The Met's Mole
Mark Steyn, pictured speaking at MNC2014 (photo: Mark Blevis, via Flickr)
I feel sorry for Ed Miliband. I have only met him a couple of times but on those occasions he stood out for his palpable niceness and decency.
The media's inability to forgive him for eating a bacon sandwich with sufficient elegance and the constant carping over his adenoidal awkwardness strike a blow in the wrong direction for me and turn my sympathy valve on. Far more damning is the lack of purpose. Here is someone who looks likely to be Prime Minister next year yet appears to have no grand plan or strategy, still relying on the proven disaster Ed Balls to set his economic policy. Indeed when I see Ed seated on the front bench between Balls and wife Yvette Cooper I sometimes wonder if the Ballses are holding a member of Miliband's family hostage back at home.
It wouldn't be his brother, of course. And there is the real human problem for Ed. He tore his family apart, caused his sibling to leave public life and seek employment on another continent — and for what? Had there been some grand overarching vision, some urgent political necessity that required this Cain-like act of villainy then we might have believed the damage to his family to have been worthwhile. But for this?
Life does yield up some strange stories. I have one relating to Bob Lambert. The former head of the Metropolitan Police's "Muslim Contact Unit" spent recent years acting as a sort of non-Muslim Islamist, engaging in apologetics for the behaviour of Islamists and attacking those (including Muslims) who criticised them. For some years he performed this role at the University of Exeter's sinister and unsavoury "European Muslim Research Centre" (now disbanded).
Then, two years ago, a quite different problem emerged regarding this odd figure. It transpired that during his 26 years as a Special Branch officer Lambert had posed as a Green activist and had, with a network of colleagues, infiltrated that and other political movements. It further emerged that during this undercover work in the 1980s he had fathered a child with an animal rights activist in order to deepen his cover within the movement. The Green Party MP Caroline Lucas went on the parliamentary record to claim he was also involved in a fire bombing at a department store. Although he denied that charge, Lambert did tell the Guardian that during this period: "It was necessary to create the false impression that I was a committed animal rights extremist to gain intelligence so as to disrupt serious criminal conspiracies." The gaggle of clowns and shady people around Lambert began to drift away.