A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Ed M in his own words

I know that many of my regular readers are hesitant about voting for Ed Miliband because of the media narrative that he is somehow a left candidate with a core vote strategy.

My take is he doesn't fit neatly into either left or right of the Party - he's fundamentally a modernising and change candidate.

If you are on the right of the Party and haven't voted yet you should read these things that he said in a speech last week:

"It’s not a choice between Old Labour or New Labour
A core vote or middle England.
The question for us in this contest is: can we have the courage to recognise the scale of the change needed after one defeat, not after four as we had to do after 1992.I believe that we must choose change.
Ideologically, because I believe we lost our way and got trapped in old ways of thinking.
Electorally, because the electoral map has changed."

"New Labour: right for its time – but it was formed sixteen years ago and now we need to move on."

"In 1994, Tony Blair told our party that our values were still the right values but that we got stuck in outdated ideas. He was right then.And some of the truths of that time we must retain: we still need to speak to all sections of society, we still need to create wealth as well as distribute it, we still need to ally social justice and economic success."

"New Labour: right to embrace markets, but the ghosts of the 1980s meant we couldn’t recognise their limits."

"The challenge for 1990s Labour under Tony Blair was to attract back middle-income voters, particularly those who had gone to the Tories. The challenge for us now is bigger:to attract back both middle-income voters and low-income voters."

"There are no false choices to be made here between appealing to one part of the electorate or the other.The choice is whether we recognise that it is all parts of the electorate that we need to win back, not just one."

"I disagree with those in my party who argue for renationalisation of the utilities or the abolition of Labour’s academy schools. If elected, I will lead this party, I will tell it hard truths and I will change this party.But it’s not naive, it’s rational to say that on agency workers, on housing, on tuition fees our members got it right and we got it wrong."

"We do need to reduce the deficit but politics must be bigger than that.Remember our history. After 1945, with the biggest deficit in our history, that Labour government set out the vision of a good society---for a new welfare state and a new economy."

"Thirty years ago next year, tragically the Labour party split and the Limehouse Declaration set up the Council on social Democracy which led to the SDP."

"I believe there is a progressive majority in Britain and I want Labour to be its home.Some will join Labour, some will want to work with us to stop the damage this coalition is doing. But in order to win people back, in order to be the natural home of the progressive majority, my party must take a journey too, understanding why people did not vote for us and voted for others instead."

"My leadership will is not the soft option. We will not always agree. I’m not the candidate for an easy life."


Blogger TeonGordon said...

He definitely says all the right things here. Personally, I think that Ed has a more human touch than David, which makes him someone that is easy to relate to. If he can contain himself from a knee-jerk move to the Far Left, whilst still making a priority those issues that really concern ordinary voters (housing, decent wages, etc) then he might stand a chance.

1:10 pm, September 03, 2010

Anonymous Ben said...

He is quite right about agency workers. (As a Blairite) I never understood the Blairite antipathy towards the rights at work agenda. But if Ed really thinks that the answer to higher education funding is to abolish tuition fees, then he's barking. The current system works and is fair. In any case, the elder brother clearly has the heavyweight experience. In the nicest possible way, I don't think climate change sec really cuts it in the face of the enormous challenges ahead. I want a leader who has a proven track record at the highest level.

2:47 pm, September 03, 2010

Blogger snowflake5 said...

EdM is definitely not as left wing as some are portraying, and in terms of character he is very sound - I like that his constituency home is a modest two-up-two-down that he rents and hardly costs the taxpayer much, and that it never even occurred to him to milk the system.

But do you think he's tough enough for the job? Politics is a brutal sport, it's not for the faint-hearted. Look at what happened to Gord. None of the current candidates come close to Teflon Tone. And with Tone, they attacked his family as a proxy for attacking him.

It's sad that we have to look at candidates and assess their weaknesses and ask "can our enemies exploit this". The days when we simply said "he's a good man and represents my values" and voted accordingly are gone.

I already know how the Tories are going to attack the Miliband brothers, because everytime I write about them I get comments, usually anonymous, about "Marxism", or inheritance tax or Jewishness (even though they are atheists and in Britain you get to choose whether you have a religion or not!) They are trying to frame them before they've even got the benefit of a leadership boost, and this is the same modus operandi applied in the lead up to Brown taking over in 2007. It didn't happen to Blair only because the Tories hadn't expected John Smith to die in 1994 and therefore hadn't prepared.

3:12 pm, September 03, 2010

Anonymous M said...

"He definitely says all the right things here".

Yes, but only because it suits him now. He will go back on every campaign pledge in the same way he shamelessly rejected the manifesto he wrote only weeks before.

David is consistent and that's why, after Diane Abbott, he will get my vote.

7:42 pm, September 03, 2010

Blogger TeonGordon said...

@ snowflake5
'It's sad that we have to look at candidates and assess their weaknesses and ask "can our enemies exploit this". The days when we simply said "he's a good man and represents my values" and voted accordingly are gone.'

Yep, and until the likes of The Sun and The News of The World are taken down a peg or three, politicians will always have to be looking over their shoulder. Our politicians are now answerable to Murdoch, nobody else. How sad, not to mention undemocratic!

11:31 pm, September 03, 2010

Anonymous Delbert Wilkins said...

I hate to say it, but if David Miliband doesn't win the leadership there'll be a lot of people that seriously question whether they want to be members of the Labour Party. He's been far and away the most consistent candidate and is absolutely the only one who has in any way displayed the calibre of a prime minister. The rest have been incredibly disingenuous in the way they've positioned themselves. Ed talks about getting away from the Blair / Brown scenario - he's effectively created the same thing. It's common knowledge that he talked his brother out of standing against Brown on the basis that he'd get a fair shot - and then the bastard stands against him. I've had enough of this internecine bollocks thanks to Brown, Brown, Balls etc. You can't talk about loyalty in one breath and then defy it in the next. David Miliband is the only choice. Quite frankly we should all just get behind him. Then we might actually be able to move on from the nightmare that we're struggling to leave behind.

12:44 am, September 04, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget it was Labour that bankrupted the country by getting us into 2 wars we were not able to afford?

Afghanistan could not be conquered by 3 million tough soviet troops on their door step, so why should the USA and Britain do it?

Privately Tony Blair reckons Saddam was actually keeping the peace in Iraq and it was a massive mistake getting rid of him at least he would kill al-Qaeda scum!

Sorry but Labour failed us!

1:41 am, September 04, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have not got the right to vote as Labour expelled 80,000 RMT members, because Bob crow was doing his job properly representing the working classes in his Union!

1:44 am, September 04, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's right that there's an overlap between core vote and middle England, but when it comes to an issue where that is true he ends up failing the test and siding with the 80s left comfort zone where he was incubated.

9:12 am, September 04, 2010

Blogger Stephen said...

The trouble is I feel I can't trust Ed, even if he is more human than David.

I think David is wonky, weird, slightly inhuman but he seems to beat his brother on judgement and integrity.

I hate Ed's glib volte face over the war. Our response to George Bush trying to start WW3 was the least worst one possible. It's time we stood up for ourselves and asked real questions about what actual credible alternatives we had at the time.

His lack of judgement in believing in Gordon and the politics of academic arrogance also worries me - it's part of what makes Balls so utterly unattractive.

And finally what of the economy?
We got profligate & wasteful with the public sector and ignored the people telling us so.

We should have cracked down on Tory expenses in 97 instead of turning a blind eye because those moats etc have cost us, not them ultimately.

We should have had PR across England to protect ordinary English people from Conservatism- not fought electoral reform tooth & nail other than in places where it only hurt us.

Now as I write this, I can see what I have to do now my ballot paper has arrived.

11:51 am, September 04, 2010

Blogger Stephen said...

@anonymous 1.41am & 1.44am

You did have the right to vote.
You could have joined the party.

It's hard to have any sympathy for your bleating, without it being propped up by £40 of your hard earned cash.

The way I look at it, you failed Labour.

11:58 am, September 04, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The religion question came up yesterday on 'Any Questions'and Ed Miliband gave a very clear answer.

I remember years ago when Kinnock was asked a similar question and he droned on for what seemed like days but could only have been a few seconds really! And yet Kinnock was 'everbody's choice' to win in 1983 just as David Miliband is now.

My advice: tread carefully. These attacks on Ed Miliband will soon fail if he stands up to them. If he has problems, then do not discount the possibility that these can be brought to his attention and that he can resolve them.

As someone who last voted Labour in 2001, I hope Diane Abbott wins but Ed Miliband would be a sound second choice. The policy differences between him and his brother are well worth having.

To all those who have a vote, I say 'Vote your hopes and not your fears!'

Thank you.

12:19 pm, September 04, 2010

Blogger John Wiseman said...

Ed will win and sink new labour and I agree with Luke on this one! yes you heard me agreed with luke

John Wiseman

2:48 pm, September 04, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I look at Ed M and instantly feel slightly nauseous. Can't quite pin it but there is something about the twist of his face, a certain leer, a snide look that turns me right off him.

Add his opportunism, his treachery towards his older brother, his disloyalty to his former boss and it doesn't add up to much of a character. Is this really what the party is reduced to as an heir to Attlee, Gaitskell, Wilson, Smith and Blair.

9:06 pm, September 04, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...
I have not got the right to vote as Labour expelled 80,000 RMT members, because Bob crow was doing his job properly representing the working classes in his Union!"

RMT was dissfialited for funding rival candidates; a tfo called the Scottish Socialist Party.

Was BC was doing a job by restraining elements more far-left and adventurist than himself?

10:12 pm, September 04, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RMT was dissfialited for funding rival candidates; a tfo called the Scottish Socialist Party.

Was BC was doing a job by restraining elements more far-left and adventurist than himself?

Only 1 Scottish branch did this and that was enough to expel 80,000 members of the Lasbour party how stupid is that?

Comrade Bob Crow only represents his members and is democratically mandated by them, which is a lot more better than the Labour party that actually ignore passes resolutions at conference-a few years ago the labour conference voted on full Nationalisation of the railways, but Mandelson and Blair ripped it up-the Labour party is not democratic that's why membership has shrunk well below 200,000.

1:45 am, September 05, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

80,000 members the Labour party lost and the RMT is not a far left organisation its a democratic union Bob has to do what the members tell him unlike the Labour party that ignores its members resolutions at conference.Bob Crow is actually a very good person who listens to his members and does what they want.

Would any other organisation expel 80,000 members because of the actions of a small branch in Scotland a different country any way?

12:00 am, September 06, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was the very right wing Tory policies Blair imposed on us that got us into bankruptcy-Just like Nigel Lawson's economic miracle that caused boom and bust Blair carried on Lawson policies of de-regulation seeing over-borrowing to finance the astronomical hyper housing inflation.

The Con/Dems coalition is the same old story we are paying the price for the bankers mess and once house prices go up again they will bask in it and call it economic growth-so same old cycle of boom and bust seen it all before

12:01 am, September 06, 2010

Blogger Merseymike said...

I agree that the left-right distinction isn't particularly useful.

I think that Ed clearly states two things which David doesn't.

First, he has a social democratic rather than a liberal understanding of the role of the state. This is often obscured or not considered, but it is actually vitally important

Second, I think he has a much former commitment to equality and the use of fiscal measures to achieve it. This can be seen as 'left-wing' but its actually very much within the egalitarian centre-right tradition of Tony Crosland and Roy Hattersley, and was the main area of traditional right-wing social democracy which differed from New Labour who were much more comfortable with wealth and, inevitably, inequality.

6:52 am, September 06, 2010

Blogger Elizannie said...

I don't like disagreeing, Luke, but this is why I am voting for Ed Balls: http://rephidimstreet.blogspot.com/2010/09/who-should-i-vote-for.html

2:45 pm, September 06, 2010

Blogger Miller 2.0 said...

"his treachery towards his older brother"

What on earth are you on about? Do people in Labour really believe that people should sit back and not speak up simply because they happen to have been born second rather than first?

6:05 pm, September 06, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miller 2.0, it has nothing to do with being the first born, though some would argue that eldest first then Ed's turn may come, but more about happenings some eighteen months ago. Then, when David should have launched a challenge to Brown's leadership, Ed was instrumental in persuading him to wait.

David duly waited, when he would have almost certainly won back then, whilst Ed hedged his bets on the outside chance of a Brown general election victory and thus still being in favour. Then, some would say rather treacherously and when Brown has gone, decides to challenge his brother for the leadership. A post, but for Ed's brotherly advice, David would have already almost certainly held.

Trouble with this scenario is that it has all the ingredients, especially if Ed wins, for a repeat performance of the Blair/Brown division and opposing camps.

11:48 am, September 07, 2010

Anonymous Rich said...

Not everyone wants to go into higher education, but does that mean they should suffer in poverty because the market stipulates how much they are worth.

Does Bob Diamond work any harder than a care worker? I very much doubt it, but one earns millions a year and the other barely earns enough to feed themselves.

I'm not saying a care worker should earn as much as the chief exec of Barclays but they should earn enough to be able to live comfortably and buy a modest home.

New Labour allowed the housing bubble to thrive with the end result being that many low income households could hardly afford to put a roof over their heads. Yet the likes of Bob Diamond made millions off the back of Labours obsession with the market,

Labour party was established to give a voice to the average joe. Funded by the unions the party was there to fight for working people. Yet the last government did the complete opposite. Mass immigration kept down inflation but also wages, property boom destroyed the chances of a generation of ever owning a home and the consequential crash has meant that millions have lost homes and jobs.

Left or right is not important, this is purely academic.

10:28 am, September 08, 2010

Blogger Bluenote said...

Rich, whilst I would think that many of us agree with much of what you say about the failures of New Labour and the catastrophic effect of the over inflated housing market, it remains probable that without Blair and New Labour there would have been no victory in 1997 or subsequently.

That, of course, brings us back to leadership and your contribution, however creditable, lends nothing to that debate.

I think it is a bit like history repeating itself, for Blair read David M and electoral success and, for Brown, read ED M and failure.

11:51 am, September 08, 2010


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