Ed Milipede’s latest attempt to suck up to editors of the right wing press is yet another example of how the New Labour strategists continue to pitch their ideological tent in the shifting sands of the so-called middle ground. Never mind the Murdoch/News International scandal and the utter contempt felt by millions for the gutter press, ‘Red’ Ed is still terrified of being portrayed as an old skool, lefty rabble rouser and so his speeches now centre around what he considers vote winning core policies such as ‘English’ identity.
Here’s the first part of Ed Miliband’s speech on “Defending the Union in England” and my own notes in italics….
It is wonderful to be here in the Royal Festival Hall. Built for the Festival of Britain in 1951, just a year before Her Majesty the Queen ascended to the throne.
Ascended to the throne? Like Jesus ascended to heaven? I’ve heard of suceeding to the throne but not ascending unless the Queen really was chosen by God personally and is indeed not of mortal woman born.
1951 and the Festival of Britain and the Coronation in 1953 were landmark events for our country. They helped to shape its modern identity. 2012 is a year when once again that identity is in the spotlight. This week we commemorated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It was a fantastic celebration.
So the coronation helped shape ‘modern Britain’ did it? In what way did this feudal ritual map out Britain’s modernity? Well, he had to get his ‘I love the Queen’ credentials in I suppose, don’t let the Mail get him on that one. And less of the ‘our’ and ‘we’ lad.
I thought it spoke to so many qualities of our country: Our sense of community. Our gentle sense of patriotism. Our stoicism and sense of humour in the face of terrible weather. And the Union flag flying everywhere.
As James Naughties in an unusually prickly interview for such an establishment toady asked him on Radio4, why are these so-called ‘qualities’ English? Don’t other abstract nations have these abstract qualities too and are they true any way? Ah but do they have the union flag? Not the union jack, this is aimed at those unionists who want to keep the union of England and Scotland together because well, Labour relies on those Scottish MPs to get elected.
In two days time things will be a bit different. The European Football Championship will start. England is there. But not Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. It won’t be about the Union flag so much any more. Here in England, the cross of St George will go up. It will fly from houses, cars, shops and pubs. Then, before we know it, the Olympics and Paralympics will be upon us. And we will be back to Team GB and the Union flag once more.
Tone it down a bit here, don’t wanna piss off the jocks, taffs and paddys, we’re all in it together, part of one big team GBPLC family after all.
This is an incredible year to live in this country. It is a once in a generation summer. But these multiple allegiances, the coming and going of flags, raise serious questions too. What does this summer say about the United Kingdom? What does it say about our identity as a people in 2012?
Er, it says that people who feel so desperate to celebrate mythical tribal identities are shallow and needy.
The irony is that in one part of the United Kingdom, Scotland, the debate about who we are is in full force. To stay in the United Kingdom or to leave? To be Scottish or British or both? But this debate about nationhood and identity should not simply be confined to one part of our country. Those of us who believe in the United Kingdom must make the case throughout our country. That’s why today, as we stand between the Jubilee, the European Championships and the Olympics, I want to reflect on who we are as a country, and where we should be trying to go.
This is typical reclaim the union jack bullshit – what about those of us who don’t recognise the artificial nation state as a form of phoney identity, who view economic ‘class’ as more unifying than bogus borders and invented ‘cultures.’ Where am I going Ed?
My case is this: First, we are stronger together as a United Kingdom and that essential strength comes from our ability to embrace multiple identities. The nationalist case, wherever we find it, is based on the fallacy that one identity necessarily erodes another. I believe we can all be proud of our country, the United Kingdom. And of the nations that comprise it.
Multiple identities? How come the muslims are always being told they must accept being British first and muslim second? How come those from other countries and former colonies are browbeaten into accepting a severe and selective form of Britishness that they must sign up to and why should this apply to ANYONE? Why should I be ‘proud of my country?’ it’s like being proud of being left handed, I had fuck all to do with it.
Second, that means England too. And those on the left have not been clear enough about this in the recent past. We must be in the future. We should embrace a positive, outward looking version of English identity. Finally, we should also proudly talk the language of patriotism. It is part of celebrating what binds us together and what we project outwards to the world.
Here’s his ‘Paul Dacre please don’t hurt me!’ pitch *(the Mail ofcourse dismissed it as mere vote grabbing – see below). The left need to re-define themselves as patriots, English patriots, fly the cross of St George, support the monarchy, the armed forces and the political and economic power base because that wins votes in marginal seats.
Let me start with my own story. All my life I have had cause to be grateful to our country. Neither my Mum nor my Dad came from Britain. As I have said on other occasions, they arrived here as refugees from the Nazis. My Dad was 16 when he caught one of the last boats from Ostend to Britain. He was a Jew.
Play the holocaust card. Very grateful to the Brits, y’know the ones who pretended not to know what was going on in the death camps and sent boats back for jews to die rather than allow them into our Christian protestant country.
German soldiers were moving through Belgium. His very life under threat. Britain took him in. He joined the Royal Navy, trained for part of the time in Scotland, and then settled in London. My mother arrived in Britain having spent the war in hiding under a false name, sheltered by heroic people. Her father was murdered because he was Jewish. Britain took her in too. It offered them both not only refuge but a new home. And it gave them a place to raise a family. That was a wonderful gift. But Britain offered my mum and dad more than that. Our country allowed them to stay true to who they were. They did not have to hide their past. They did not have to pretend they were someone else. Jewish but not religious.
Yes, Ed’s arl fellar, Ralph was a well-known Commie writer who would no doubt shudder at the way in which his two sons have ditched any pretence of socialism (never mind communism) to live in this new left Utopia. What was so special or unique about this ‘British’ tolerance as if not gassing his parents and allowing them to declare their jewishness is somehow noble and virtuous? There’s a chasm between outright genocide and the ‘gentle patriotism’ so beloved of Miliband Jnr. They were ‘allowed’ to stay true to who they were. Big deal. What’s so ‘British’ about that? It’s a pity Miliband’s mates with their union jacks don’t want to allow others to be who they are.
I am a Londoner by birth. I lived in Leeds during formative years growing up. And became a long-suffering Leeds United fan. I spent time in America and taught at Harvard for a while. Added the Boston Red Sox to my sports teams.
Hey, he’s a man of the people Ed, he likes soccer ball and baseball and taught at Harvard for a while. Harvard, that well known centre for meritocratic excellence. Good on yer, Ed, youz got some credentials lad.
I got elected as MP for Doncaster North. Fell in love with Justine, not Jewish, from Nottingham and we had our two boys. So you could say my family have not sat under the same oak tree for the last 500 years. This is who I am. The son of a Jewish refugee and Marxist academic. A Leeds supporter, from North London. A baseball fan. Somebody who looks a bit like Wallace from Wallace and Gromit.
Oh, he’s mentioned his dad and the ‘M’ word. But hey, Justine’s not Jewish so y’know he’s like totally open to gentiles yeah? And he’s an MP, just like that! No family have sat under the same oak tree for 500 years prick! We’re all monkey fucks from the jungle.
If spin doctors could design a politician, I suspect he wouldn’t look like me. But I know what I am proud of. I am proud to represent the people of Doncaster North. I am proud to lead the Labour Party. I am proud to be Jewish. I am proud to be English. And I am proud to be British too.
Look I know I get stick for my appearance but I’m the son of my father, not a GCI identikit smoothy like Blair, Cameron or Clegg, my nose is flat, my hair is shit, my voice is annoying but at least I’m not plastic like the others eh? Meet Mr. Ed, he walks like a geek, he talks like a geek, he grunts and squeeks and squarks like a geek, but he’s a human being too and he’s so very proud of his own ‘mulitple identities’ as a Leeds fan from North London, an MP, a party leader, a Jew, an Englishman and a Briton. Bravo!!!
Now there’s much more of this hysterical and selective revisionism in Milibean’s speech and if you really want to, it’s worth reading just to see how Ed’s spin doctors are going to fight the next election, not by offering even a New Labour consensus vision of ‘Modern Britain’ but by capitulating to the ‘we’re all in it together’ myth of collective effort and mutual rewards. Go get ’em Ed, the right wing press is gonna love this shit………………
Y’know what Ed, no matter how much you suck up to these fuckers, they will always despise you with every fibre of their hollow husks. You are their enemy no matter how you cloak yourself, so let’s get this straight, those union members and leaders who you so despise and lecture fund your party and they don’t want another 13 years of Blair/Brownism after the chaos caused by their flexible market/no restrictions on the city policies. You better start looking after the interests of the millions of core Labour voters who have derserted the party over the past three elections rather than chasing the floaters of middle England or maybe they’ll donate their millions on someone who will.