With his shift to leave the door open to an in/out referendum on Europe — but only if a transfer of new powers to Brussels were proposed — it was inevitable that Ed Miliband would be accused of a fudge by both Eurosceptics and Europhiles.
Ed follows in the footsteps of David Cameron, who also promised a referendum on the EU — but only in 2017 when he probably won’t be prime minister.
If only for amusement purposes, it’s worth revisiting the European travails of Tory MP James Wharton, who warned his party over EU headbanging, only to be forced by whips to adopt a pre-drafted referendum bill when he won the Private Member’s Bill ballot the day later:
After attempts by Eurosceptic Tory backbenchers to bring a poll forward to this year, Wharton’s bill was finally killed off by peers at the end of January.
Ed Miliband has denied that his Desert Island Discs selection was concocted by a panel of advisers, protesting “It’s absolutely my list!”:
South African national anthem (Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika)
Hubert Parry – Jerusalem
Paul Robeson – Ballad of Joe Hill
A-ha – Take On Me
Neil Diamond – Sweet Caroline
Robbie Williams – Angels
Josh Ritter – Change of Time
Edith Piaf – Je Ne Regrette Rien
If his list is spin then it is at least partially consistent spin. During the Labour’s leadership election in 2010, Labour Uncutquizzed the hopefuls on their musical selections for a desert island. From July 2010 to November 2013, half of Ed’s selection has remained consistent in respect of the song or artist.
But what was the first song chosen by his brother David, who is now running an international development charity based in New York City?
Ed had better hope his selection isn’t as prescient as his brother’s … otherwise he’ll be needing a Hebrew or Xhosa phrasebook.
Having been known to miss-fire at PMQs when Cameron was on his knees, Scrapbook was pleased to see Ed Miliband skewer the prime minister on energy prices. So eager was Cameron to bring his inquisition to a close that he even rose to his feet before Miliband has finished.
This moment pretty much summed up the entire exchange.
There’s certainly no love lost between Alan Sugar and Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre:
“The trouble with them [Daily Mail] is they’re so arrogant. They support some of their deep rooted journalists that have been with them for a long, long time. There is a special ilk of people that work at the Daily Mail, nasty, nasty people and it starts at the top with this Paul Dacre guy who has gone too far this time. I think the shareholders of the Daily Mail group have got to demand his resignation.”
Commenting on Alastair Campbell tweeting the location of Dacre’s home:
“I’m not advocating that there should be any form of violence or anything like that. My address is in the public domain, the Daily Mail have put it in the public domain many times. My business address has been in the public domain. The Daily Mail has had no qualms about putting it in their newspaper many a time. I’m not advocating that there should be any forms of illegal actions at his address but it would be quite funny if there was a demonstration outside demanding his resignation.”
Liberal Conspiracy editor Sunny Hundal may well take Sugar up on his suggestion:
RT @OwenJones84: How about 'The Britain The Daily Mail Hates' (that's most of us, then) demo outside its HQ? < let's go to his house instead
He wasn’t wrong — as numbers crunched by Scrapbook show. The 26 mentions of “Labour” top the prominence of Cameron’s parliamentary foes in any previous conference speech he has made as leader of the Conservative Party — clocking five times the number of mentions in his first such address in 2005:
Miliband’s ”better than this” refrain may have sounded like a broken record — but this ties with the number of mentions of “Labour” mentions for Cameron today.