Looking back at the Miliband era


11:30 am - April 10th 2013

by Don Paskini    


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22nd November 2026

Ed Miliband’s resignation as Prime Minister, following the rejection of his controversial land value tax reforms to replace the council tax, brings to an end the ‘Miliband era’. It was greeted with jubilation in many parts of southern England, with chants of ‘Eddie, Eddie, Eddie, out, out, out!’ echoing round the wine bars, luxury car dealerships and estate agents of Surrey.

In assessing Miliband’s time as leader, it is important to remember the situation eleven and a half years ago when he first came to power. Having won a narrow majority in 2015 against an exhausted and discredited Conservative/Liberal coalition, he took over a country in seemingly permanent economic decline, and with few allies for his radical vision even amongst his own Cabinet.

Indeed the first three years of the Miliband government saw Labour slump into third place in the polls, behind both the Conservatives and the UK Independence Party. His early economic reforms led to a higher level of inflation that Britain had experienced in decades, and he was forced to scale back many of his plans after threats of an ‘investor strike’ from the powerful financial sector. Some in his Cabinet even urged him to step aside in favour of former leader Tony Blair.

Miliband’s decision to oppose the war on Iran is often cited as a turning point in his first term. Skilfully taking advantage of the diplomatic opportunity to broker a peace deal, he drew a sharp contrast with the pro-war right wing parties, which badly misjudged the public mood with their bloodthirsty rhetoric. The decision of James Murdoch to close the loss-making Sun and Times newspapers later that year, and the curbs on the Daily Mail imposed by the 2016 Press Freedom Act drastically weakened the right wing press’ criticisms of Miliband’s government, and the split between the Tories and UKIP proved catastrophic for the electoral fortunes of the Right.

But it was not just the weakness of his opponents which led to the Miliband landslide of 2020. With unemployment falling sharply, many workers benefiting from higher real wages due to the expansion of the living wage, the building boom of new council and co-operative homes cutting the cost of housing, and new local banks supporting the development of small businesses, many in the ‘squeezed middle’ felt less squeezed by the end of the decade.

It was in his second term that Miliband gained a reputation for the ruthless way that he went about destroying the pillars of the right wing establishment. The number of buy to let landlords had already started to fall, as more people were able to buy, rent from the council or join a co-operative to get their home. Landlords complained about tough new regulations and falling levels of housing benefit payments. In the ground-breaking Budget of 2021, punitive new taxes on multiple home ownership effectively made buy to let economically unviable.

With billions flowing to the Treasury from the renewable energy boom, vindicating Miliband’s investment in green industries, he was able to turn his attention to the ‘Enemy Within’ of the City of London. His Financial Transactions Tax, new regulatory regime and work with other governments to crack down on tax havens and speculation were bitterly opposed by the financial sector and their remaining allies.

Overall, the collapse of the City of London caused by Miliband’s war on predatory capitalism affected very few people. Most people, particularly in the Midlands and North, benefited from the rising share of national income that went to wages rather than profits, and the explicit focus on full employment as the main goal of economic policy.

It is important to remember, however, that the PM who came to power promising ‘One Nation’ presided over decline of towns in the Home Counties dependent on the City of London. The brutal police response to the notorious ‘stockbroker riots’ of 2023 in Beaconsfield and Haslemere reinforced the notion of a divided Britain with a prosperous North and impoverished South.

As Miliband approached his tenth anniversary in power, he became increasingly dogmatic and unwilling to compromise. The mutualisation of the railways failed to improve the quality of service from the old days of Virgin Trains, and he was embroiled in scandal after the arrest of several members of the ‘Primrose Hill set’ over price fixing in the solar power industry.

Despite the return of Nick Clegg from the European Commission to lead the new ‘Progressive Conservative’ party and the decline of UKIP, Miliband was easily re-elected for a third term in office in 2025. At that time, little attention was paid to the section in the Labour manifesto about the need to reform the council tax system. How ironic that, just like another long serving Prime Minister, it would be local government finance that brought an end to his career.

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About the author
Don Paskini is deputy-editor of LC. He also blogs at donpaskini. He is on twitter as @donpaskini
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Story Filed Under: Humour ,Labour party

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Reader comments


Ed Milibands resignation in May 2015 after a ferocious Tory press having destroyed him for not answering his view on welfare reform, saw Ed balls and Andy burnham ut their names in the ring, Balls defending a very small majority following a Tory majority of 3 ,suffered an early blow when Chuka Umura, whom had worked with Balls wife in shadow home affairs, had backed burnham…..

Boris’s third term is cut short after the heroic figure fell off a French cliff while taking part in the veterans tour de France. The country is in mourning.
Boris took over the leadership of the Tory Party in 2015 after David Cameron was found to be feeding off welfare scroungers in now what we now call Cannibalgate.
Boris a hugely popular PM will be known for privatising state education and the NHS, making cycling compulsory, and a small war against a group of piccannnies who had invaded the Orkneys.

Any chance of a Labour government is as much likely as above.

More likely is that he resigns in 2015 having lost an eminently winnable election for the Labour Party.

The only thing I can say for sure is that the least possible thing that can happen now is a Tory majority in 2015. That’s all I am absolutely certain of.

@ John Reid

I’ve seen you banging on about “welfare reform” for ages, John, without actually saying what you’d like to see done.

What kind of reforms do you want?

What do you want Labour to do that the Tories haven’t done?

Cheers!

God what a bunch of boring turds you lot are.

This is a thoughtful piece and a clever satire that turns many of today’s political certainties upside down.

I think you could make a small book out of this Don.
Well done.

6 paul, not abstain?

@7 – exactly, these pieces are more about humour than concrete predictions.

But I have to say I think Ed M is more likely to win in 2015 than others believe. I wouldn’t have said so 6 months ago, but he is starting to believe in himself a lot more which is part of the battle.

Dream on.

Some real gems in here. Haven’t laughed as much in ages.

“Overall, the collapse of the City of London caused by Miliband’s war on predatory capitalism affected very few people. Most people, particularly in the Midlands and North, benefited from the rising share of national income that went to wages rather than profits”

“With billions flowing to the Treasury from the renewable energy boom”

“His Financial Transactions Tax”

“The decision of James Murdoch to close the loss-making Sun and Times newspapers later that year, and the curbs on the Daily Mail imposed by the 2016 Press Freedom Act”

(though that one is simply a bit scary – left wingers advocating a press freedom act….a little bit too soviet for my freedom-loving tastes)

12. Matthew Blott

I thought I was reading the Daily Mash for a moment.

Clever, enjoyable and meant to be satire, yet risible in its implied claims, Don.

Liam @ 5:

“The only thing I can say for sure is that the least possible thing that can happen now is a Tory majority in 2015. That’s all I am absolutely certain of.”

At present, I’d say that the second least possible thing in politics is a Labour majority. Ed -‘champion of the shirkers and the parasitic’ – Millipede will take a hammering at the general election. He’s got ‘loser’ stamped on his forehead.

14. Shatterface

Might I suggest you illustrate this article with a photoshoped pic of Milliband sporting Spock’s beard from the Star Trek episode ‘Mirror, Mirror’?

Highly enjoyable piece. Love these ‘speculative’ future or alt-history articles whenever they appear.

Loved it Don!

the curbs on the Daily Mail imposed by the 2016 “Press Freedom Act”

Heh. I do like this. Although if the Times & the Sun have gone bust, the Mail would be pretty much the only newspaper left.

@ John Reid

So you mean Labour should just vote for and rubber stamp whatever welfare legislation the Conservatives put forward? Or should the Labour Party perhaps go further and be tougher than the Tories? For example in America every citizen gets five years of welfare and then no more; after five years all their welfare payments stop. Do you think Labour could beat the Tories at their own game by being tougher on benefit claimants than the Tories?

Could Ed Miliband really do stuff like that?

I can’t see it myself.

@ TONE

When I look at David Cameron’s forehead all I see is the word WANKER written in capital letters.

20. Card Sharp as a Razor

@ TONE

Are you a betting man? Ladbroke’s are given even odds as per a Labour majority and five to one AGAINST a Tory one. If I were you I put your money down now before the odds against a Conservative victory lengthen. Just saying.

“the curbs on the Daily Mail imposed by the 2016 Press Freedom Act drastically weakened the right wing press’ criticisms of Miliband’s government”

OK, satire and all that, Don – and I’m no fan of the Mail – but don’t you realise how revealing, how sinister, how Orwellian, that sounds? And on a website that deems itself “liberal”?

Imagine…:

‘the curbs on the Daily Mirror and BBC imposed by the 2016 Press & Broadcasting Freedom Act drastically weakened the left wing’s criticisms of the government’

A free press is absolutely essential to a democracy. The unions and the left have the resources to finance printing and broadcasting in their interests. But they don’t. Could this be because there is no market for their views?

CSaaR @ 20:
Read what I said. My (current) judgement is that there will be another coalition…

23. Card Sharp as a Razor

@ TONE

Odds AGAINST no overall majority 6 to 4 against. Grab it while you can!

24. Planeshift

” Although if the Times & the Sun have gone bust, the Mail would be pretty much the only newspaper left”

I think it’s actually not likely to happen. After a decade of decline I think the mainstream media will probably start seeing profits rise again in a few years – or at least those who have developed an online prescence.

The tablet/smartphone development has been a game changer that I don’t think people have yet grasped. People look at the Times and the paywall and wonder how succesful it has been, particalary with free alternatives. But I could easily see subscriptions to newspapers/free apps thrown into contract deals for smartphones and tablets as the market becomes increasingly competative. This is going to be a major new source of revenue for media groups teaming up with phone networks, and the consumer won’t notice that £1 a month on a two year contract is going directly to a media group. Once the media then realise they can then target advertising specifically at users (they can record which stories the user reads through the app) and perhaps links the data with other uses of the phone then a new revanue stream is open.

Good fun, Don. One question.

Was there a damp patch on the sheets when you woke up?

OK, satire and all that, Don – and I’m no fan of the Mail – but don’t you realise how revealing, how sinister, how Orwellian, that sounds? And on a website that deems itself “liberal”?
It was a joke.
More likely that Ed will be having weekly dinner dates with Dacre. Like Brown and Blair did.

18 that’s why I reckon he;could lose

28. So Much for Subtlety

I know that DP is just trying to be funny, but even humour has to be reality based. How can any sane person suggest the suspension of rationality and economic laws? For example:

Most people, particularly in the Midlands and North, benefited from the rising share of national income that went to wages rather than profits, and the explicit focus on full employment as the main goal of economic policy.

People do not necessarily benefit from a rising share of anything. Especially if Miliband closed down London, Britain would be poorer. Everyone would be worse off. Now perhaps workers in the North would have a larger share of the national income as the South would be hit much harder, but the North would still be poorer over all. And thus benefit not at all.

With unemployment falling sharply, many workers benefiting from higher real wages due to the expansion of the living wage

So we are going to have more jobs by making workers more expensive are we? Why not legislate that the minimum wage is £10,000 an hour? Then we will all be millionaires.

With billions flowing to the Treasury from the renewable energy boom, vindicating Miliband’s investment in green industries

Renewable energy is and is likely to remain for some time a black hole in the ground down which governments cannot afford to pour money. Spain is closing down its moronic renewable schemes. Germany has twigged to the fact that their schemes mean they pay ten-times as much for energy bought in as they get for the energy they export. It is simply utterly irrational to think that throwing more money after bad is going to do anything but bankrupt everyone.

29. Kismet Hardy

“The decision of James Murdoch to close the loss-making Sun and Times newspapers later that year, and the curbs on the Daily Mail”

It’s okay to fantasise

@ John Reid

But if Labour rubber-stamps every Conservative welfare policy no matter how cruel, e.g., stripping the under 25s of housing benefit leaving very young boys and girls homeless on the street, won’t the Labour core vote desert the party in droves? If Labour goes along with the pogrom or even tries to be crueller to benefit claimants than the Tories in order to win Tory votes, won’t the party end up abandoned by most people who formerly voted for it as a rational and compassionate force in British politics?

I can’t really see how being cruel and even killing benefit claimants could be good for the Labour Party.

31. Planeshift

John Reid is basically somebopdy who would read the 1997 labour manifesto and shit himself at how radical it was.

32. Shatterface

So you mean Labour should just vote for and rubber stamp whatever welfare legislation the Conservatives put forward? Or should the Labour Party perhaps go further and be tougher than the Tories? For example in America every citizen gets five years of welfare and then no more; after five years all their welfare payments stop. Do you think Labour could beat the Tories at their own game by being tougher on benefit claimants than the Tories?

The Labour Party were more hostile to benefit claimants than any previous Tory government – hence ESA, Atos, etc. – and just because the current government have taken Labour’s policies even further doesn’t mean the Labour Party, if they ever get back into power, won’t be even more abominable.

The current state of UK politics is of successive governments outflanking each other to the right.

The OP owes something to A Very British Coup but where Chris Mullen had the sense to invent an entirely fictional left-wing PM Don has lumbered himself with a real political figure who is New Labour through and through but lacking the charisma of Tony Blair and even – god help us – Gordon Brown.

33. Shatterface

the curbs on the Daily Mail imposed by the 2016 Press Freedom Act drastically weakened the right wing press’ criticisms of Miliband’s government

Well, it worked for Castro and Chavez.

31 planeshift speak for me, I campaigned hard for labour in92 and 87′ I didn’t campaign for labour in97′ it was only the thought of Hague winning that I came back and campaigned hard for Labour in 2001 and 05′ I’ve also been homeless and lived on the streets in the 80’s but it wasn’t my fault that because labour lost the 83 election , when Foot and co thought they were going to win, that resulted in Thatcher returning and being able to make seeing the homeless, socially acceptable, but then the parallel here is that the likes of Liberal conspiracy and some Ed supporters assume that we’re going to win next time and even if we do swinging to the left would suit in us getting re elected

35. Planeshift

“swinging to the left ”

I didn’t understand the rest of that post, but the suggestion I think labour will win by swinging to left is wrong. Labour will not win by swinging to the left, or by swinging to the right.

It will win by building a broad coalition of people who have a stake in labour winning. The success of 1997 was not that labour moved to the right, it was that they built such a coalition that included businessmen and higher earners who were re-assured by the economic centrism and promises on income tax whilst still supporting investment in public services. It also included many from the green movement who were kept on board by promises to end road building and invest in public transport. Fox hunting ban, constitutional change etc were also radical policies proposed. Even the new deal was a progressive policy on welfare that could have backfired.

I’ve told you before – read the 97 manifesto. Many of it’s ideas are left wing and would scare the shit out of blairites today.

Labour cannot build that broad coalition without considering the main issues for disabled people – who number in the millions.

Rememeber Sue Marsh was a blairite as well.

It is funny how deluded the Tories are. All the polling evidence and indications are that Labour is going to be, at least, the largest party at the next election. David Cameron couldn’t win an election against an unpopular Gordon Brown, leading an unpopular Labour government during a time of economic decline, in the midst of a major expenses scandal. What chance has he got now he is Prime Minister, doing deeply unpopular things with leadership plots going against him. The Tories are far off winning a majority at the next election, if they couldn’t in 2010, they cannot in 2015. While Labour have a lot of work to do to gain a majority, the Tories have more work to do to remain the largest party.I wonder what planet are some of the Tories on?

I couldn’t vote for a Labour party that passively went along with the Conservatives as far as welfare goes. The Work Programme has cost billions and yet only got about 2.5% of participants into paid work for six months or more so far. Hundreds of thousands of people are going to lose significant amounts of housing benefit if they have a spare bedroom, even though there is nowhere for them to move to. The computer system that Universal Credit relies on isn’t working and probably will never work: only one Jobcentre in the whole of the UK will trial the new benefit later this months and the whole project seems doomed to me. Universal Jobmatch, now mandated for all Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants, is collapsing under its own weight as every employer advertising a position is swamped by dozens or even hundreds of applications for ever advertised job as claimants are forced to apply for every position they might be able to within 1.5 hours of travelling of their home. ATOS is passing the terminally ill as fit for work even though no employer would ever offer them a job.

I could go on… and on… and on…

Welfare reform under the Tories is killing people and is royally fucked, helping no one, costs a fortunes, and often worse than doing nothing at all.

Vote for this?

Not a fucking chance!!!!!!!!


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