First published by The Independent, 7th May 2015
#JeSuisEd trended on Twitter yesterday as hundreds of people posted unflattering selfies with various foodstuffs crammed in their mouths (including myself). Others shared the picture of David Cameron eating a hot dog with a knife and fork (not even my Grandma does that). They were showing their support for Ed Miliband, after The Sun twisted the knife for a final time, running the now-famous photograph of Miliband struggling to eat a bacon sandwich on their front page.
Whether or not the pork-based puns that accompanied the photo were examples of thinly veiled anti-Semitism, the Sun’s leading story epitomised the way Miliband has been treated by the right-wing press throughout the election campaign.
They’ve branded him a dangerous socialist, an untrustworthy betrayer who stabbed his brother in the back, a “class war zealot”, and a “shameful” leader who will plunge the UK into financial ruin. They’ve ripped into Miliband in a way that not even Neil Kinnock – dubbed the “Welsh Windbag” – experienced in the run up to John Major’s victory in 1992.
#JeSuisEd is a two fingers to the Australian-born, American bully-boy billionaire who doesn’t live in Britain or pay tax in Britain, but seeks to influence the outcome of British elections. It’s also a small act of defiance from people sick of being patronised and treated as ignorant. After all, who in their right mind thinks that a picture of someone eating a sandwich can sway the electorate’s voting behaviour?
I don’t like bullies. I was very badly bullied at school, to the point where I developed anorexia and severe depression. I have no respect for people who allow bullies to continue to operate, like Blair and Cameron, who would rather save their skins than stand up for what’s right. I’ll be voting for Miliband today for a whole host of reasons, but one of them is because he reminds me of my mum.
She was bullied by senior management in her job after my little sister was born, and I remember how painful the experience was, and the strain it put on our family. Mum could’ve given in their pressure, but she showed unimaginable strength. She took them to industrial tribunal and she won.
Despite the abuse heaped on him, Miliband has refused to court the Murdoch press. He’s stood up to the bullies, just like my mum did. Once again, he’s not walking in the footsteps Blair, who preferred to hold the coat of the school bully to make sure that he wouldn’t be the next one getting punched. His promise to limit the number of media outlets that one company can own will spell the end of the Murdoch media monopoly. And for all his “geekiness” and weakness, you can sense the fear spreading.
So when you cast your ballot today, remember that between the reds and the blues, there’s one leader who’s scared of Rupert Murdoch, and one that has Murdoch running scared. This time, I dearly hope that it won’t be “the Sun wot won it”.