Red, Dead and Scarlet: right-wing press struggle to define Ed

The Red Ed myth refuses to die. In spite of Mr Miliband's direct rebuttal of it during his speech yesterday, the right-wing press are not relenting in their attempts - reported by Left Foot Forward earlier this week - to portray Labour's new leader as the puppet of the trade unions.

The Red Ed myth refuses to die. In spite of Mr Miliband’s direct rebuttal of it during his speech yesterday, the right-wing press are not relenting in their attempts – reported by Left Foot Forward earlier this week – to portray Labour’s new leader as the puppet of the trade unions.

The Sun refuses to drop the nickname, and adds a new one to the mix: “Captain Scarlet”. It stresses that Ed’s speech was endorsed by “Red Ken” Livingstone, before directly addressing the issue at hand:

“He tried to laugh off his Red Ed tag – then provided evidence of it as he trotted out pet Leftie causes. All the old chestnuts were there, from a class war on the wealthy to a Palestinian state.”

The Sun appears to be alone in detecting “a class war” in Miliband’s address. For more evidence of Ed’s Redness, the paper was forced to stoop to this bizarre attack on the ordering of the speech’s content:

“But how will putting gender equality before thanking Our Heroes bring him closer to voters?”

This is something no other analysts have picked up on. It comes across as a desperate attempt to stir up jingoistic reactionism.

At the Telegraph, Simon Heffer attempts to rewrite history with his insistence that:

“Miliband E and his supporters in the parliamentary party are aware of how exposed he is because of the mark of the unions upon him, and his lack of support in the old shadow cabinet and scarcity of support in the Commons.”

Ed Miliband won 47% of the MPs and MEPs’ votes, and gained many of David Miliband’s second preferences: support is hardly “scarce” in the Commons.

Rhetoric also gets in the way of reality with Damian Thompson’s Telegraph blog:

“It’s hard to occupy the moral high ground when you’ve been pushed across the finishing line by trade union bosses.”

Although union leaders did endorse certain candidates, the union vote was certainly not decided by those at the top, as the Independent’s Mark Steel amusingly points out.

The Daily Mail are also fond of monosyllabic rhyming slurs to accompany “Ed”, but they have moved on from “Red” to “Dead”. In an article entitled “Red Ed? More like Dead Ed,” Stephen Glover attacks the leader of the opposition for wearing a suit and a tie:

“What depressed me, though it did not particularly surprise, was the generally predictable nature of almost everything else he said. Here was an opportunity, as he laid out his beliefs, to distinguish himself from his defeated Labour rivals and other major politicians. In his statutory suit and purple tie (not ‘red’, he joked), he came across as another well-presented, Identikit leader.”

In fairness to Glover, he went on to make the more perceptive point that Miliband resembled Clegg in substance as well as style, which other commentators have identified as an attempt to woo the Lib Dem leader.

The Daily Mail continues its concern with the anodyne in a headline story about Miliband’s failure to sign his child’s birth certificate. It also claims that “His personal set-up has caused consternation since he became the first major political leader in British history not to be married to the mother of his children.” While Miliband’s marital status may make history, it’s unlikely to make many more headlines, at least outside the Mail.

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16 Responses to “Red, Dead and Scarlet: right-wing press struggle to define Ed”

  1. jt

    Red, Dead and Scarlet: right-wing press struggle to define Ed …: The Red Ed myth refuses to die. In spite of Mr … http://bit.ly/bln76I

  2. Keith Ruffles

    The partisan nature of the tabloid press is almost beyond parody. Are they seriously suggesting that if David M had won they wouldn’t have found something else to bash Labour with?

    I think not.

  3. Ian Love

    Surely this isn’t what you intended:

    Ed Miliband won 47% of the MPs and MEPs’ votes, and gained many of David Miliband’s second preferences: support is hardly “scarce” in the Commons.

    as David M’s second preferences were not utilized?

  4. Pat

    RT @leftfootfwd: New post: Red, Dead and Scarlet: right-wing press struggle to define Ed http://bit.ly/duI0jN

  5. Eddy Anderson

    I’m surprised the Sun didn’t say ‘oh, and he’s Jewish’. Genuinely surprised.

  6. torieboy

    @Eddy Anderson
    I’m surprised the Sun didn’t say ‘oh, and he’s Jewish’. Genuinely surprised.
    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    YES well you must have been genuinely surprised when labour smeared Micheal howard with a poster comparing him to Fagin.
    did you forget about that ?
    .

  7. Mr. Sensible

    The right wing press does what the right wing press does best.

    “He tried to laugh off his Red Ed tag – then provided evidence of it as he trotted out pet Leftie causes. All the old chestnuts were there, from a class war on the wealthy to a Palestinian state.”

    What on Earth is wrong with a 2-state sollution in the middle-east? I think that is the only way we are going to have a hope of resolving this current situation.

    And is the Sun honestly saying that those with the broadest shoulders should not have to bear their fair share? Does that mean the Sun thinks things should be ‘Business as Normal’ for the banks?

    And the Mail talks about his not being married – so what?

    From BBC News:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11433642

    But in any case, I am not interested in his marrital status; I am interested in his ability to defeat this mess of a government.

  8. Chris Baldwin

    “YES well you must have been genuinely surprised when labour smeared Micheal howard with a poster comparing him to Fagin.
    did you forget about that ?”

    Well, since it didn’t happen, there’s nothing to forget.

  9. Chris

    While the tired old clichés are pathetic and the people peddling them shit munchers some voters are morons and will believe all sorts of utter wank. Thus, Labour supporters must step-up and evangelise for Ed and Labour from now until the next general election!!!

  10. torieboy

    Meanwhile in today’s sun a poll asked ,which of these would make the best prime minister, Cameron 40%, Milliband 24%.
    They have picked the wrong brother DISASTER .
    so Labour supporters must step-up and evangelise for Ed and Labour from now until the next general election!!!
    Which is only just under another 5 YEARS, HA HA HA.

  11. mike hartley

    Really interesting from the latest YouGov political tracker poll in The Sun – hidden away in the stats (and unmentioned by the paper) was the fact that a vast majority of TORY voters want higher taxes on the rich, a higher minimum wage, better workers rights and more taxes on the banks:
    http://etonmess.blogspot.com/2010/09/tory-voters-want-to-tax-rich-higher.html

  12. Mr. Sensible

    “al election!!!
    Which is only just under another 5 YEARS, HA HA”

    Possibly…

  13. Toby Thomas

    Ian Love, sorry should have been clearer:
    Of the 111 MPs who gave David M their 1st preference, 40 put Ed as 2nd pref. Of course, this wouldn’t have affected the result, but it can still be read as a sign of support.

  14. Alan W

    So if Ed is Captain Scarlet, I guess Cameron and Clegg must be:
    “The Mysterons! Sworn enemies of Earth. Possessing the ability to recreate an exact likeness of an object or person. But first, they must destroy…”

    Sounds like the coalition to me. But never fear, because:
    “Leading the fight, one man fate has made indestructible. His name: Captain Scarlet.”

    Looks like things could all get a bit David Icke.

  15. David Wearing

    The Sun: "how will putting gender equality before thanking Our Heroes bring [EdM] closer to voters?" http://bit.ly/9TbSVu Clowns

  16. Mr L Windows

    The Sun Newspaper has got a problem which it has created itself. Before the last election it said it would back a winner so it went for David Cameron. What if the Tories start to go down in the polls and Labour starts to right high again. All the Suns attacks on Ed Miliband would end up being an attack on the winner. The paper would end up doing the thing it didn’t want to do that is back a loser. The Sun should have taken a line of seeing how things work out and then back who would ever win the next election. What it has done now is a mistake.

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