by Rob Marchant
Major political events which blow all other news out of the water, such as the death of Margaret Thatcher, tend to do two things. First, they make us take a step back and take stock, to ponder the grand historical sweep of things; and second, they give us a little time to do so, as the normal scheme of things is largely suspended.
So far, Miliband is having a “good war”: his Thatcher tribute speech was widely thought to be very good and, in any event, the fact that his opponents cut taxes for the well-off a fortnight ago is surely helping his approval ratings. His party is still solidly ahead of the government, although arguably still more down to the latter’s failure than Labour’s conspicuous success.
But politics is about people. About personalities. As we do the stocktaking, we now know much more about Miliband and his leadership style than we did back in 2010. As critical friends, do we not have the right – or rather, the obligation – to comment, if we think that there are weaknesses in the approach? We do.
Last week, various leftists were justifying their rapacious criticisms of Thatcher by the “two wrongs make a right” technique: recalling equally harsh words spoken by Tories on the death of Michael Foot, that same year as Miliband’s accession.