Miliband shouldn't call them "the Liberals" - he might need their help

He should learn from Gordon Brown's mistake and have the courtesy to get the Lib Dems' name right.

In 2010, as Gordon Brown was desperately trying to strike a deal with the Lib Dems, Peter Mandelson warned him: "you must stop calling them the Liberals". The third party, a merger of the Liberal Party and the SDP, doesn't take kindly to being referred to by the name of its former incarnation. That Brown didn't even have the courtesy to get their name right was one reason why many Lib Dems concluded that they couldn't do business with him.

But today, in defiance of this precedent, Ed Miliband spoke of how Labour needed to rescue the NHS "from these Tories. And the Liberals too." For a politician more pluralist than many in his party, it was an oddly tribal note. With a hung parliament the most likely outcome of the next election, Miliband, like Brown, can't afford to be so careless. If both Labour and the Tories win enough seats to form majority governments with Lib Dem support, he will need to do everything he can to persuade Nick Clegg, against his ideological instincts, to side with him.

But with this in mind, it was striking that the line quoted above was the only reference to the party in the speech. Ahead of a possible coalition in 2015, has Miliband decided that it's best not "to diss" the Lib Dems?

Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg attend a ceremony at Buckingham Palace to mark the Duke of Edinburgh's 90th birthday on June 30, 2011. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Quiz: Can you identify fake news?

The furore around "fake" news shows no sign of abating. Can you spot what's real and what's not?

Hillary Clinton has spoken out today to warn about the fake news epidemic sweeping the world. Clinton went as far as to say that "lives are at risk" from fake news, the day after Pope Francis compared reading fake news to eating poop. (Side note: with real news like that, who needs the fake stuff?)

The sweeping distrust in fake news has caused some confusion, however, as many are unsure about how to actually tell the reals and the fakes apart. Short from seeing whether the logo will scratch off and asking the man from the market where he got it from, how can you really identify fake news? Take our test to see whether you have all the answers.

 

 

In all seriousness, many claim that identifying fake news is a simple matter of checking the source and disbelieving anything "too good to be true". Unfortunately, however, fake news outlets post real stories too, and real news outlets often slip up and publish the fakes. Use fact-checking websites like Snopes to really get to the bottom of a story, and always do a quick Google before you share anything. 

Amelia Tait is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman.