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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.

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Dave Roberts
December 1st, 2014
5:12 AM
What is interesting about the whole thing are the allegation made, I understand, in Parliament that Lambert was actually involved in planting a bomb in a north London department store. If true this is a radical departure even for the Met and shows how just out of control that some elements of the Met were at that time and possibly even now. It is now clear that the greens and most similar movements were no threat to democracy and it would be interesting to see the reports that were being submitted on the activities of these groups in order to obtain an ever increasing budget.

November 30th, 2014
6:11 PM
Oh Douglas, I fear your ego has the better of you, as you cravenly attempt to bring the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) and Bob Lambert in to your purview. Why on earth would the MPS have an interest in you, except as a populist writer holding court to the arena with no academic credentials in respect of the subject? Thus an 'open source', with little value. Yet here you are attempting to suggest plots and intrigue. The truth is, as ever, as dull as you might expect. Whilst one might disagree strongly with Lambert's opinions regarding Islam, the fact remains he is academically qualified to do so. Moreover, he has a proven history of engaging with the subject as a practitioner for the benefit of Her Majesty's Government. And you? Nothing, just the monotonous squeals of an individual who might also be considered an agent provocateur, whilst lacking the intelligence to recognise the fact. Or perhaps too stupid to recognise from where his paycheck originates every month.

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