Ed Miliband has a problem. It’s the same one as Gordon Brown. It’s a lack of faith in their own unpopular views. At least Michael Foot had the decency to stand and fall by his daft agenda.
Think back to 2010 and Rochdale, when Mr Brown retired to the back of his car and called Gillian Duffy a bigot.
Had he torn off the lapel mike, jumped back out the car, and given the poor pensioner a mouthful of acerbic rebuttal (the kind he saved for his advisers), then he would have been a man of principle – at least to some on the Left.
I write, not out of some grandiose notion of moral superiority, but as a social commentator whose skin is so blemished by self-pinching, that I need a break, to let the blood recirculate.
London public relations guru Leo Burnett writes: “Regardless of the moral issue dishonesty in advertising has proved very unprofitable.” In other words, a whopper sinks you.
Now, I thought David Cameron was having a tough time on Europe.
But at least he actually believes in the madness of his position; namely, 27 other states will tear up the founding principles of the EU around free movement in order to accommodate him, personally.
Swivel eyed, blue-tied-loon he may be, but at least he believes in the power of his personality and of his word.
But Labour is even more all over the place on the EU.
They copy UKIP’s wording and call for “controlled immigration” on their website. Shadow ministers say, in public, that they got things “wrong” over the years by allowing open-door immigration.
But they are campaigning within their own Lobby and Constituency groups for the EU’s official six candidate countries (including Turkey and Albania) to be invited into the Union.
The hypocrisy, or ineptitude (whichever suits), is beyond any form of publishable, linguistic scale.
The Labour Friends of Turkey group tweeted (20th October 2014): “Congrats to new Shadow Europe Minister… national exec look forward to working with you to make the pro-EU case!”
Indeed, Ed Miliband personally told the Centre for Turkey Studies in July 2012 that: “I am proud that Labour in Government was a strong supporter of Turkish accession to membership of the EU and we remain so today, a dedicated friend and trusted partner.”
And under the violent strapline of ‘fighting your corner at City Hall’, (I thought the Assembly was more a horseshoe-shape) Labour London assembly member for North East London, Jennette Arnold, tells the world via her website: “I back the Labour Friends of Turkey’s call for the accession of Turkey to the EU to be agreed as soon as possible.” (My ital.)
Curiously, Arnold then goes on to slam Boris Johnson in a press release saying that “Homelessness is a national scandal and the Mayor is doing nothing about it.”
I wonder if Ms Arnold has given any thought to the practical implications of offering free movement and residency to an entire Turkish population of 75 million?
Moreover, clearly grooving along with the esprit de corps of Turkish-British relations, might Ms Arnold also extend her ideological generosity, to offering those of us already living in Britain a democratic say on this not insignificant issue?
Perhaps we – not just Ms Arnold – might be allowed to judge the supposed “economic, social and cultural opportunities for us all” that she insists fall within our excited grasp?
Likewise, the electorate of Turkey, who have also seen the Eurozone crash and major economies pick up the tab, might want a fair ballot on this.
Notwithstanding my pedantic curmudgeon, I’m sure the benefits of unchecked travel arrangements for ISIS, and other jihadist or Organised Crime groups, can seem quite appealing if it means we Brits receive a reduced ticket into Ephesus.
Yet, maybe I am suffering from a medical term known as ‘confabulation’ – a sort of invented memory?
As I distinctly remember holidaying several times in Turkey and visiting cultural sites like Turtle Beach and Pammukale, without prior need for EU approval? I also dined with Turkish friends in London very recently, without the need for Brussels or Ms Arnold to get involved. (Perhaps I should phone 101 to report myself as a Non-Emergency, free-thinking libertarian in need of correction?)
Labour’s doubled-faced desire to expand the EU, yet somehow inexplicably deliver the “controlled immigration” advertised on their website, does not stop at the borders of Asia-Minor.
Albania joined the free movement Schengen Zone in 2010, before becoming an EU ‘Candidate Country’; its bid is backed by both the existing UK Government and now former Prime Minister Tony Blair is reportedly an adviser to their national cause.
Overall, in no official Labour communications does the Party mention that they support the existing six official EU Candidate Countries (Iceland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey and Albania – with their combined population of nearly ninety million) entering into the EU.
Yet, at various Party lobby groups and in relevant constituency associations in North London, MPs and Assembly members are queuing up to tell the diaspora from these communities that they support their country’s EU entry and freedom of residency.
Publicly they then tell the national press, their own website editor, and the remainder of voters that they support “controlled immigration”.
Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper called a few days ago for “an honest debate” on national immigration policy. The rest of the country has been having this for years; it was a shame that Labour’s London-based luvvies missed it and then called the rest of us “bigots” for holding it without them.