It comes to something when a quote from the head of a church so, often seen to be somewhat out of touch with its flock, resonates more than anything said by the leader of our opposition party since his election. Why have we never heard Miliband criticising irresponsible capitalists, bankers and energy profiteers like Pope Francis? The fact that our society is dominated by people with a "self-centred mindset bent on profit at any cost" reveals a greater depth of understanding than revealed so far by our centre-slightly -left opposition, and is the sort of response needed to counter pro-austerity announcements from our multi-millionaire ministers, and their bonus-obsessed allies in the city.
John Palmers warning about the rise of far-right parties, and the similarities with 1930s Europe, should not be ignored. Imagine the dreadful, but not totally unlikely scenario of next year's European elections in Britain seeing a Ukip landslide, and Cameron forced into a coalition with them to take on Labour in 2015. By then it would be too late for Miliband, Balls and the rest to adopt an anti-austerity stance and policies to regain support from trade unionists, teachers and public sector workers, not to mention the unemployed and disabled, all deserted by Labour, and left defenceless in the face of attacks from this callous government. How many Labour members of parliament will rue their decision not to attend the vote on the bedroom tax, when full Opposition attendance would have seen its defeat? How many wake-up calls does a slumbering Labour party need? If the pope can attempt to revive an outmoded church, is it too much to expect a Labour leader to do the same with his largely comatose party?