Tuesday, 28 September 2010
It was not a night of high excitement discovering that Ed had pipped David. 'Very capable politician' is not a term that sets my pulses racing. The union vote swung it for Ed but if Ed does anything of a pale red nature, or even mild-pink for that matter, I will be astonished.
The fact is Ed needn't propose anything for now and he won't. He can do the 'Tory cuts!' chorus in the happy knowledge that he would have cut a little later and maybe a little less but would still have cut. There is not a vast moral chasm between cutting now as opposed to a year later. He knows this is a long rough cruise in which it might be better to be passenger than crew, to be steered rather than to steer. Perhaps Ed could learn to play the violin on the voyage. The cuts will bite, some unions might go on strike for a while, and the boat might rock a little more but at least we'll have some music.
One thing certain. The ugly things will get uglier still. The big bonuses, the repulsively rich bankers who are all-so-necessary to us and who we must, at all costs (hah!) prevent from going abroad in case we lose the benefits of their considerable talents, will continue being rich bankers and directors with bonuses worth millions. The contrast between their life styles (imagine dozens of episodes of Grand Designs one after the other, ever more magnificent, ever more meaningless) and the suffering to come for those who are not only poor but are simply not rich, for those honest median citizens who tried to save money and who have, as they say, been utterly screwed over, will grow ever more stark. It will make a pretty cabinet of horrors.
I don't think Ed Miliband is in any position to change that, nor is he, I suspect, of the disposition. I suspect the contrast between one Miliband and the other has been a little over-dramatised and over-scripted. So now we know that Ed was against the Iraq War? Glory be! He has been washed in the Blood of the Lamb. Interviews with Party members who had heard his speech to the conference revealed a strangely febrile atmosphere of giddy excitement.
It's very peculiar all this. I have never felt such indifference to the winner of the race to be leader of the Labour Party. The ship limps on. Capitalism has hit an iceberg. It's not yet clear how big the iceberg or how big the hole in the ship. It is even less clear what might happen should the ship slowly start to sink.