Reasons why the Ed Miliband victory is not the disaster everyone says it is:
1) David and Ed are actually very similar in terms of policy. The media have exaggerated what differences there are to bring life into what has been a dull and protracted contest.
2) In any case, there is strong public support for redistributive and leftwing policies that the Westminister village doesn’t see.
Michael White brings a little perspective:
As I noted yesterday, [Ed] Miliband keeps protesting that ‘there’s nothing very leftwing’ about attacking investment bankers’ bonuses or the terms of the coalition’s timetable for deficit cuts – on which the coalition is likely to have to retreat, I suspect.
Opposing free schools? Many sensible people opposed them and Michael Gove’s claim that he would release huge pent-up demand has (so far) proved illusory. A graduate tax? Ditto, though I happen to think he’s got it wrong (so far).
Defence of universal benefits from bus passes to child benefit? Ditto again. A higher minimum wage and a high pay commission to address rising levels of inequality? Sounds good to me. More unequal societies tend to be unhappier ones.
Behind all this lies what Polly Toynbee rightly calls the imaginary ‘middle class’ routinely presented by the Mail, Telegraph and Express as earning much more than it does. Articles repeatedly suggest incomes and lifestyles far above what folk actually earn.
In real life, the median income is around £25,000, the median household income £36,000. In the mid-market Tory papers readers can often be forgiven for thinking it is at least double those figures.
It matters because it leads to an over-emphasis on, for instance, the 40% rate of income tax – which most people don’t pay. As Robin Cook once reminded his Today programme tormentor – John Humphreys, I suspect – that ‘more of your listeners are interested in the rate of benefits than in the top tax rate’.
Still, the Daily Mail gets to the heart of the matter: Ed Miliband is having sex with a woman to whom he is not married.