.

        • Ripple

          Well, there you go….

    • Eddie

      ‘a mélange of inaccuracy, contradiction and spite’

      A better definition of leftwing politics I have never heard!

  • sunnydayrider

    Of course Ralph Milli. hated Britain. Why else would he have inflicted us with his dopey sons.

  • tolpuddle1

    Toby – you seem so twerpish, because basically you are a twerp.

    It wasn’t Ed who calculated; it was the Mail who (mis)calculated – Ed didn’t choose or start the battle – get truth the right way up, Toby (very difficult for a right-wing commentator, I know).

    Saying that Ed Milliband is both an ideologue (unlike a right-wing crazy like you, Toby!) and simultaneously “without convictions” is a vain attempt at squaring the circle. Toby is re-defining language; does he himself have a “bedrock of beliefs” (cue background Elgarian music) as opposed to the usual bog-standard rightist bigotry? Er, no.

    Did Tony Blair have any beliefs ? No – but he was a “blended” personality (ideal for use in all coffee machines). As Ed M isn’t, hopefully he won’t be trying to (or succeeding at!) starting catastrophic wars everywhere. As for Ed being “coldly calculating”, either Tony or Toby could beat him hands down in that department, in their sleep.

    Ed’s fault is that he isn’t fluent – he’s rather gauche and awkward, not a fluent, hollow man like Tony and Toby (“the flowerpot men”).

    As for saying Ed Milliband “doesn’t smell right”, methinks it’s you who need to take a bath, Toby.

    • Eddie

      ‘the usual bog-standard rightist bigotry?’
      Which differs from your leftist bigotry how, exactly?

      • Ripple

        Perhaps in that the so-called rightist so-called bigotry is interested in facts?

    • Colonel Mustard

      “(cue background Elgarian music) as opposed to the usual bog-standard rightist bigotry?”

      You do realise how that reads in terms of bigotry, Mr Pot? Tee-hee.

      Always try to remember that the imperative for a credible attack on bigotry should not be bigoted.

      • tolpuddle1

        Toby Young’s article was ill-considered, not to say absurd. To attack it was thus the right and duty of every UK citizen!

        But in any case, even if I were a cardboard cut-out, standard-issue Leftie (I’m not), it wouldn’t alter the truth of my remarks about Toby Y; in particular his denunciation of Ed Milliband as an ideologue, when his whole article (and most of what he writes) shrieks of ideology.

        Both of us are guilty of blogging too much, and too controversially. Journals like the Spectator (and its leftist Siamese twin, the New Statesman) make their money by encouraging people to think on trench warfare lines. All such publications need to encourage a bit of consensual thinking – and do a lot of original thinking themselves !

        As I am (in my better moments) supposed to be a Christian, I apologise for any pain caused and will say a prayer for you (and another for myself !). In all earnest, I think we’re heading into a world crisis where, as in the Churchill days, goodwill and co-operation will have to be the order of the day – and I think we’ll all (both as individuals and as a society) need all the help we can get from the Almighty.

        • Kennybhoy


  • Abigail_Hulton

    This has to be to best summation of Miliband that I have read. It actually puts into words, how I feel about this man. Until now I could not put it into words, you Sir, have. I shall bookmark this, and go back to it everytime, I see this man speak. To me, there is more to him, something is just not quite right.

  • What a complete and utter load of shite Toby…I was thinking about spending time constructing an intelligent and well structured response then realised I should apply the same amount of effort that you did to writing this article. Hence my first reaction was indeed the correct one. You are obviously an utter tosser….fortunately I only stumbled on this article and you (who I’ve fortunately never heard of before and hopefully never will again…bye)