X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

PMQs: Ed Miliband goes mainstream

21 November 2012

4:46 PM

21 November 2012

4:46 PM

A muted PMQs today. But Cameron opened a fresh offensive which may prove to be a blunder. The leaders began by discussing the Gaza crisis in bland and soporific tones. The absence of heat and noise from the debate indicates how little it affects Britain. And how little Britain affects the debate. Cameron and Miliband were in virtual agreement throughout. And they were keen to urge everyone, other than themselves, to work harder to create peace. Cameron suggested that Obama should make the Middle-East a key objective of his second-term, just as one might make weeding the raspberries a key objective of the coming weekend.

Miliband noted that ‘confidence in the two-state solution is dwindling.’ But if you canvass politicians outside the Middle East you find there are about 200 states demanding ‘the two-state solution’. It’s just the two states involved that don’t want it.

On domestic matters, Miliband chose the health service. And he revealed the calamitous fact that the number of cataract operations has fallen. Disturbing news for the poor blinking victims, of course, but unlikely to trigger a no-confidence motion. The Labour leader was coasting today. He seemed to have left his gag-writers in the pub to enjoy an early lunch while he jousted half-heartedly with the prime minister. He was ‘out of touch’, said Miliband. He had ‘no clue about detail’. And he ‘didn’t listen.’

Not true. The prime minister listens very hard. He and his crack team of snipers have been stalking Ed Miliband obsessively from studio to studio and from podium to podium. And they’ve spotted a frailty which Cameron revealed today for the first time. Miliband, they reckon, is a glitter-ball statesman who reflects teeny rays of political energy back at any source that shines on him.

[Alt-Text]


Cameron warmed up for this attack by mocking John Prescott’s failed attempt to get himself elected as become Humberside’s top cop. Prezza had helped out by writing the best gag.

‘This is a referendum on everything the government has done,’ Prescott told his fellow northerners as he canvassed their votes. They promptly dumped him in the nearest wheelie bin. The Tories greeted Prezza’s fall with raptures. ‘More, more!’ they pleaded.

‘There’s plenty more!’ crowed Cameron. The Labour leader, he said, had made history this week: ‘He told the Labour conference he’s Disraeli. He told the press that he’s Margaret Thatcher. He told parliament he’s more Eurosceptic than Bill Cash. He told the CBI he’s more Europhile than Tony Blair. He’s impersonated more politicians than Rory Bremner. But this time the joke’s on him.’

Peals of laughter greeted this new caricature of the Labour leader. But what a turnaround. The Mili-bashers on the Tory side have always portrayed their target as a subhuman among parliamentarians. He’s a wonk. He’s a geek. He’s a Rubik’s cube-twiddling misfit. He’s an unelectable Goofy cartoon with bunged up nasal passages and a weird way of pronouncing his words so that they sound like aqualung bubbles breaking the surface.

Now he’s the opposite. He’s gone mainstream. He’s crossed over, according to Cameron. He’s all things to all focus groups. He’s become a political asset, a gorgeous blank square in the great game of electoral Scrabble. This, of course, is the very accusation leveled at Tony Blair and Bill Clinton in the days when they rode to victory in every election they contested.

Dave himself, when ‘Cameron the Chameleon’ was deemed a threat, merited the same sought-after smear. To accuse a politician of favouring whatever his audience favours is to admit that he’s got voter-appeal. And though Miliband did very little today, he took away the greatest honour the Tories have ever paid him.

If Dave has converted to the cause of Ed Miliband, he’d be wise to keep it to himself.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close