Miliband Leads the Way in Phone Hacking Debate

Posted on July 18, 2011

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words by Robert Pollard

Ed Miliband’s decision to wage war on Rupert Murdoch and his News International colleagues could prove to be, not only the boldest, but the shrewdest political move of his career to date. Ever since news of the scandal broke, Miliband as been ahead of the game, time and again outmaneuvering his fiercest political opponents by continually making demands that have resonated strongly with the British public. By calling for a judge-led inquiry into media practice in Britain, arguing forcefully for the resignation of Rebekah Brooks, berating David Cameron for employing Andy Coulson and questioning the motives behind Rupert Murdoch’s BSKYB takeover; Miliband has proven he has the  kind of foresight and tenaciousness needed to take the fight to the coalition and re-establish Labour as a political force.

It is fair to say that, prior to this week, Ed Miliband had struggled to make any kind of impact on the British electorate. Most voters would have struggled to define what he stands for after a lackluster opening to his tenure which has seen him fail to capitalise on the coalition’s deeply unpopular austerity measures. As recently as last week, Miliband was lambasted for his tepid stance on the public sector strikes, culminating in a dreadful interview for the BBC where he continually trotted out the phrase ‘I think these strikes are wrong while talks are still ongoing’ in android-like fashion. However, this week he began what could turn out to be a serious revival, after positioning the Labour Party as the only credible, progressive political voice in the phone hacking debate.

The severity of the actions carried out by members of the News International team has shocked the nation. Seldom have such a heinous set of crimes been uncovered, with the phones of Milly Dowler, the schoolgirl cruelly murdered in 2002, and victims of the 7/7 bombings all being targeted by journalists working for the News of the World. The allegations depict crimes beyond comprehension for most people in the country and Miliband has aligned himself with the majority by forcefully condemning the behaviour of the organisation and challenging the Prime Minister David Cameron to set up an independent inquiry into the scandal. The way Miliband has reacted has been commendable,  leading his party with a sound mix of common sense, decency and strong leadership. Indeed, affirmation of his ability to lead may prove to be decisive. With the faith of his Labour colleagues clearly dwindling in recent months this latest twist has convinced many in the Labour Party that they do have the right leader, and this new unity is just what the Party needed. It will be interesting to see whether Miliband uses this as a platform to grow and become a genuine political force.

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Posted in: Politics