There will be much cheering by the Labour left today. Red Ed has out manoeuvred Cameron and thrown NATO plans to singe Assad’s moustache into chaos. Milibanders, now an endangered species, will spin this as a sign of his strength and guile.
The truth is that it is testament to his weakness and proof that he is a prisoner of the left.
What is so utterly despicable is that at a legal briefing he gave no indication of a change of policy or lack of support. Two hours later he made the terse phone call to Cameron that he could not support his plan.
Yet the slippery Douglas Alexander made his views of waiting for the weapons inspectors to report to the UN a day before. So was Miliband being dishonest, which on matters of national security borders on the treasonous, or was he just awaiting his orders from the likes of McCluskey.
Personally, I would give him the benefit of the doubt and bet on the latter. Either way he isn’t going to win a prize for leadership or decisiveness. And God help him if this gives Assad a spring in his step to commit further atrocities.
But apart from anything else it makes Britain look weak. I suspect Cameron briefed Obama that the Commons would deliver before the weekend and had no cause to believe that he would be mislead by the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition. And the question for Obama must be does he wait until next week to strike or does he go it alone with a little help from France? Militarily this is not a problem but politically it plays into the hands of Russia and China.
In the short term the public will support Miliband, but in the long term he will be holed below the waterline. Voters like decisive leaders and hate it when they put party politics before the national interest.
It is not often I get really angry about despicable behaviour of politicians as in in many it is ingrained in their DNA. I was naive enough to believe that Miliband may be misguided but was not a shit.
I was wrong.
I suspect that what pushed him over the limit of what is honourable behaviour was the intervention of Tony Blair.
Whatever your views on him he is not a shit. Independent of the Security Council he sent our forces into into Kosovo to stop genocide. This was as courageous as well as noble. Ed Miliband would be wise to read Blair’s Chicago speech where he set out the doctrine of when a nation should intervene militarily in a country’s internal affairs to bring a halt to genocide.
Miliband has shown that he is not the sort of man to go on a tiger shoot with. He would try and do a deal with the tiger before being mauled to death.
Cameron now knows something that he has always suspected. Miliband is not a man to be trusted.
And as for Nick Clegg? A herogram.
Getting the majority of LibDems on side on such an emotive and sensitive subject just before a stormy party conference is nothing short of a miracle. And courageous. The man has grown balls of steel.
But what does this mean for Ed Miliband? This has been his road to Damascus.