Miliband compares himself to Thatcher

19th November, 2012 8:39 am

Ed Miliband tells Steve Richards:

“She was a conviction politician and I think conviction really matters. I think that in the 1970s, it was a similar moment, and that is the biggest parallel. It was a similar moment in the sense that a sense of the old order was crumbling and it wasn’t 100 per cent clear what was going to replace it. And the challenge of the future, of the next few years and indeed of the election, is who can rise to the scale of challenge that the country faces and who can create a project for how this country’s going to be run that is genuinely going to make our economy work, not just for a few people but much more widely.”

I’m sure Ed doesn’t need to be reminded that being a conviction politician means the public need to know what your convictions are…

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  • coalitionkid

    there are plenty of labourites with convictions and no policies- just ask Eric Joyce, Jim Devine and Eric Illsley!

    • And the great ‘Lord Mike Watson’ of course. Anyone got a light 😉

    • Brumanuensis

      Now now David, just because you’re back in Cabinet, doesn’t mean you get to pretend you weren’t a crook.

  • AlanGiles

    Every PM manque’ wants to be Mrs. Thatcher…. and once they are PM they want to be Churchill. It was ever thus and so very typical of a New/Blue/Purple/whatever-colour-you fancy politician.

  • AlanGiles

    Every PM manque’ wants to be Mrs. Thatcher…. and once they are PM they want to be Churchill. It was ever thus and so very typical of a New/Blue/Purple/whatever-colour-you fancy politician.

  • Serbitar

    Margaret Thatcher was incontestably a conviction politician as were Adolph Hitler was and possibly Joseph Stalin too. Being convinced that you’re right when you’re completely and utterly wrong, stupid, or incompetant spells c-a-t-a-s-t-r-o-p-h-e in every language.

    Just saying.

    • s_o_b

      Lady Thatcher won 3 general elections, unlike Messrs Stalin and Hitler, so I guess you reckon that the British electorate were utterly wrong, stupid or incompetent.

      Just saying.

    • aracataca

      Au contraire – Ed is looking increasingly statesman-like. Cameron, on the other hand, is looking more and more like the Pilsbury Dough Boy gone to seed.

      • Serbitar

        You’re right about Cameron. Thank you, Mr Grimsdale.

        (I bet Ed Miliband is popular in Albania.)

  • Jeremy Poynton

    Miliband E? A conviction and policy free zone. Move along, nothing to see here.

  • JoeDM

    Didn’t Phoney Tony say something very similar back around 1997? He even rang the great woman for advice after he was PM !!!

    • aracataca

      Alastair Campbell noted in his diary that even he felt uneasy about Blair’s admiration of Thatcher. To be fair, Blair did make it clear he didn’t subscribe to her policies, he merely thought that – looking at her objectively – she was a remarkable person. Campbell drily noted that some Labour activists were also visiting Number 10 the day Blair and Thatcher met. When Thatcher emerged from the room where she and Blair had just enjoyed their cosy chat with tea and biccies, the look of horrified disbelief on the faces of the activists was not an edifying sight.

  • Daniel Speight

    Whose bright idea was this? Back to the future or déjà vu all over again?

  • NT86

    You mean like how Cameron wants to Blair?

  • xraypat

    Bloody Thatcher….the last person I would want Ed to be like! She was a hard faced obnoxious politician…and noxious in all senses.Surely Ed could compare himself to Bevan or another caring politician!

  • Redshift1

    FFS – I’ll leave it at that.

  • Redshift1

    FFS – I’ll leave it at that.

  • Redshift1

    FFS – I’ll leave it at that.

  • aracataca

    I understand why Ed’s saying this – he knows he needs to broaden his appeal to people who voted for Thatcher in the 80s, and possibly switched to Blair in ’97 (and drifted away again). Having said that, Thatcher is still a hate figure for many, especially in the urban areas north of Watford who still remember what a wrecker and divisive figure she was.

    People like Nadine Dorries go on about how Thatcher helped people buy their council homes, but they’re hard pressed to say much more about what Thatcher did for working class people (and the fact that she failed to replace council housing is skirted over).

    Generally speaking, it’s been when Labour have tried to do ‘Tory-lite’ that they’ve come unstuck, and ironically it’s those failures that its enemies pick on. Examples are not scrapping Major’s PFI schemes, not re-nationalising the railways (to be fair Major’s Tories made sure that that would be prohibitively difficult and expensive in order to prevent this), not regulating the banks enough (though Cameron and Osbo wanted MORE deregulation). New Labour were determined to put clear water between themselves and Old Labour of the 1970s, because in the run up to the ’97 election the Tories and their friends in the press were still ranting on about the Winter of Discontent and Denis Healey’s loan from the IMF.

    In being so cautious, New Labour did gain some hard won credibility, but also provided many pit-falls.

    Ed must realise that however hard he tries, the Tory press and most die-hard Tories will never learn to love him and Labour.

    • Serbitar

      Thatcher and Major built more council housing every year than Tony Blair and Gordon Brown did in any year despite promising to do so. When Labour lost power in 2010 there were many fewer council houses than there where thirteen years before when Labour were first elected; a pretty surprising record for a Party that promised to release capital receipts from council house sales and allow councils to build many more replacement council houses in their districts. The Conservatives sold off council housing cheap and built very little new stock to replace it while Labour sold less of the council stock that remained and built next to no new council housing AT ALL despite the desperate need and swearing to do so with their hands on their hearts. Everybody lied and betrayed their word to the electorate. Politicians, eh? And now Ed is comparing himself to Thatcher too adding insult to injury. Blimey. Talk about rubbing salt into the wounds!

      But you know all this already because I’ve told you all this before!

  • Brumanuensis

    I think most commentators have completely missed the point of Ed’s remarks. He isn’t expressing admiration for Thatcherism; he’s expressing admiration for Thatcher’s sheer grumption as a politician. And let’s face it, they didn’t call her the Iron Lady for nothing.

    Ed, as most writers on politics have observed, clearly believe that the Coalition is the modern-day analogue of the Callaghan government. In this vision, Ed intends to carry out a political realignment every bit as fundamental as Thatcher’s. I don’t regard that as an unattractive prospect.

    • Daniel Speight

      It seems rather silly on Miliband’s part as he must know how strong the feelings about her are amongst some of us. It’s just so unnecessary.

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        Perhaps he is “reaching out” beyond the Labour core vote, and not reaching inwards? If a Labour leader followed the Labour core vote in statements and policies, he or she would never get elected because as we all know, socialism is both a nonsense idea in the real world and also unelectable.

        So the Leader has to do enough to get elected, and just enough to stop the activists from vomiting or witholding the subscriptions.

  • he doesn’t appear to be saying that he is anything like thatcher – just that some of the conditions are the same which they are. Recession, perceived failure of previous solutions, and the role Thatcher played in appearing to provide something different which she strongly believed in

  • jack johnson

    Why cannot Labour leaders compare themselves to Clem Attlee or Nye Bevan?They may then gain some respect, or even learn from history?

  • There is nothing worse than a ‘conviction politician’ – aka Blair over WMD. He convinced himself they existed when it was obvious they did not. I regret to say he convinced me as well. As The Who song goes – ‘We don’t get fooled again’. Please Ed, be a clear sighted politician that understands the problems, listens to the arguments, weighs the evidence based on principles of social equality, justice and freedom, and then you will be fine. Admitting mistakes is a strength, not a weakness. Accepting that sometimes our ‘convictions’ were wrong is perfectly ok. What people want are honest politicians who they can trust.

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  • Serbitar

    I reckon your head must be full of sawdust if you think I was comparing Thatcher with Hitler or Stalin: my point was that conviction on its own can be good or bad depending on the character of the leader. Conviction as a thing in itself can be malignant or benign. (Incidentally Tony Blair also won three elections with bigger majorities than Thatcher thanks to the British electorate.) Obviously I can’t speak about the British electorate in general but based on your asinine comment can state definitively that you yourself ARE definitely utterly wrong, stupid AND incompetent.

    Just said.

  • Serbitar

    With the greatest respect Ed Miliband is no Clem Attlee and most certainly no Nye Bevan.

    • jack johnson

      I agree but my point was why always bloody evil Thatcher?

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  • Serbitar

    Better to rule in hell than serve in heaven?

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