King of the Mountains Award 2013

by Charlie_East_West on December 30, 2013

king of the mountains shirt

Our annual end of year King of the Mountains prize is awarded to the person whose reputation has made the most significant climb upwards over the past year.

In 2010, this went to Uruguayan footballer Diego Forlan, for transforming himself from a bit part Manchester United footballer to one of the stars of the 2010 World Cup. In 2011, it went to Angela Merkel for becoming European matron. In 2012, it went to Ed Miliband for finally growing a pair of political cajones.

Who is the winner of our 2013 King of the Mountains award? So, drum roll please……The winner is………Ed Miliband!

Many congratulations to Ed Miliband for winning this award for the second year running. A remarkable achievement.

Ed Miliband is a worthy winner of this award. He deserves a lot of credit for picking the right fights against the press. He continually stood up to the Murdoch press over the hacking scandal. He has also defended his dead father with dignity and style over those awful Daily Mail “man who hated Britain” smear stories.

The reason the Daily Mail went after Miliband and his father was because he has made them extremely nervous. He gave the speech of his life at Labour Party conference where he proposed to cap energy prices – therefore setting the agenda against corporate greed and unfair pricing policies. This positioning still dominates politics. The Tories are still playing catch up over this, and the right wing media are now worried about Miliband moving along the public consciousness from zero to hero.

But, I have yet to come to the big one. In the late summer of 2013, Ed Miliband saved the world from a catastrophe in the Middle East. In early September 2013, it appeared that the world was sleepwalking towards dropping a few cruise missiles down the roads to Damascus. David Cameron and Barack Obama were the first to blow the bugles of war against the brutal Assad regime.

Ed Miliband then hardened his position over intervention in Syria by saying that Labour would only support military action against the Assad regime if Britain’s national security was threatened or al-Qaida and its affiliates gained possession of large stockpiles of chemical weapons. In a significant toughening of his stance, Miliband decided there would have to be a “very significant change” in circumstances to allow Britain to join any operation in Syria.

A domino effect then occurred. The government motion over military action in Syria was defeated, and the domino effect of this quickly spread across the Atlantic, where Obama’s previously hawkish interventionist stance over Syria eventually morphed back towards becoming an interventionist dove.

Whether Miliband’s tactics were done out of humanitarian consciousness or hardball political manipulation and opportunism, who cares a jot. History will probably judge this as one of the most important interventions ever made by a leader of the opposition. Ed Miliband made the Western world stop and think long and hard about military interventionism – not just over Syria, but potentially, anywhere. Finally, Britain might just be ready to ditch its imperialist global policeman mantra and instead replace it with some grown up diplomacy without bombs.

Standing up to the tabloid press. Stopping a global conflict. Leading the polls. Attacking corporate greed. Continually setting the agenda. Getting a good suit and haircut. Ed Miliband did all of these in 2013. It is bloody marvellous stuff. All of it in one year. Ed Miliband is actually staking a claim for being one of the most effective opposition leaders in modern times.

Ed Miliband deserves to own the polka dot jersey for another year.

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