By Bob Duncan
Labour leader Ed Miliband has compared himself to Margaret Thatcher, whom he described as a ‘conviction politician’, and said he wanted an economic shake-up similar to that of the former Tory Prime Minister.
According to the Sun newspaper, Miliband, who replaced Gordon Brown as leader of the Labour party, said there was a “big parallel” between his and Mrs Thatcher’s terms as opposition leaders.

Mr Miliband also criticised his predecessor, saying of Gordon Brown, “he didn’t have a clear enough sense about how he wanted to take the country forward.”

This apparent move to the right matches that of Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, who last month set up a so-called “Cuts Commission” to examine the affordability of universal benefits.  At the same time, it was announced that she would begin attending shadow cabinet meetings in London.

Miliband’s comments reinforce similar comments he made prior to replacing Brown.  Before being elected leader, Miliband told the Daily Telegraph: “On a number of things, there are differences between us and the Tories, but on certain areas there are no differences between us, and I don’t think you should make them up.

“People don’t like pretending there are big differences when there aren’t. I think it’s a good thing that the Tories have embraced social issues more than they did a few years ago.”

Mr Miliband’s comments were seized on by the SNP who claimed that Labour had now lost its soul.

Commenting, SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said:

“The Labour Party already has one Tory pin-up in Johann Lamont, whose Cuts Commission is out to roll back the achievements of devolution.

“But for Ed Miliband to say that he wants to be compared to Thatcher says it all about the current direction of a Labour Party which has completely lost its soul.

“Of course, Mr Miliband has previously said that there are no 'big differences' between Labour and the Tories – so these comments should come as no surprise.

“Given that Johann Lamont now attends Labour’s UK Shadow Cabinet meetings, the question is was Ms Lamont consulted and does she approve of Mr Miliband trying to become yet another Tory pin-up?”

Bizarrely, Mr Miliband's praise for Mrs Thatcher as a "conviction politician" is identical to comments made by Gordon Brown in 2007, when the then Labour leader and PM said: "I also admire the fact that she is a conviction politician ... I am a conviction politician like her."

Despite authoring a book in 1989, entitled: "Where there is greed: Margaret Thatcher and the betrayal of Britain's future", Mr Brown invited the former Tory PM to tea at Downing street in September 2007 when he was PM.

Meanwhile, Labour were dealt a blow after it emerged Ed Miliband is now more unpopular in Scotland than Tory Prime Minister David Cameron, as new approval ratings pile even more misery on the anti-independence parties.

The latest YouGov poll gives Cameron a net score of minus 37, Miliband minus 40 and Nick Clegg a dismal minus 62.

The Scottish leaders of the unionist parties fare no better. 

When asked the question “Which one of the following people do you think would be best at standing up for Scotland's interests?”, Scottish responses were:

  • Alex Salmond        43%
  • Johann Lamont       6%
  • Ruth Davidson       5%
  • Willie Rennie       2%
  • None of these       24%
  • Don't know          21%


# Breeks 2012-11-21 07:57
Think I'm having a sense of humour failure this morning. How can you laugh when the Labour leader idolizes Thatcher?

I just want to see Scotland rid itself of these clowns for good. They have no place in a forward looking creative Scotland.
# Ben Power 2012-11-21 08:00
Predictable attitude from Milliband in my opinion, where was he educated and who did he mix with from childhood to now.

How much are Labour prepared until they learn that people want government to support people and communities and NOT the continued imbalance of the privileged minority that these current dominant pollies mostly spring from.

This fellow was is child of an immigrant given refuge here in UK with all the advantages of that from the people who provided that refuge when his family needed it most.
It is horrible to then take on a view that supports priveleged positions that will deny those same people an equitable stake in the country and actual accessible opportunity.

Thatcher and conviction! conviction to what one might ask. It certainly was not conviction to making the lives of Scots more equitable and tenable.
So what is this fellow actually showing conviction too
# brh206 2012-11-21 08:30
I have posted on here for a long time now that the Labour Party gave up on ordinary people a long time ago. I don't even know what they stand for other than more of the right wing failed politics of the last 30 years. How anyone in Scotland can vote for this party is beyond belief. I vote SNP as a means to an end and would vote Green before I would vote for any of the other right wing parties in Scotland. What a really sad state of affairs when the party set up by working men on the Clyde to protect the poor and to improve living standards has become the party that will happily sweep away all the hard fought gains of 100 years and do it in 2 or 3. This really is a shameful day for the Labour movement.
# hiorta 2012-11-21 10:30
Exactly, brh.
Wee words uttered in ringing tones - like The Country, Britain and Tradition, do not include the ordinary Jock and Morag in Every street.
They cannot grasp that the England (Ahem, Britain) of the mythical pink atlas not only has gone, but it never was.
Cuts, shortages, reductions in stringent times would start at the very top in any society with even the faintest grasp of fairness and honourable decency. Not creating more WMD to protect them.
# Saoghal Eile 2012-11-21 13:09
I don't even know what they stand be fair i don't think they know either.
# From The Suburbs 2012-11-21 09:16
This is all part of Miliband's One Nation middle England agenda which La Mentable is slavishly promoting in Scotland with her attack on universal benefits.
# alexb 2012-11-21 10:33
Quoting From The Suburbs:
This is all part of Miliband's One Nation middle England agenda which La Mentable is slavishly promoting in Scotland with her attack on universal benefits.

If he, Miliband, is trying to win over "Middle England", then according to a poll seen today he isn't succeeding. Apparently four out of ten don't trust the Labour party thinking that they will revert to their policy of borrowing more than we can afford. Time to ditch this bunch of incompetents,fo rever.
# freeussoon 2012-11-21 09:38
How many times must Labour "reinvent" themselves? Every 10yrs? Every election?

Would be a good idea to just reaffirm their original principals and to hell with trying to appeal to Middle England!
# Embradon 2012-11-21 11:23
I fear that would make no difference as "middle England" would just vote for the other Tories. That is the issue - the UK government is elected by the Daily Mail reading electorate of the southern half of England. We have to choose between several more generation of Tory government or voting "yes" in 2014.
# Silverytay 2012-11-21 09:47
I wonder what the result of the Corby by election would have been if milliband had came out with this during the election campaign .
This will go down like a lead balloon not only in Scotland but also in the North of England .
When Scotland votes for Independence the likes of davidson & co are going to be too worried about what parts of England will be rushing to join the new Scotland to even think about annexing parts of Scotland into England .
# robbo 2012-11-21 10:21
LOL, Thatcher was one of the most authoritative politicians going. Ed Milliband is as authoritative as a spotty little Schoolboy. Oh wait....

He's been way too soft on Brown too. Brown actively created an economic bubble in this country and has completely wrecked it as a result. He had a lot of vision but it wasn't about taking the country forward.
# Barontorc 2012-11-21 10:38
It's an easy goal to knock-in, but I think Thatcher should be a 'convicted' politician for what she cynically set about doing to Scotland's industrial infrastructure.

Where she should have supported key strategic industry such as Ravenscraig, which was achieving record production figures - she tore it apart and left no steel making in the country; a fact that numpty unionist politicios ludicrously try to pin on the present SG as it has to import steel for the new Forth bridge.

Like deep-mining in Scotland, which was a key social, never mind power-based supply industry. Mines were closed, flooded and abandoned with many millions of pounds of plant and equipment simply tossed away to thwart the power of unions that threatened her manic progress in the UK. Now we exploit and gleefully pay for coal hewed out in perilous conditions by poor miners in 'less-advanced' countries.

Conviction - aye right!
# robbo 2012-11-21 11:09
Quoting Barontorc:
Like deep-mining in Scotland, which was a key social, never mind power-based supply industry. Mines were closed, flooded and abandoned with many millions of pounds of plant and equipment simply tossed away to thwart the power of unions that threatened her manic progress in the UK. Now we exploit and gleefully pay for coal hewed out in perilous conditions by poor miners in 'less-advanced' countries.

Conviction - aye right!

We certainly don't exploit workers from less advanced countries. We are actually providing them jobs and money and this is the best way to help these countries out of poverty.
# breastplate 2012-11-21 20:35
Quite right, these miners in South America whining about not having safety gear when they know perfectly well that a bandana and flip flops will do. Also the 8 year old boys in India sewing footballs together should thank us for our custom.
# Barontorc 2012-11-21 21:26
Robbo - I think if you give some time to look at those charities concerned about child labour, you'll find that there are children as young as 10 working in appalling conditions to produce the coal we take for granted in this insensitive country of ours.

How it makes a difference is your guess - they'll be taking home a pittance alongside many other health problems - to suit modern Britain's demands - yes, its taking money into their household but at what cost to these children? To me that's exploitation of children and the poorest on the planet.
# robbo 2012-11-21 22:48
So you'd rather they starved to death? There is no such thing as exploitation in a voluntary exchange. They are offered a job, and the fact that they choose to do it suggests it benefits them. If it didn't benefit them, then they wouldn't take it. So it is not exploitation.

I'm not happy about the conditions of the third world, but the reality is the only way to advance their standard of living is through free trade with these countries. The more work they do, the better wages and working standards they can command and over time the richer they get - this is what is happening in India right now for example.

In the meantime, we get cheaper coal, and they get a job, everyone wins and humanity progresses.
# Barontorc 2012-11-22 09:48
Ok Robbo - you'll get one more bite from me on this - we're buying coal and sweat-shop items because they're dirt cheap to produce - but soon regain a marketable value here. If you don't see that exploitation is going on by using kids who should be at school and not having what we would consider normal childhoods - that's your can of worms - deal with it, but try as you might to deflect criticism of Thatcher's destruction of the profitable Scottish mining industry and record breaking steel making industry, it will not do as a response.

The social devastation caused by her driven political will has had a huge cost in Scotland and many regions of England. Generations of miners were tossed on the scrapheap and mega-millions of tons of viable coal were abandoned in flooded mines, whilst the need for coal was a strategic necessity, cheap coal supplies from third world countries were sourced to replace it - exploitation raged - don't tell me different. End of.
# robbo 2012-11-22 12:31
The offer of a job is not exploitation. Slavery is exploitation. A job offer that a person can choose to decline is NOT exploitation. By western standards it might SEEM like exploitation, but you can't apply our standards to 3rd world countries.

What is it that drives wages and working standards up in this country? Is it the trade unions or the minimum wage laws? No, not fundamentally. It's the fact that we have a strong market (relatively) and if our work treats us badly, we can choose to seek another job elsewhere.

That means for the working standards and wages to increase in other countries, we need to free up trade so these people have more jobs to choose from - increasing their wages and working standards.

Coal mining was not profitable in the UK. The social devastation was bad, but it was the fault of governments who propped up unprofitable industries, not the ones that pulled the plug on them - Though that could have been handled a LOT better.
# breastplate 2012-11-21 22:13
Quite right, these South American miners who complain about safety gear know perfectly well that a bandana and flip flops will do. Also the 8 year olds in India sewing footballs should thank us for our custom.
# balgayboy 2012-11-21 12:36
Yes, let him and his party stay in middle england where they belong, they are definitely not welcome in Scotland. What a bunch of opportunists these so called socialists have become. A disgrace to their founding members.
# daveniz 2012-11-21 13:29
seen this on the BBC website!

typical unionist everytime they say something they always say its "a popular choice" "the majority don't want to separate Scotland" etc all the time adding these to there statements without evidence they think they are being smart adding it. It's like they are trying to justify what they say!

the thing about devoplus is It's a set up to give us the impression of a "little extra power" but it take other powers away in reality less powers it also states that devoplus would mean and end to ever getting other powers it would also mean westminster would have an iron grip as it states it as a "settled will" and "to end the open end book of devolution" meaning Scotland will never get another chance of independance!
# Old Smokey 2012-11-21 16:25
What caught my eye were the following :
'The Devo Plus campaign launched its blueprint for a "new union" ' and 'Allow the Scottish Parliament to deliver better public services and put Scotland on a stronger footing, as part of a union with the rest of the UK'
First point regarding the so called 'new union. Does this mean that all consituent parts will be created equal . That is become 'The United Kingdom of England, Scotland, N.Ireland and Wales'. Will the Bank of England, finally become the United Kingdom Reserve Bank?. As usual with the unionists they still havent a foggy regarding the Union itself. Still this assumption is some quarters that Scotland joined the UK in 1707, instead of the union of Scotland and England
# Breeks 2012-11-21 18:52
The Scottish Government should be hammering this. The Unionists championed their single question referendum which killed off Devo-max. They now want to promise us all a Devo-max derivative, and that's bare faced hypocrisy.

Every vote for Devo-max was one less vote for independence, and the Unionists lined up in ranks to kill it off.

I repeat, the Scottish Government should now be denying the unionists any and all purchase over any devo-max type proposal.
# lurker1 2012-11-21 14:04
Old and offtopic. Did anyone escalate complaints about BBC blog comment removal to BBC trust?

If so plase see latest entries here:

# oldnat 2012-11-21 15:09
Labour as it should be (and will become again!)

# Rafiki 2012-11-21 16:55
Mrs Thatcher was always far more popular in England than she was in Scotland, hence Gordon Brown and now Ed Miliband latching on to her reputation.

It is toxic in Scotland.
# Iaincraig 2012-11-21 18:31
Ed Millibland! The new Hammer of the Jocks?

I dont think so somehow. The English aren't that thick.

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