The unfairness of Ed Miliband


by Don Paskini    
6:24 pm - May 15th 2010

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Since the election there have been a slew of former Labour ministers keen to tell us that Labour needs to change by listening to the voters and their concerns. The speeches and articles are sprinkled with anecdotes from conversations that these ex-ministers had with voters in their constituencies.

In many cases it is obvious that going and talking to voters had been a rather novel activity.

Ed Miliband’s speech today, in which he announced himself as a candidate for Labour leader, gave two particularly obnoxious examples of this genre. On immigration, he announced that:

But the truth is that immigration is a class issue. If you want to employ a builder it’s good to have people you can take on at lower cost, but if you are a builder it feels like a threat to your livelihood.

And we never had an answer for the people who were worried about it.

When competition is driving down your wages and your pension rights, saying globalisation is good for you and for the economy as a whole is an example of what I mean about becoming a technocrat. Because it is a good answer for economists but it is no answer for the people of Britain.

So, for that voter in my constituency, and many others, we need to rediscover our sense of progressive mission.

And on what he charmingly calls “people at the other end of society”:

And if we didn’t do enough to enforce fairness at the top, nor did we do enough to enforce it at the bottom. I am a great defender of the welfare state. It is what a civilised society depends upon.

But the night before the election I was in my constituency and I met a guy who had done well under Labour.

And he said, look, I am not voting for you. I’ve voted Labour all my life but I am working all the hours that God sends to make a decent living, and yet, he felt, that there are people down the street who could work but were not doing so.

Now we know we did act on this issue, but perhaps too late. We have hard thinking to do

We need to re-found the welfare state: not just on need, but also on the original Beveridge mission of responsibility and contribution.

Firstly, Miliband’s responses to these concerns are waffle and drivel (what’s a “sense of progressive mission” when it is at home? How should we “re-found the welfare state”?)

But more than that, he treats migrant workers and unemployed people as unPeople, unworthy of mention except as a problem who need to be dealt with by the Labour Party adopting different policies.

In the cause, ironically, of “fairness”.

This is the Margaret Hodge c. 2006 approach, where an out of touch government minister goes and visits the little people in the provinces for the first time in many years and finds that they hold different opinions from people at Westminster, and announces that something must be done.

It is not “fair” for wannabe Labour leaders to repeat right-wing rhetoric and call for their party to make life even harder for migrant workers and unemployed people, and as Barking in 2006 showed, it isn’t effective either.

“Addressing concerns” about immigration led to Labour ministers passing laws to lock children up and force people to leave Britain through the threat of starvation. Under any conceivable definition of a “progressive mission” we need a different and more humane approach.

Miliband should take his own advice, and learn from Labour’s successful campaigns in the recent elections. In the areas where Labour were successful, they didn’t spend their time going on about the need to change immigration policy or welfare reform.

Instead they mobilised volunteers – from all sections of the community including migrants and unemployed people – to help people, take up and sort out problems, and do effective grassroots campaigning all year round, with hard-working candidates rooted in their communities.

Labour needs a leader who understands that this is what is needed, and who is committed to making sure that we campaign in every community and that our policies nationally reflect and draw on the experience of people at the grassroots. That’s the way to make Britain fairer.

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About the author
Don Paskini is deputy-editor of LC. He also blogs at donpaskini. He is on twitter as @donpaskini
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Reader comments


1. political_animal

He sounds like some sort of bigoted man.

Excellent analysis Don. I have one from a different angle at my place, not so critical as I don’t touch on the points you (rightfully) identify, but more pointing out that E-Mil just doesn’t have that spark that you need from a successful leader.

Regarding your piece specifically: what really hacks me off is this myth that’s being created in Labour circles that immigration was some sort of ignored issue by the party – that NewLab policy was Islington-lite, i.e. handing down lectures on the niceness of immigration and not engaging with the terrible yobs who think otherwise. But this is complete horseshit. NewLab policy included 5 restrictive immigration acts, putting children into detention centres (read: prison) and pandering to everything and anything that came out of the Daily Mail/ Sun – whom the party was frequently actively colluding with.

I thought Sunder Katwala was very good on pointing this out earlier today on the panel debate after Miliband’s leadership speech, and your piece hits the same sort of notes and i’m with you on that. Labour has to be very careful about deluding itself into thinking it wasn’t tough enough on immigration – so the answer is to get tough. What the last 13 years actually shows is that getting tough doesn’t placate the right and it doesn’t make the issue go away. We should try a new approach – the kind you lay out here.

I agree, Ed will have to far more to make me think that he truly cares about anything.

What people want is a home, a job, health, (if they have children) education and a pension. I want to find out what Ed’s core principles are on these, not actual policies, but what his core principles are.

His speech was pretty vacuous.

I am not sure the contenders should even be making speeches now. I think it would be better for them to tour the country and talk to real people, out of the eye of the Press (like how Adonis, when he was made Transport Minister, travelled on all of the country’s railway lines so that he saw for himself what the issues were). The concerns over immigrants and “welfare scroungers” are caused by the lack of homes, jobs etc, and not created by immigrants and “welfare scroungers”.

Learn, Ed, Learn. Then find a way to give us homes, jobs, health, education and a pension. Oh and please, apologise for that vacuous excuse for a manifesto.

“It is not ‘fair’ for wannabe Labour leaders to repeat right-wing rhetoric”

Try focusing instead on the evidence of Professor Robert Rowthorn to the House of Lords Select Committee on Economics Affairs, Session 2007-8:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldselect/ldeconaf/82/82ii.pdf

Rowthorn is not your stereotypical “right-winger” – as the Wiki entry for him says, “Many of his publications have a Marxist slant”:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Rowthorn

I agree with Dom’s analysis entirely.

Why can’t Labour just elect a normal person as Leader? Someone who speaks like normal people, who doesn’t come across as a technocrat or an Oxbridge swot. And, above all, someone who doesn’t automatically bow down to right-wing myths in an attempt to woo voters. Someone able to say just one or two things to reconnect with the vast masses of disillusioned former Labour voters who recently took the double blow of being conned by the Lib Dems as well.

For a start, Labour’s new leader should at least apologise for Iraq. I believe that alone would mark a massive, though symbolic, shift. Even if they voted for it back in 2003 (like Cruddas). Just say that you recognise it was wrong. That would definitely ignite some energy.

Milliband is simply echoing the kind of things I have heard complained of again and again. These are real concerns for some people such as the builders who most recently complained to me. Whether they are true may be another matter but they seemed real to the people complaining. Its another new labour failure that this narrative still exists, not helped by crap like, “British jobs for British workers.”

Its all very well taking a broad view but if people believe stuff like this and can’t get decent health services, social services, policing or housing when they need it then such failures reinforce the prejudice underlying these complaints. There lies Millibroon and his chums’ failure.

7. Chris Baldwin

Indeed, immigration was far from ignored. I read the manifesto and it was certainly given a fair amount of prominence. Maybe Ed Miliband should consider whether some of the people he talks to might just be wrong on immigration.

“Someone who speaks like normal people, who doesn’t come across as a technocrat or an Oxbridge swot”

Let’s see of Labour leaders since WW2, Attlee was an Oxford graduate, as were Hugh Gaitskell and Harold Wilson.

Of course, Sunny Jim Callaghan, the Labour PM who junked Keynesian economics, wasn’t a graduate:

“We used to think that you could spend your way out of a recession and increase employment by cutting taxes and boosting government spending. I tell you in all candour that that option no longer exists, and in so far as it ever did exist, it only worked on each occasion since the war by injecting a bigger dose of inflation into the economy, followed by a higher level of unemployment as the next step.”
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/James_Callaghan

Michael Foot was another Oxford grad but Neil Kinnock was a graduate from Cardiff University and John Smith a graduate of Glasgow. Back to Oxford with Tony Blair and then to Edinburgh with Gordon Brown.

The concerns over immigrants and “welfare scroungers” are caused by the lack of homes, jobs etc, and not created by immigrants and “welfare scroungers”.

And there’s no relation between wages, unemployment and the number of people ?

Jon Cruddas, 2005 :

“… immigration has been used as an informal reserve army of cheap labour. People see this at their workplace, feel it in their pocket and see it in their community – and therefore perceive it as a critical component of their own relative impoverishment. Objectively, the social wage of many of my constituents is in decline. House prices rise inexorably, and public service improvements fail to match local population expansion. At work, their conditions, in real terms, are in decline through the unregulated use of cheap migrant labour.”

Billy Bragg, 2010 :

“Everyone else in London benefits from multiculturalism and cheap labour…”

Karl Marx, 1847 : “The main purpose of the bourgeois in relation to the worker is, of course, to have the commodity labour as cheaply as possible, which is only possible when the supply of this commodity is as large as possible in relation to the demand for it”

@8 Bob

It’s well known that they were mostly Oxbridge graduates.

The point is that most of those people really come across as pompous. Which is what the Labour Party can really do without at the moment, given that for 13 years most (not all, but most) top Labour people that appeared on TV came across as proper on-message automata.

Labour needs someone able to reconnect.

To follow Gordon Brown with any of the Milibands would be a massive mistake.

I was watching Mehdi Hasan’s performance on BBC Question Time on Thursday night. I know most of you will disagree and I’m aware this is Fantasy Politics. But that’s the kind of oratory that would reignite passion and energy on the left: someone able to debate with cojones; who speaks clearly and normally; passionate and not pompous.

Is there any way we can convince Hasan to throw his hat into the ring :-)?

@10

Unfortunately there are plenty of journos who’d be better LP leaders than Dave’n'Ed but you do have to be an MP, I suspect…

I mean hell if Eddie Izzard or Stephen Fry would stand they’d win the next election with a landslide :D

12. Chris Baldwin

Personally, I like the technocratic style. Give me that Cameron and Clegg’s patronising style any day.

13. Chris Baldwin

Er, insert the word “over” into that last comment.

Claude @10: “It’s well known that they were mostly Oxbridge graduates.”

But none of the Labour leaders graduated from Cambridge. This is more significant than it may seem – Oxford dominates over Cambridge in politics by a long way.

“The point is that most of those people really come across as pompous”

Not so IMO. Mind you, it was said that Harold Wilson revived and cultivated the Yorkshire accent of his youth.

Never mind the Labour rhetoric stuff. Whoever leads the Labour Party into the next general election will have a mountain to climb establishing credibility for competence after the performance of New Labour in government – unless, of course, Cameron makes a complete pig’s ear of coalition politics.

Focusing here just on the immigration issue avoids facing the major mistakes made in managing the economy as well as all the deceits in taking us into the Iraq war. The big achievement of Tony Blair was in collecting a nice little personal nestegg of £12 millions.

Why listen to him? I mean, I don’t want to be a cynical Celia but can there be any doubt that he’d read the A to Z in Nadsat if it’d get him selected?

16. paul barker

I notice only one of you even mentions Iraq & even then only asks for an apology. What about an apology from all of you who supported Labour in any way ? you all have blood on your hands.

A pretty astute article in my opinion – Ed Milliband’s comments, ironically, illustrate perfectly just how far removed from the populus the Labour Party hierarchy has become. So in recognising the need to reconnect with us common folk should we give him credit and the opportunity to listen and act or dismiss it as platitudal garbage?

18. Just a thought

A lot of astute analysis here.
I agree that there is a need for a sensitive approach to immigration, one that is truly progressive.
I think however, that there is a naivity about the actual perception of the issue in the wider community of these isles.

In response to…

“Immigration was far from ignored. I read the manifesto and it was certainly given a fair amount of prominence. Ed Miliband should consider whether some of the people he talks to might just be wrong on immigration”

Yes – the issue was given a good outing at the election. But how much debate has there been in open society about immigration before that? There has been a severe lack of sensible and substantive debate in a wider public arena for years.

The electorate need politicians to credit them with sufficient ability to be able to engage with such a debate. I don’t see – that some of the people “he talks to might be wrong” – so much as lacking the benefits of a informed discussion on the subject. Let’s not attack voters….surely that just takes us back to Rochdale?

It’s easy for the politically engaged to pat themselves on the back and critique the finer points of the immigration issue. But we need a politics that can reach out to everyone. That’s surely the difference between being a technocrat and communicator…

@16

If Iraq is the only thing that bothers you then Ed Miliband is your man, after all he wasn’t elected until 2005…when we were bombing the shit out of Baghdad he was studing at Harvard’s Centre for European Studies.

20. Charlie 2

4. Bob b. Did any of the authors actually visit construction sites and the pubs builders drink in and actually talk with them ?. The table of contents does not seem to list many builders. Perhaps contributors should spend a year working on constructio sites, if they can get the work and listen to British builders.

People should consider the downward pressure on wages from immigration. A Reduction in salary from £30k to £25K or £25K to £20K is a major reduction in one’s spending power. Many builders need the high salaries of the boom time to make it through the bad times: the construction industry has always been highly cyclic. Those spending their lives on welfare has turned many hard working honest working class people into Tory voters.

Oxford is marmalade and manners and Cambridge is sausages and sums. Oxford is more geared to developing the erudition and debating skills required for politics. Cambridge which is more geared more to science and engineering which requires a closer regard of facts , one could say substance over style.

21. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

Nothing new, same old Blairite shit. Tell the proles they can simultaneously have globalisation without having globalisation.

DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells @ 21,

The Labour Party may fail mightily if it does not start to address that issue directly. It seems odd to me that it runs away scared every time it is raised.

I do not think most people appreciate the extent to which freedom of capital movement is allowed, yet freedom of labour movement is condemned.

There is something just wrong about externalising exploitation. If we see a cheap T-shirt as morally free at the point of use, yet the ubiquitous Polish plumber is to be condemned, we are all living in on a fantasy planet.

23. Cassandra

“Born in London, Miliband is the son of Polish Jewish immigrants Marion Kozak and the late Marxist intellectual Ralph Miliband”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Miliband

Hypocritical little shit much ?

Cassandra,

Seems obvious to me. Seems less obvious to others…

25. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

The Labour Party may fail mightily if it does not start to address that issue directly. It seems odd to me that it runs away scared every time it is raised.

I’d argue the inability (and/or unwillingness) to reconcile the free market with the heavy regulation (alluded to or actually performed) of labour is an issue for the three major parties.

Politicians treating those who are less economically literate as idiots is going to end badly for all concerned. When it really hits home that they can’t have it both ways they are not going to be pleased.

I do not think most people appreciate the extent to which freedom of capital movement is allowed, yet freedom of labour movement is condemned.

Woah there ducky, nobody relevant condemns our migration, we’re fucking great, after all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLZaPO-s6IM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aCDp0OxHqU

(seriously, watch those if you’ve got the time, they’re rather amusing.)

There is something just wrong about externalising exploitation. If we see a cheap T-shirt as morally free at the point of use, yet the ubiquitous Polish plumber is to be condemned, we are all living in on a fantasy planet.

I had the misfortune to once listen to radio 5, there was a discussion about some supermarket or other that was selling jeans for £5. A litany of callers praised this as a miracle of the free market, not one questioned the circumstances or conditions of their manufacture. There are vast swathes of people in this country who seem to believe that globalisation was a way of replacing the empire – exclusively existing to serve WASP desires…..

SURPRISE.

I hope either he, his brother, Ed Balls or Andy Burnham or even Jon Cruddas become leader – which one makes no difference – because it will just consign Labour to another spell in opposition after the next election.

I think the best thing Labour could do is disband, so its members can start from scratch. No organisation with such historical baggage, and the last 13 years has destroyed any semblance of the party being “progressive”, can “renew” itself. It has to die. Then maybe its constituent parts can do something else more useful and meaningful.

Oops, I’ll try again.

I completely agree with DisgustedOf TunbridgeWells. There is a complete utter hypocricy going on here. Mummy and Daddy can be shoved off to warmer climes, without the slightest recognition that they are a burden on the welfare states of Spain, Portugal and Greece, etc. That is acceptable conduct for Brits, without any recognition that it is a benefit of EU integration. It is a breathtaking example of blind stupidity…..

It is less than neighbourly to pretend that that isn’t an advantage. It is unbelievable that ‘ex-pat’ writes shite about the UK. And they do, in droves. Bunch of wankers, the lot of them.

And he or (s)he is obviously right about the price of jeans. We are a thoroughly exploitive nation, worse, perhaps than when we had a ‘glorious’ empire.

This blindness to what the current iteration of globalisation actually is, is exploitation by the currently wealthy West of labour we would prefer to remain invisible and foreign. Out of sight, out of mind….

It is a pathetic lack of solidarity.

blanco,

I am no fan of the Labour Party, but your utter contempt for them @ 26 makes me feel a tad more favourable to them.

What is your excuse for the Tories voting for the invasion of Iraq when millions marched against it?

Warfare as political destiny?

Seems to me that the Tories love wars, no matter how stupid they might be. War is a default position for your lot. Mark my words. I doubt the Liberals will be able to stop us doing some form of madness, such as extending Afghanistan to Pakistan, or bomb, bomb bombing Iran.

This is the failure of the alliance that I fear. Ludicrous hubris.

No to you, and no to yours.

Douglas. I am of the left. But I am genuinely convinced that Labour has outlived its usefulness as a vehicle for social and “Progressive” change. Even the good things they did in office, such as increase spending on public services etc, are now revealed to have been mirages. Rather than try and change this country for the better, they chose to try and bribe it with goodies. They ran up a huge bill, deliberately leaving the state finances in a mess that someone else would have to clear up. No doubt we will be hearing over the next few years about how great life was under New Labour, and if we vote to get them back then everything will be rosy again.

Look at the declared and viable leadership candidates, Douglas. Were where any of them when we needed them to speak out against the war in Iraq? Even Cruddas voted for it – in fact, despite somehow passing himself off as “left wing”, his voting record is terrible. Look it up.

Do any of these men give you hope that Labour understand why it messed up so badly in government? I don’t. The membership and even the Unions have showed themselves to be powerless to stop Labour government policy. So what’s the point? They need to die, perhaps in order to be reborn. I do think, sadly, they will die a slow death, much like the old Liberal party did over the twentieth century.

I just hope the next time Labour or its successor party/parties are in government, they have learnt from the last 13 years. Right now, all I’m seeing in the “where did we go wrong” articles is “we weren’t tough enough on immigration”. Git tae ta fuck

“Addressing concerns” about immigration led to Labour ministers passing laws to lock children up”

Why are you so dismissive of the fact that the new coalition government have ordered an end to such vile practices, Dan Paskins?

blanco @ 30,

I think I largely agree with that.

Do any of these men give you hope that Labour understand why it messed up so badly in government?

No, they don’t. They are still all stuck in some sort of denialism. That, for instance their view that we are not people and that an identity card makes us so is not much short of insulting. That Gordon Brown’s PFI wasn’t just Conservatism by another name. That the extent of consultancy for government rather redacted what government ought to be about?

Sure, I agree with all of that, and probably much more besides.

I think that, for Labour to be re-electable, they need root and branch reform. And a genuine commitment to an idea, rather than managerialism. They ought to have an idea or two.

Do they though?

They could, for instance, have agreed with Nick Clegg that we demonise people that have lived here for a long time, committed no crimes and are hiding in the black economy. They could have said, well, yes, that is a reasoned and reasonable point of view, rather than acting like a shower of focus group heroin addicts. It is pointless to have consensus government unless they stand up, once in a while, and tell us when we – the great Great British Public – are talking mince. Most folk don’t care too much about politics.

I am not convinced that giving a free reign to the Tories is any sort of answer to the question. You write here, and you write sensibly. There is another path to be pursued and it is certainly not New Labour. It is independent thought, which you display.

It is obvious that the Labour Party has to give up completely on the ludicrous idea that the state should extend control over individuals, at least I think so. This concept of the state as more important than the individual is a nonsense that ought to be buried in any ‘bonfire of the vanities’. I think New Labour will find that very hard to do.

They believe that governmant knows best, when it is pretty obvious that they don’t.

Government, not governmant, obviously.

Bloody hell.

I need an edit facility, perhaps no-one else does?

34. Amy Clare

Funny how these ‘normal people’ the politicians speak to always back up what they wanted to say anyway, isn’t it? It’s almost as though they ignore anyone who disagrees with them!

Regarding welfare, I’m sure there are many disgruntled voters out there blaming the sick and unemployed for their problems – but this view is nurtured by the stern New Labour adverts targeting ‘benefit cheats’, and many a speech promising to ‘get people back to work’. If this is what is presented as The Big Problem Facing Our Society then this is how a lot of people are going to see it – unfortunately many people accept the scapegoats that are given to them on a plate, without questioning who is really taking the mick, who really has a sense of entitlement, who is really taking public money unnecessarily.

I could tell Ed M some very different stories, of friends who have been declared ‘fit for work’ despite having serious chronic illnesses, due to James Purnell’s ESA and its Draconian assessment process. If he talked to me I could tell him that I want a compassionate welfare state that supports people and helps them get bakc on their feet, or supports them for life if necessary, and I’d like to see closures of tax loopholes and the abolition of tax havens. Y’know, left wing stuff that the Labour party is supposed to be interested in.

I would love it if just once a LP member/MP would criticise tax avoidence as much as they do “welfare cheats”. It costs us far more as a nation (source) and is in my opinion less morally excusable.

36. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

Funny how these ‘normal people’ the politicians speak to always back up what they wanted to say anyway, isn’t it? It’s almost as though they ignore anyone who disagrees with them!

Fictional ingroups/outgroups have been the big ‘advancement’ for bullshit artists over the past 15 years (the silent majority, the law abiding majority, middle england, the PC brigade, etc).

If you’ve got no evidence, just claim it’s what one of the above does or doesn’t think – boom, the instant support of millions.

37. Chris Baldwin

Fundamentally, we don’t need to change our policies on immigration or welfare. We were mostly right on those issues, whether voters agree or not.

38. the a&e charge nurse

Don – is it your position that there is no downside to immigration, or perhaps more correctly, exponential population growth?

OR – is it that there may be downside but we haven’t found a way to talk about it yet?

As to the suitability of Ed Miliband well, it seems to me that either he is not very bright, or highly disingenuous to play the “we are finally listening card”.
One can only assume it’s NOT because he has any real desire to establish what the electorate really think – but because the party is in such disarray?

During the last 13 years NuLab adopted a very similar line to that postulated at [37] especially during the Blair era – i.e. ‘WE’ are right, irrespective of what ‘voters’ say.

39. Matt Munro

@ 37 “Fundamentally, we don’t need to change our policies on immigration or welfare. We were mostly right on those issues, whether voters agree or not.”

And therein lies the root of nulabours defeat. Whatever “mostly right” means, if the elctorate “mostly don’t” agree with you, you will not win. Whether you like it or not, outside of middle class London (migration policy) and the North (welfare) most people believe these two issues are important.

I’m just reading btw that Frank Field has been appointed the LibCon poverty tzar, and presumably will be charged with reviewing the welfare system. Hopefully when he is told to think out of the box, he won’t be sacked for doing just that.

40. Matt Munro

@ 36 “Fictional ingroups/outgroups have been the big ‘advancement’ for bullshit artists over the past 15 years (the silent majority, the law abiding majority, middle england, the PC brigade, etc).”

In/out groups is hardly a new concept (research goes back to 1950s as least). What is new is their profligate use by the sort of spiv sociologists who were hired by the dozen as policy advisors buring the blair years.

A political party may genuinely think that it is right on an issue and the majority of voters are wrong, but in this case it needs to invest a great deal of energy in explaining its policies, with evidence and logic. That rarely happens, of course.

Couldn’t agree more Don. If Ed and others keep meeting ‘hard working families’ complaining about their neighbours scrounging off benefits, have they also tried going next door and finding out some of the issues facing the neighbours? They might find that supporting those people – for example through an enabling rather than punitive benefits system – would not only be the right thing to do but would also bring back the votes of their disgruntled hard workers. Fundamentally if Labour aren’t standing up for people on benefits, often amongst the most vulnerable in society, then who is?

As a Labour voter who can’t quite bring myself to join a party with which I fundamentally disagree over a few issues, a new leader who genuinely rediscovered Labour’s sense of justice for all in society – including immigrants and those on benefits – would be a powerful incentive for me to sign up.

43. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

In/out groups is hardly a new concept (research goes back to 1950s as least).

Never said it was.

“… Labour’s successful campaigns in the recent elections. In the areas where Labour were successful, they didn’t spend their time going on about the need to change immigration policy or welfare reform.”

Jerlmy Corbyn doubled his majority and I can’t imagine him dwelling on such poison in his campaign.

It’s another right-wing con. How about a properly progressive candidate such as John McDonnell?

Getting tougher on immigration and welfare isn’t really likely to restore Labour fortunes at the next election (assuming that’s in 5 years time) as we can be pretty sure that the Con-Lib coalition will have taken most of the sting out of these issues by then. The leadership candidates need to display the vision to deal with what the voters will be concerned about 5 years down the track. There’s no point in fighting the last war all over again.

If anything, taking their rhetorical cues from right-wing populists and the Daily Mail will simply put off many of those who were loyal to Labour this time. And it’s not as if the BNP made serious inroads.

The real reason Labour lost this time was that despite spending a heck of a lot more (maybe an unsustainable amount more) on public services, those services didn’t improve significantly in many people’s perceptions. Labour promised, but didn’t deliver.
Thinking through why that was….. and how come the money got wasted… would be IMHO a more fruitful start.

Sadly, the Labour Party have abandoned their traditional roots and the immigration & unemployment issues have risen up and bit them in the arse. This is entirely Labour’s fault and if the response it in a typical ‘New Labour’ method, i.e. by punishing the weakest in society, then things will only get worse, assuming they can ever get back into power. Of course, if the Tories respond to this in a typical Tory way, then it will get much, much worse for these people anyway. Between a rock and a hard place, for many of the poorest in society.

Over the last 13 years, we have seen the employment rights of those at the lower end of the employment market being eroded to the point where people can be sacked on a whim. Inevitably has meant that an underclass in the labour force has developed. These people have been ousted from the market as East Europeans have consistently out competed them.

Where I live, there is a meat packing plant that has provided many with stable employment over the decades. Of course, with the large influx of Eastern Europeans they have steadily displaced the locals from this factory and there is a surplus of labour in the area. Employment agencies have descended on the area like vultures and almost completely ‘causalised’ the workforce around West Lothian to the extent that the job centres are littered with zero hour contract jobs.

A friend of mine who has worked in said plant for over thirty years sees young men coming in on the Monday work for three hours, then sent home to sit by the phone in case they are needed during the week.

This was exactly the type of thing the Labour Party was set up to tackle. These conditions, nauseatingly described as ‘modernisation’ show up the failings of the NL ‘project’. Whilst they were swaning about getting middle class men in public sector jobs paternity leave, ordinary working class people watched as their terms and conditions were slashed to Victorian levels. These people (rightly or wrongly) immigration undercuts their living standards. Is it right that in this Country that we have reduced people to that of day labourers?

However, it is not really immigration that is the problem; it is the need to appease big business that has meant that traditional labour voters have been kicked in the stones at every time.

That is the problem for which neither the Millibands, Ed Balls , Harman, Johnston or any Blair/Brownite has the answer to. Whoose side are you on when Capital takes on labour, because the NL instinct is to side with capital and try to soften the blow. No-one in New Labour is interested in that meat packers plight, he can go and fuck himself for all they care. Defending terms and conditions was soooo Old Labour. The employment agencies will be given the right to print money and ‘hard working families’ will be expected to go without.

So, when it comes to which flavour of Milliband do you want, I say that both can go and fuck of and join the Tory Party.

Jim,
but Tony Blair would tell you that those workers are “freelancers” and that they’re adapting to the “flexible” need of a “fast-moving 2st century world”…so that makes it alright.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    The unfairness of Ed Miliband http://bit.ly/c7Vflh

  2. Michelle Graham

    RT @libcon: The unfairness of Ed Miliband http://bit.ly/c7Vflh

  3. Sam Kelly

    RT @libcon: The unfairness of Ed Miliband http://bit.ly/c7Vflh

  4. Robert Clayton

    RT @libcon: The unfairness of Ed Miliband http://bit.ly/c7Vflh

  5. Mark Best

    Nay Ed RT: @libcon: The unfairness of Ed Miliband http://bit.ly/c7Vflh

  6. Denny

    Is there an award for exceptional political drivel? "We need to rediscover our sense of progressive mission" Ed Miliband http://is.gd/capsS

  7. TCK GR

    @thegreatgonzo The unfairness of Ed Miliband: Since the election there have been a slew of former Labour ministers… http://bit.ly/cpBLkf

  8. Jonathan Taylor

    RT @libcon: The unfairness of Ed Miliband http://bit.ly/c7Vflh >I agree. Didn't like Ed's speech..

  9. Tony Kennick

    The unfairness of Ed Miliband:

    http://bit.ly/cpBLkf

  10. Rachael Wardell

    RT @libcon: The unfairness of Ed Miliband http://bit.ly/aSFjF4

  11. Gavin Lingiah

    Does Ed Miliband really "get it"? http://bit.ly/c7Vflh

  12. Nadia

    @donpaskini has a point or two on @Ed_Miliband speech today. http://bit.ly/c7Vflh – anyone have a full transcript? #ukpolitics

  13. Tweets that mention Liberal Conspiracy » The unfairness of Ed Miliband -- Topsy.com

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Liberal Conspiracy. Liberal Conspiracy said: The unfairness of Ed Miliband http://bit.ly/c7Vflh [...]

  14. Elly M

    RT @libcon: The unfairness of Ed Miliband http://bit.ly/c7Vflh

  15. sunny hundal

    My colleague @donpaskini not as impressed by @Ed_Miliband speech today. http://bit.ly/c7Vflh. I'll write more on it later

  16. It’s Miliband v Miliband….for the moment…. «

    [...] made its appearance in Ed Miliband’s speech much to the disdain of Don Paskini on Liberal Conspiracy. Don is right that part of rediscovering our core values is not to pander to peoples prejudices [...]

  17. andrew

    Liberal Conspiracy » The unfairness of Ed Miliband: Tweets that mention Liberal Conspiracy » The unfairness of Ed … http://bit.ly/9NcSZ4

  18. Justin Baidoo

    RT @libcon: The unfairness of Ed Miliband http://bit.ly/c7Vflh

  19. earwicga

    RT @libcon The unfairness of Ed Miliband http://bit.ly/9qj34g < great post!

  20. Jericho Admassu

    @Ed_Miliband FYI http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/05/15/the-unfairness-of-ed-miliband/

  21. The Sliver Party

    The unfairness of Ed Miliband http://alturl.com/m2or

  22. TenPercent

    RT @libcon The unfairness of Ed Miliband http://bit.ly/9qj34g

  23. Ellie Robinson

    RT @PeterBowers Reckon I'm going 2 have a hard time choosing between Ed Miliband & Cruddas. <Tis tough.Does this help- http://bit.ly/cr05tf

  24. Liberal Conspiracy » If Ed Miliband wants to be leader he has to get ruthless

    [...] I’m pleased Ed M has entered the race but unlike my colleague Don Paskini, I have a different set of concerns. The first is that of narrative. Ed Miliband churned out a [...]

  25. Daniel Trilling

    Ed Miliband taken to task @libcon over his immigration rhetoric: http://tinyurl.com/388tt6l

  26. Radical Welfare Reforms | Liberal Conspiracy

    [...] in-work poverty requires action on issues such as employers hiring workers on zero hour contracts and requiring them to wait by the phone to see if th…; and action to prevent employers requiring workers to do a four week unpaid work trial at the start [...]

  27. Daniel Trilling

    Good news about Ed – but I hope he has revised his views on immigration and the unemployed: http://tinyurl.com/388tt6l (via @donpaskini)

  28. sunny hundal

    Left cannot give Ed Miliband a free pass, for reasons @donpaskini pointed to earlier http://tinyurl.com/388tt6l (via @danieltrilling)

  29. Moonbootica

    RT @sunny_hundal: Left cannot give Ed Miliband a free pass, for reasons @donpaskini pointed to earlier http://tinyurl.com/388tt6l (via …

  30. NewLeftProject

    RT @sunny_hundal: Left cannot give Ed Miliband a free pass, for reasons @donpaskini pointed to earlier http://tinyurl.com/388tt6l (via …

  31. Scott Redding

    @sunny_hundal "Miliband treats migrant workers/unemployed people as unPeople, unworthy of mention except as a problem" – http://t.co/jDvUxJS





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