Tags: ed miliband | david cameron | uk | elections | prime minister

'Prime Minister Miliband' Would Move UK Foreign Policy to Left

'Prime Minister Miliband' Would Move UK Foreign Policy to Left
Labour leader Ed Miliband. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 06 May 2015 08:40 AM

If political pundits and many polls are correct about the outcome of United Kingdom elections Thursday, then Labour Party’s decidedly leftist leader Ed Miliband will most likely replace Conservative David Cameron as prime minister by the weekend.

According to a just-completed Daily Mirror poll of likely British voters, Labour leads the Conservatives 34 percent to 33 percent. With voters simply casting ballots for the party and not individual candidates in races for the 650 seats in the House of Commons, neither of the two major parties are likely to be close to the majority of seats each needs to form a government.

However, the controversial Scottish National Party (which seems headed to winning most of the 59 seats in Scotland) and smaller left-of-center parties such as the Greens are more likely to give Labour the support it needs to secure the necessary majority following the vote.

Under a Labour government and a "Prime Minister Miliband," it seems a foregone conclusion that there would be a significant sea change in the U.K.’s foreign policy and relations with traditional allies such as the United States and Israel.

Speaking to a party conference in 2010 shortly after becoming Labour leader, Miliband said the Labour government under former Prime Minister Tony Blair was "wrong to take Britain to war" with Iraq and that in so doing, it "undermined" the United Nations.

Vowing to challenge "old thinking" on foreign policy, Miliband said "we are the generation that recognizes we belong to a global community."

Miliband left little doubt that, unlike Blair, he would be more cautious about following the U.S. in a foreign military operation.

"Our alliance with America is incredibly important to us," he said, "but we must always remember that our values must shape the alliances that we form and any military action that we take." (Last month, Blair, in one of his rare appearances at a political event, said he was "100 percent behind" Miliband to "lead our party" to victory May 7.)

In August 2013, Miliband put action to his words when he led the successful fight in Commons to defeat Prime Minister Cameron's call for British military support of the U.S. and France in airstrikes against the Assad regime in Syria.

Last January, with thousands of Syrians fleeing the rule of the strongman that Miliband did not want the U.K. to join a mission against, the Labour leader criticized Cameron for not participating in a United Nations program to assist Syrian refugees.

In 2012, Miliband attacked the Cameron government for its plan to cut 4.7 billion pounds from the British defense budget by 2015. In April 2012, however, the Daily Mail reported that in a leaked letter to Labour’s "Shadow" Defense Secretary Jim Murphy, Miliband revealed "the party plans to 'make further savings' after the bulk of British troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2014 and 2015."

Miliband would be his country’s first Jewish prime minister since Benjamin Disraeli in the 19th century, although the Labour leader makes clear he doesn’t practice his faith and considers himself an atheist. He has made comments and taken positions that have put him at odds with Israel.

"I defend Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks," he told Labour’s National Policy Forum on July 19, 2014. "But I cannot explain, justify, or defend the horrifying deaths of hundreds of Palestinians, including children and innocent civilians. And as a party we oppose the further escalation of violence we have seen with Israel’s invasion of Gaza."

In striking contrast to passionate Israel-booster Cameron, Miliband's remarks, according to the Financial Times, "offended many Jews as it was said at a time Israel was under attack and was not balanced with empathy for Israeli civilians under attack from Palestinian Muslims."

"Nobody's going to be running up and down screaming how wonderful it is," Stephan Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, told the FT about the prospect of Miliband entering 10 Downing St.

Like other leftist politicians around the world, Miliband embraces the cause of climate change. On the campaign trail, he has committed to putting climate change 'at the core of Labour’s foreign policy,' including pushing for costly targets to cut carbon emissions to zero.

Miliband is frequently described as Labour’s most decidedly leftist leader since Michael Foot, who led the party to a crashing defeat at the hands of Margaret Thatcher in 1983.

Foot’s platform, which included calls for nuclear disarmament and a more interventionist industrial policy, was later described by one party critic as "the longest suicide note in history."

If polls are correct, the platform of today under Ed Miliband will not be considered similarly. And, at least in terms of foreign policy, a "Prime Minister Miliband" will be a very different experience for the U.K. and some of its longtime allies.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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If political pundits and many polls are correct about the outcome of United Kingdom elections Thursday, then Labour Party's decidedly leftist leader Ed Miliband will most likely replace Conservative David Cameron as prime minister by the weekend.
ed miliband, david cameron, uk, elections, prime minister
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2015-40-06
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 08:40 AM
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