THE BLOG
12/07/2011 09:39 BST | Updated 11/09/2011 06:12 BST

This is Ed Miliband's Moment

Events of the past week don't mean Ed Miliband is suddenly a sure thing to win the next election. But they have given him an authority he previously lacked. It is he, not David Cameron, who looks like a leader today.

These past few days mark a turning point in Ed Miliband's career as Leader of the Opposition.

Where once he was "red Ed" or "odd Ed", or the man who stabbed his own brother in the back, now he's the voice of the people.

And this is important. When Princess Diana died, Tony Blair spoke for the nation as he paid tribute to "The People's Princess".

He did it again in the days following September 11 - and whatever happened since, we loved him for it at the time.

But today, when the nation is once again shocked and angry, the Prime Minister is unable to articulate the concern that many people feel.

He's done his best, describing phone hacking last week as "simply disgusting". But his efforts were undermined by his refusal to accept that employing former News of the World editor Andy Coulson was a mistake - and by his statement that he still considers Mr Coulson a friend.

In a sense, there's nothing else Mr Cameron could say. Admitting he was wrong to appoint Mr Coulson as his Director of Communications would mean admitting to a major error of judgment.

And perhaps that's why the Prime Minister was missing in action this week - giving a speech about the Big Society away from Westminster at the same time as his Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, was making a statement about BskyB to baying Labour MPs in the House of Commons.

Mr Miliband, by contrast, was there to respond for the Labour Party, his very presence highlighting the Prime Minister's weakness.

The Labour leader has been ruthless in placing the Government on the spot. Where Ministers have hesitated, he has demanded a public inquiry or two, a delay in the sale of BSkyB and an investigation into the proposed sale by the Competition Commission.

And he's got what he wanted. One way or another, Ministers have been forced to accept his demands.

Labour has its own history with the Murdoch empire.

On March 11 2003, Rebekah Brooks, News International Chief Executive and then the editor of The Sun, told the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee: "We have paid the police for information in the past."

That didn't do anything to dent what, at the time, was a cosy relationship between Labour and News International. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown both attended her wedding six years later.

But Mr Miliband has pre-empted these criticism to an extent by facing up to them. In a speech on July 8, he said: "For too long, political leaders have been too concerned about what people in the press would think and too fearful of speaking out about these issues."

He admitted: "We must all bear responsibility for that. My party has not been immune from it."

And in any case, voters may decide that what they care about most is who is going to do better in the future - not who made mistakes in the past.

Events of the past week don't mean Ed Miliband is suddenly a sure thing to win the next election. But they have given him an authority he previously lacked. It is he, not David Cameron, who looks like a leader today.