Week 7: Hero – Ed Miliband

by Charlie_East_West on February 15, 2015


Our hero of the week award goes to Ed Miliband for standing up to corporate fat cat tax avoiders, and in particular, former Conservative Party Treasurer, Stanley Fink.

Welcome back, Ed Miliband.

All That’s Left have increasingly dispaired at the lacklustre performances of Ed Miliband, and his lack of political oomph. He, as Leader of the Opposition should be sticking it to the Tories on any number of fronts, but instead, has been playing it safe, and offering very little substance as a radical alternative to the austerity-led / hammer the poor approach of the Tories. This week however, Ed Miliband rediscovered his mojo and stood up for himself and also the 99% of us who are increasingly pissed off with the seemingly endless stories of corporate tax dodging within the cabal of the gilded 1% super rich.

At Prime Minister’s Question Time this week, Ed Miliband accused Lord Fink (a former hedge fund executive), of undertaking “tax avoidance activities” within a list of businessmen who preferred to donate money to the Tories than pay tax. Miliband also accused David Cameron of being “a dodgy prime minister surrounded by dodgy donors”, and attacked Tories for showing cronyism towards HSBC excutives caught up in the tax avoidance scandal.

Fink came out swinging with his gloves off, and stated “I challenge Ed Miliband to either repeat his allegations outside the House of Commons, or perhaps to withdraw them publically”.

Instead of sticking his head in the sand, Ed Miliband stood by his claims both inside Parliament and also outside of Parliament (unprotected by parliamentary privilege) and stayed on the attack, backed up by the Labour Party, and in particular, Ed Balls.

Like all bullies, Fink backed down when the target of his bullying decided to stand firm. Fink then changed his story to a pathetically nuanced statement that he had in fact taken “vanilla” tax avoidance measures, including transferring shares into family trusts in Switzerland.

Ed Miliband is a frustrating and somewhat confusing character. When faced with a matter of significant principle or backed into a corner, he tends to stick to his guns or come out fighting. Examples include the Syria military interventionism Commons vote, energy pricing and the Daily Mail attacks on his late father. Unfortunately, his strength of character in difficult circumstances is somewhat undermined by his overly intellectualised inertia on policy, and a lack of clear messaging.

But, he deserves our award this week and has once again shown that his backbone is significantly stronger than his rival for the keys to Number 10.

Well played Mr Miliband.

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