British Labor Party leader Ed Miliband took a cue from MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell Saturday when he admitted that he is undoubtedly a socialist. Not only is he proud of it, but he also said he was tempted to join the recent student tuition protest and professed his unabashed support for the unions.
"Yeah, I am a socialist," Miliband told the BBC over the weekend according to London's Daily Mail, "and I’m not embarrassed about it."
After clarifying that he doesn't want "public ownership of everything" (like his father did) he explained that his socialism is based on "social justice": "There are big unfarinesses in our society, and part of the job of government is to bring about social justice and to tackle those unfairnesses."
As the BBC notes, Miliband comes from a family of socialists. His father was a "proud Marxist" while his mother was an "activist":
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That history may be what prompted him to admit he was tempted to join the recent student protests against tuition hikes.
"I was quite tempted to go out and talk to them," Miliband said. "I applaud young people who peacefully demonstrate." When asked why he didn't join, Miliband recalled, "I was doing something else at the time."
The Daily Mail was quick to point out that 35 were arrested and seven police were injured in the latest round of student protests on Wednesday. Miliband's aids were equally quick to do damage control, saying that the Labor Party leader did not plan on attending any future protests.
Miliband and his staff, however, didn't backtrack on another controversial statement. According to the Daily Mail, Miliband refused calls to rein in the influence of the unions, which helped him win his leadership spot. "I don’t want to take them out of the Labour Party’s decision making," he said, "because, actually, that will make us more disconnected as a party."
As one British analyst said, "Here, he makes clear he will do nothing to upset his paymasters."
The comments came amid financial trouble for the country and as Miliband tried to define his party's goals and audience. After he labeled that audience as the "squeezed middle" and went on to describe 90 percent of the country's population, he said he meant no one who receives benefits or gets six-figure salaries.