Miliband's Lazarus moment: suddenly, everyone loves Ed
A 'brave and adroit' leader who 'turned the course of history' by standing firm against attack on Syria
BOTH the New Statesman and The Spectator have depicted Ed Miliband as the hapless cartoon character Wallace (it's the tombstone teeth) on their front covers today, unaware that the Labour leader is undergoing a miraculous rehabilitation with their own commentators.
The historian Anthony Barnett, writing in the Statesman, says Ed Miliband "is an exceptionally effective opposition leader, brave and an adroit party manager".
Barnett is being consistent. In September 2010, also in the Statesman, he stood against the tide rolling against Ed Miliband and said his brother David was not the man to lead Labour because he had gone along with the deceptions over the war on Iraq.
But an even more surprising endorsement comes from Peter Oborne, a regular Spectator contributor, though on this occasion using the Daily Telegraph to make his point.
Oborne endorses Barnett's verdict, but goes further. He believes Ed Miliband has achieved more than Margaret Thatcher ever did as leader of the Opposition - because he changed the course of history by opposing David Cameron's plans to attack Syria.
In a piece that will have Miliband's inner circle jumping for joy, Oborne writes: "Whatever the fate of Mr Miliband from now on, even suppose he falls under a bus tomorrow, he has made the history books."
"Remember this: had Mr Cameron got his way, Tomahawk missiles were due to hit Damascus within 48 hours of that Commons vote. Ed Miliband's level-headed demand for evidence, and respect for due process in the shape of the United Nations, bought the world time to think again."
This amounts to the Lazarus-like recovery that the Mole said on 12 September was needed to lift Miliband from his sick-bed. The cause of Miliband's malaise was the opinion polls showing that he was a drag on his party, which has been consistently polling ahead of its leader.
The most damning evidence was a Times/YouGov poll that put Labour six points ahead of the Tories but gave Cameron a 17-point advantage over Miliband when voters were asked who would make the best Prime Minister.
Not surprisingly, the polls dominated the headlines, producing more 'Ed can't hack it' coverage. Rafael Behr, political editor of the New Statesman, predicts that at next week's Labour conference in Brighton there will be howls of criticism at the press for a "hate campaign more aggressive than those that tormented Neil Kinnock and Michael Foot." Miliband's allies, Behr says, “are exasperated at the caustic coverage".
But as The Week's poll-watcher Don Brind wrote on 16 September, a poll of Conservative marginals suggests that Ed can ignore the headline writers because he's heading for Number Ten in 2015 with an overall majority of 66 seats.
Two fingers to the headline writers - and two fingers, too, to Nick Clegg and his Lib Dem conference speech demand that voters deliver a hung Parliament and another coalition.
Ed Miliband can also rest assured that his brother is no longer a threat. David, who recently took up his new position as head of the International Rescue Committee in New York, tweeted his followers overnight with a picture of the sun striking the top of the Chrysler Building in Manhattan.
Great light on the Chrysler Building tonight pic.twitter.com/5OOODqh3r8
— David Miliband (@DMiliband) September 18, 2013
To the dismay of some of David's ever-loyal followers, it is seen as proof that Miliband D has his head in the clouds - while Miliband E is ready to bounce back in Brighton. ·