Close your eyes and it could be Mayor Quimby off The Simpsons giving a lecture.
But the problem with Ed isn’t the nasally whine.
The problem with Ed Miliband isn’t the thread of the pot continually chasing after the kettle and calling it black – like when he has a pop at Dave for “severed allegiances”. It isn’t the fact that Labour has made exactly the same housebuilding promises before and failed to deliver. It isn’t even the fact that with his ‘Together we can’ spiel he seemed to be lazily lumping Obama’s ‘Yes we can’ with the Tories’ “We’re all in this together’.
It’s more the patronising delivery; the lumpen, crudely puppeteered case studies of people he’s met; the whininess of it all.
Yes, he stood up to the Daily Mail and full credit for that. Everyone stood up when he said it, natch. But what use has “standing up to the energy companies” been to anyone? My bills aren’t any lower. The service from the likes of nPower isn’t any better. And therein lies the rub: the substance behind some laudable, if old, policy ideas is unsubstantiated and insubstantial.
How, for example, is everyone across the country to be brought into governing the country? Yes, Labour introduced the RDAs and brought in all manner of regional tiers of government. But in a cost conscious world are we really to go back to Big Government? Who knows.
There was no mention of crowdfunding. No real skin on the bones of how the sharing economy could really enhance government nor any glint of real desire to reform the NHS – which now seems to be coffee table for all other policies.
Worryingly, Labour seems to be placing a disproportionately large base of confidence on the Mansion Tax. Already, Grant Shapps has brought out an online petition claiming Labour wants to “tax your family home”. While Ed says the money would go to the NHS, this is nothing but a cynical way of neutralizing opposition to the idea which would penalize many older people whose house have simply grown in value.
Again, if he was serious about equalizing things he would properly sort out council tax by initialising a national revaluation to ensure those in wealthier areas – like Westminster, for example – don’t continually pay less than those in smaller homes in poorer areas.
Sky’s Faisal Islam was spot on when he said this was a speech aimed at the core Labour faithful. But, like The Simpson’s mayor, those seeking substance here might be feeling rather yellow.