I bet Ed Milliband never thought he would be leader of the Labour Party. He still hasn't got over the shock. He only stood for the leadership to annoy his elder brother and was taken aback when the peculiar voting system chose him instead of David.
On his recent trip to France to meet Francois Hollande, Ed repeated about twenty times that he believed Britain belongs in Europe, although he himself could not make even one short speech in French. Couldn't he just read out a few paragraphs written for him by somebody else? Nope, it seems even that is beyond him. The oh-so-europhile Labour leader is as poor a linguist as Lady Ashton, our blushing head of the EU diplomatic service. Indeed he struggles to express himself even in passable English. When you work out what he is saying it's a bit short of meaning to express.
Speaking at the Elysée Palace, Milliband said, "The points of agreement we have were around the fact that the tide is turning against an austerity approach, that there needs to be a different way forward found."
In other words, he and the socialists want to spend more money, but don't really know where they will get it from.
Milliband went on, "What President Hollande is seeking to do in France and what he is seeking to do in leading the debate in Europe is find that different way forward."
That's great, so what is it?
"We are in agreement in seeking that new way that needs to be found and I think can be found."
Er...yes. I see. But you haven't found it yet, Monsieur Milliband. So socialist policy means that both Ed and Francois want to spend more money and hope that it will just magically fall from the skies. "Leading the debate in Europe" means, "we want to be naughty and defy Angela Merkel." But if the French-German alliance that is the backbone of the EU falls apart, what's left?
Just a collection of disparate countries all sinking deeper and deeper into a quagmire of debt.
The Labour leader's speech assured his French comrades, "You have a sister party that wants to work with you, work for a much fairer system of capitalism, that works for all working people, not just people at the top, and a party that is committed not just to be in Europe but to work in Europe."
Fairer system of capitalism? Committed not just to be? And what actually is the difference between Britain "being in Europe" and "working in Europe"? Top marks for empty blather!
I wonder if Ed has ever read the details of the European Stability Mechanism. He probably thinks it's something you put on the back wheels of your bike to stop it from falling over sideways.
Milliband's policy on the EU is "We're totally committed to staying on this sinking ship because we think we can find a way to stop it sinking, because we hope and need to find a way to stop it from sinking, so that's the same thing. As soon as we find a way we will tell you. But just stay on the ship till we do. OK?"
Lenten Meditations: Saturday 25 March
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