Okay, I have a confession to make. I thought of Ed Milliband as a useless muppet with no principles of note. I still do, to be honest.
But watching Prime Minister's Question Time yesterday, Ed Milliband was brilliant. For the first time he was doing the job that the leader of the opposition is meant to do and holding the government to attack. When it comes to the News of the World phone hacking scandal, the government and the police have dragged their feet. As Ed Milliband said, an independent inquiry is needed. But the phone hacking wasn't just a few bad eggs at one newspaper - it was systemic across the tabloids even if (according to rumour) some of them (such as the Mail) have gone clean in recent years. But more than that, the lack of responsibility, the attempted cover ups, the denials and the hefty out of court settlements by News International show it to be an organisation as morally bankrupt and unaccountable as people such as myself always suspected. The only way for the government (or, more accurately, the Conservatives) do come out of this without being tarnished by their association (both professionally and personally) with News International is to halt Murdoch's takeover of Sky by referring it to Ofcom. Remarkably, even ConservativeHome (that home of neo-and-not-so-neo thatcherite fanatics) has said that the takeover bid needs to be halted. I can just imagine Vince Cable sitting very smugly in the cabinet today and just managing to avoid saying "I told you so".
The other great thing about this is that we will probably see an end to self-regulation of the press. The current regulatory body, the PCC, has been about as much use as a roll of kitchen towel during a flood and an independent, statutory regulator is well overdue. The other silver lining is, of course, the way in which advertisers are rushing to boycott the News of the World. With a bit of luck, this boycott, coupled with the phone hacking scandal, will kill off the News of the World.
So all in all, well done to Ed Miliband for putting pressure on Cameron over this. For the first time I'm starting to see him as someone potentially worthy of respect.