PMQs: Ed’s Weapon Backfires

Is it a crime to provoke a hate crime?

Will Ed Miliband find himself in the dock for stirring up hatred against himself?

Labour feelings about their leader have traversed a spectrum starting with loyal embarrassment, moving through incredulity, to pity, to despair and anger – until now, the more emotionally advanced are exploring the utility of hate.

It’s a bit late to do anything about it before the election, but the yodeling uselessness of the fellow is a crime against democracy.

In PMQs, two things:

Miliband knows in advance how Cameron will avoid a dicey question. If asked why wards are closing in Sidcup, Ilford and Welwyn, he will say: “Apologise for saying you want to weaponise the NHS’.”

Critics will observe that is not a complete reply to the question.

Or again: Why are there new “enhanced criteria” to stop Trusts calling “a major incident”?

To this, the PM will say, “But what about Labour’s record in Wales?”

Again, there are some information gaps in this reply.

But Miliband knows that he will respond in this way.

Prior knowledge in debate is lethal intelligence. It should lead to slaughter.

Ed went for two rebuttals in one remark. The PM had “declared war on Wales.”

Oo, that hurt. But not the enemy.

Miliband’s front bench sat like a lot of coconuts in a shy and watched him turn their once-great party into a single-issue Save the NHS pressure group.

Whatever the logic, the argument, the rhetorical ornamentation – Miliband can’t confront his opponent, can’t command the House, can’t focus public attention on Cameron’s clumsiest evasions.

Even when he knows they’re coming, even when he has months to prepare, even when he has a private office of joke writers, zinger-makers, and political fabricators.

What a colossal, poll-following failure.

But YouGov is finally getting to grips with what we’ve all known all along.

Whatever the electorate feels about the NHS, the deficit, austerity – and whatever the ostensible party lead – the electorate do not trust Ed Miliband.

Not with bacon nor with the budget.

How many MPs behind him will lose their jobs and careers on account of his cross-eyed, fan-toothed, quoit-mouthed performance at the top of the political Wallacocracy?

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