By Matthew Barrett
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Ed Miliband and his supporters boast of his willingness to stand up to the big, vested interests, the corporate behemoths who delight in victimising hard-working people. However, his attacks on rail companies for increasing fares, on energy companies for high fuel prices, or on Fred Goodwin's knighthood don't quite feel right. They suggest carefully-researched focus-grouped lines of attack rather than real outrage.
Miliband's appearance on ITV's Daybreak this morning may be the worst example of this pandering yet. He tried to pass himself off as some sort of Euro-sceptic:
“I’m very concerned about what David Cameron has done because he trumpeted last December that he got a great deal for Britain, he’d protected us and everything and the way that Europe was going to go about this treaty, what they were going to do wasn’t going to affect Britain. Now he seems to have sold us down the river on a lot of things [my emphasis] so I’m going to be asking him in the House of Commons today what exactly has he agreed to, what protections has he got for Britain. I take a simple view – he would have been better off staying at the table and negotiating for Britain, rather than actually pretending that he had made great progress and then failing to do so.”
Ed Miliband is a conventional Europhile, and it's hard to see how any serious person could view this "sold us down the river" attack with anything other than amusement. Last month, Miliband was condemning the Prime Minister's "catastrophic mistake" in exercising Britain's veto. Now he's suggesting that he would have gone further in demanding powers back for Britain. Miliband is plumbing the depths of opportunistic politics. He transparently does not believe what he is saying about Europe (or perhaps he hasn't decided what he believes). He should resist the urge to attack the Government on every issue. It would save him a lot of trouble, since he's set himself up today as an easy target for "flip-flopper" assaults.