fter seeing Ed Miliband speak at a recent Labour conference, Will Matthias examines the Labour leader under the microscope and offers his own verdict.
By Will Matthias
|Ed Miliband speaking at the ICC in Birmingham on 14th March, driving home the word ‘better’ rather fittingly. (Photo: The Telegraph)
When I entered the ICC building in Birmingham the other week to hear the words of Ed Miliband, I was dubious. Like many, I have had my doubts about my party’s leader; from his inability to correctly eat a bacon sandwich to his clumsy nature, the media have slammed every aspect of this man’s personal and political life.
However, the man that I saw speak was nothing like my expectations. The poignant words of Jermaine Jackson (who coincidentally is a huge Labour campaigner and opened the conference) “You Raise Me Up” were ringing on my ears; Ed Miliband has certainly risen up in my opinion.
It’s no secret that Ed is not a popular leader. As I walked through my college in the days before the conference, the words of an A2 student caught my ears “I’d like to vote Labour, but I just can’t get behind Ed Miliband; he has to go.” Following the conference I heard something very similar, during a campaign session in the key seat of North Warwickshire. One man when I asked him if he would be voting Labour stated “I’ve always voted Labour, but I’m not sure this time because of the leader.”
I will say now what I said to him then. “I thought the same as you; I wasn’t convinced that Ed was the right man for the job. However, when I saw him speak I realised something: my views of Ed come wholly from the media and the man before me on that stage was not the same as the one portrayed in newspapers and television programmes. He is a man warped; warped by a media dominated by those who have vendettas against him.” Since the “Red Ed” articles back in 2011 pushed forward by the threatened empire of Rupert “Sinfree” Murdoch, we have seen a slanderous and shameless smear campaign against the Labour leader.
In reality, this man is determined, ideologically driven and crucially, a uniting figurehead for the Labour party. When in a room full of some 10,000 Labour supporters, one gains an insight into the general opinion of their leader. It seems that despite the negativity, the hard-core conference attendees of the party are stood firm behind Ed. You’d struggle to find a single person at that conference who was not impressed with Mr Miliband, and this praise is fitting. I have to say that as one of the more doubtful party members, I am glad that I had the opportunity to see Ed in Birmingham; my support for him and my confidence in his ability to lead has been reaffirmed.
I would urge anyone who gets a chance to go and see Ed speak, and keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming leaders’ debate. It’s harder to smear a great man when you’re stood opposite him after all! Regardless of where you place yourself on the Labour scale of ideologies; from the Bennite die-hard lefties of the Pre-Thatcher era to the centre-left collective of Blairites, anyone with a left-leaning heart can get behind Ed.
With May not long away now scrutiny of the leaders of all parties is going to be stepped up; I expect that the rampant media campaign of hatred towards Ed will continue and from a balanced point of view his presence is damaging. It is excellent that we have such an ideologically driven and dedicated man as the leader of our party, it is also hindering to have such a slandered figure as the main representative of what it stands for. Though I may have a personal feeling of positivity towards Ed and do genuinely believe (much like the Labour community) that he could be a fantastic Prime Minister, I recognise the difficulty we face.
However, if you are to take one message away from this article and aren’t much interested in my devoted ramblings, I urge you to consider the true reliability of the media and bear in mind the provenance of a source, before forming an opinion based upon it.
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