John Bird, co-founder of the Big Issue and author of The Necessity of Poverty, published by Quartet in 2012, must have been in a rather enraged form when he let rip at Ed Miliband in an article he wrote for the Daily Mail recently.
His scathing attack on the Labour leader from a man who was himself brought up in an orphanage, served time in a young offenders’ institute in his teens, and slept rough with London’s homeless, shows to what extent Ed has infuriated his followers and lost their respect.
Bird describes his catalogue of gaffs, from clumsily eating a bacon sandwich to pausing in a ‘feminist’ T-shirt made by exploited female workers, in public appearances during recent months.
He goes on to say that few of these moments have been more awkward than his spontaneous decision to give some loose change to a young beggar while he walked along a street in Manchester earlier this month.
Adding to this, he concludes that if that was an attempt to parade his decency it backfired disastrously.
Instead of looking compassionate, he came across as foolish, opportunistic and embarrassed. And to make matters worse, the recipient of his generosity was later identified as a fourteen-year-old girl and Romanian immigrant – some of whom are causing mayhem through their begging activities in our streets.
No wonder the Labour party is becoming a target for derision, with power no longer effectively in their sights.
Ed Miliband’s lacklustre personality will cost them dearly and unless they change leadership and do away with some of their ideological lunacy, they are bound to be cast aside by the electorate and spend years in the political wilderness – from which they will find it hard to shake off.
The Conservatives, despite their numerous problems, especially with Europe and the division within their ranks, must feel re-energised at the spectacle of Labour losing their grip and making fools of themselves and becoming a laughing stock without probably realising it.
The next general election looks like being catastrophic in many ways, but oddly it might eventually bring reform to the political system which has for many years deteriorated almost to the point of no return.
Let’s pray that salvation is knocking at the door, and someone will have the good sense to see it.