How does Cruddas endorsement for David M change things?


6:30 pm - August 25th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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I expected that Cruddas implicitly sided with David Miliband, but didn’t expect an outright endorsement.

There is ton of speculation, outrage and cheering already on Twitter and elsewhere, so here are a few thoughts.

1. Jon Cruddas’ endorsement isn’t entirely out-of-the-blue. David Miliband has been making strong overtures already in two areas that Cruddas is interested in: developing a more ‘solidarity and community based society’ approach to policy, and developing a sense of progressive English patriotism. Both are cited as main reasons by Cruddas in his endorsement.

To that extent I sympathise because Ed Miliband has said nothing on either of those two areas (as far as I’m aware). Though there are people who say that a deal was already done between the two months earlier in return for backing for Cruddas as Labour chair.

In the interests of some left-wing unity – I will say that Jon Cruddas is perfectly within his rights to say that David made more of an attempt to reach out than Ed did, and he went along with the candidate who understood him. However, I am very disappointed with this decision.

2. I’m not entirely convinced most people who support Cruddas strongly are likely to embrace David Miliband’s New Labour centrism. Remember that most Compass members wouldn’t be caught dead supporting the war in Iraq or 42 days detention – issues that Cruddas voted for.

In fact, Jon Trickett, who is now wholeheartedly backing Ed, had to resign from the Compass management committee over the 42 days vote because of the uproar it caused. The idea that Compass members will be easily swayed by Cruddas is naive. Endorsement for Ed by Trickett, New Statesman and Compass (very likely) would also negate any movement.

3. It’s not the end of the world. Jon Cruddas is not afraid to speak his mind, and if David Miliband does become leader, he will push for his ideas and policies anyway. At least the Labour party will have a strong left-wing leader too. He did say in the interview, curiously, that “I disagree with him on a lot of policy”.

4. I hope this doesn’t cause a serious rupture on the left, although quite a few people have said to me tonight that Jon Cruddas’s credibility has fallen in their eyes tonight. Certainly, I’m not wavering in my support for Ed and no one who has contacted me tonight has said they will now vote for David (ideologically, just too far apart). So we’ll have to wait and see if this has any impact outside the personal weight that Cruddas’s vote carries.

Update Jon Trickett has – as expected,released a statement (via Ben Folley):

I was proud to have worked on the “Choose Change” campaign which argued for a renewed Labour Party at the time of Jon Cruddas’s Deputy Leadership bid. This movement was a collective endeavour to put the Party on an election-winning path after the Blair years.

Those who participated in the campaign seeking such progressive change will be very disappointed with Jon’s unilateral decision to back the leadership candidate most clearly identified with the failed policies of the Blair era. The progressive Labour left will continue to argue the case for Choosing Change set against the backdrop of an election defeat and a deepening economic crisis.

Update 2: A statement from general secretary of Compass Gavin Hayes:

Compass is a pluralist not a Stalinist organisation and and we live in a democracy where individuals are entitled to make their own personal views known. Just as Chuka Umunna MP decided to back Ed [Miliband] early on, so Jon Cruddas MP has every right as an individual MP to say who he is supporting.

Jon has expressed his view not that of Compass just as Chuka and others have done so before him. Meanwhile, Compass’s voice will be made known at the end of next week when we publish the result of our ballot. I urge all Compass members to take part in our Labour Leadership ballot.

Neal Lawson also said tonight the pressure group would back whoever their members voted for.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


I think it’s more that Cruddas and David Miliband have always been mates, at least since the time they worked together in Blair’s office, and the recent speeches that DM has given plus his emphasis on community organising have given Cruddas the excuse he needed to come out publicly for DM.

As you say, Cruddas’ record is hardly perfect anyway – the reason he came to prominence is because he said what the rest of the Labour leadership are now saying on affordable housing about a year before they started saying it, and several years after the Labour Party membership as a whole was saying it.

Well, one thing Cruddas endorsement proves is that David Miliband is capable of unifying the party – if you look at the high profile support he has generated from people like Douglas Alexander, Alistair Darling (both key brownites and effective ministers and politicians), Alistair Campbell, Jack Straw and now Cruddas. He also got some of the better talents of the Labour party – such as Jim Murphy.

And may be he is getting support because he can stay away from populism at any costs. Key example the graduate tax. Where the coalition government and the other contenders are falling over themselves to support the tax – he chose not to do so.

Short term popularity gain or long term interest of the country – this is where he beats the other candidates hands down including the new “change” candidate “I did not support the manifesto I wrote” Ed Miliband.

David Miliband, may be getting support because he understands to do good you need to win power – without power the labour party cannot do any good. Class warfare and attacking people who have become successful on their own merits might play well with the Union bosses (who by the way earn more than most middle managers in the country earn) but the population at large does not like it.

It is about empowering people – and pluralism and may be that is why Cruddas supports David Miliband.

Asking if endorsing Miliband 1 destroys Cruddas’ credibility assumes he had some credibility in the first place. His appalling and consistent endorsement of the Iraq war and ensuing human rights violations destroyed any hope of that IMHO. Anything else is just meaningless filler.

This will cause a rupture on the left if it decides to concentrate on pointless infighting, instead of realising that actually the differences between the three main parties are largely neglible; the point is that you have to assert your rights and hold politicians accountable.

The Labour party has unravelled somewhat since the election, and to an extent it is obligated to TUs and the Labour Movement because of its funding. The left should forget about what Cruddas thinks, because it really doesn’t matter, and instead concentrate on what to achieve and then start fighting for it.

“Cruddas is interested in: developing a more ‘solidarity and community based society’ approach to policy, and developing a sense of progressive English patriotism.”

What, like a big society you mean?

David will not be good for Labour.

“I will say that Jon Cruddas is perfectly within his rights to say that David made more of an attempt to reach out than Ed did, and he went along with the candidate who understood him.”

What is this, playground games? Ed did not reach out to me. WTF?

How about what David stands for? New Labour in all its idocy.

So the choice for the voters at the next election will be……..

Right wing tory
Right wing liberal
right wing new Labour

Leaves room shaking head.

4. YES!!! EXACTLY!!!

Why on earth are people clinging onto this idea that Labour is the party of the left? Wake up and smell the neoliberalism people! That ship has sailed!

The WORST mistake Labour could make would be voting in a Blairite (not that any of the leadership candidates are anything but).

Jesus, the Tories might be ‘lower than vermin’ as a fellow Welshman once put it, but at least they do it competently!

5

I know, the tories are taking the country apart are lightening speed, and the labour party are playing like kids “he was nicer to me than him.”

he he –

I would like to see some coherent reasoning as to why David Miliband would be bad for labour and for the country?

No war monger – torture monger answers please.

btw, David Miliband did not support Israeli action on Lebanon which sort of helped Brown to push Blair out. He openly said that Israel’s response was disproportionate and said the same categorically in the Gaza screw up.

7. Shamit

It’s not just about what is best for the UK, it is about what is best for human beings. So please don’t be so dismissive of sanctioning war and torture as though needless and continuing deaths mean nothing.

If you really want to think of it in terms of ‘what’s in it for me?’ well… he was complicit in a governent lying to its electorate and then slowly eroding civil rights to cover the evidence. How is that good for the country?

Extracts from his voting record. Take your pick:

Voted very strongly for the Iraq war
Voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war.
Voted very strongly for introducing foundation hospitals.
Voted very strongly for replacing Trident.
Voted very strongly for Labour’s anti-terrorism laws.
Voted moderately against laws to stop climate change.
Voted strongly for introducing student top-up fees.
Voted strongly for allowing ministers to intervene in inquests.
Voted strongly for introducing ID cards.
Voted strongly for a stricter asylum system.

I’m so amazed at how disgust over the Iraq war is now twisted into hysteria. Yeah , you’re right. Hundreds and thousands of deaths DOES pale in comparison to uniting Alistair Darling and Ed Balls. Jesus, when you’ve got apologists like that it’s little wonder Blair is a fucking peace envoy.

I would like to see some coherent reasoning as to why David Miliband would be bad for labour and for the country?

Simple reason actually – that Blairist centrism reduced the Labour vote massively over the past 13 years. Just from 2005 to 2010, the number of people who identified as Labour dropped from 44% to 34% and an even less number of people voted for them. You can’t blame this all on Gordon Brown – it was primarily because lots of people on the left just stayed at home rather than voting for the party because they were disgusted by it. How does David M plan to bring them back into the fold?

Oh Sunny, must you be so magnanimous!

David does not intend brining them back, he thinks he has a better plan getting the Tories back in by becoming one of them not hard really

“No war monger – torture monger answers please.”

Yea, because lying about going to war, and then carrying out torture is such small beer.

He does not think New Labour did anything wrong on civil liberties. In fact I have yet to here him lay out any real reason why Labour lost. Maybe because that would mean attacking himself.

I’m so outraged that the BBC could run the below story on its front page when it could be discussing whether Miliband 1 will unite Jack Straw and Alistair Campbell!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11081603

I bet David Miliband sleeps like a baby.

@8

Spot on.

“it’s not just about what is best for the UK, it is about what is best for human beings.”

Only the UK electorate have a vote.

15.

Oh right. Well, now you put it like that, I suppose the arbitrary fact that I was born on a particular landmass SHOULD stop me from caring about other human beings. Apologies to David Miliband.

On the other hand, there is always the fact that he tried to cover up the US authorities’ torture of a British resident, explaining it as a ‘control principle’ in the insalubrious special relationship.

The High Court released details of the torture, stating:

The treatment reported, if had been administered on behalf of the United Kingdom, would clearly have been in breach of the undertakings given by the United Kingdom in 1972. Although it is not necessary for us to categorise the treatment reported, it could readily be contended to be at the very least cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the United States authorities.
(http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/information-on-binyam-mohamed-torture-allegations-published-1895151.html)

How good for our country he will be.

NS please explain one thing – Cruddas, on very reliable sources< and in some circles its quite commonly known, wrote, the David Miliband Keir Hardie speech along with Maurice Glasman and Jonathan Rutherford.

So how then, can Cruddas say that is one of the key reasons for being convinced that David Miliband is moving in the direction he describes.

I would really like an answer to that!?

“please explain one thing – Cruddas, on very reliable sources< and in some circles its quite commonly known, wrote, the David Miliband Keir Hardie speech along with Maurice Glasman and Jonathan Rutherford.

So how then, can Cruddas say that is one of the key reasons for being convinced that David Miliband is moving in the direction he describes.

I would really like an answer to that!?"

Easy. If David Miliband read out speeches that I wrote, I would be more likely to support him and think that he was moving in the right direction 🙂

Shamit, couple of points of order “Class warfare and attacking people who have become successful on their own merits might play well with the Union bosses (who by the way earn more than most middle managers in the country earn) but the population at large does not like it.”
I don’t remember any high profile Labour politicians attacking anyone that had become successful on their own merits, even tax avoiders. Which targets are you talking about? Cameron? Clegg? Gove? Laws? Willets? Gideon Osborne? (hardly self-made men?). Listen, undermining entrenched privilege to ensure society is more meritocratic and egalitarian though, is another matter entirely. Finally “the Union Bosses (who by that way earn more than most middle mangers in the country earn)”. Fundamental category error Shamit! Compare the salaries of ELECTED union general secretaries, who represent in some cases more than a million members, with those of CEOs in membership/not for profit organisations of a similar size, not middle managers. Don’t believe the taxpayers alliance hype.

Sunny,

Simple reason actually – that Blairist centrism reduced the Labour vote massively over the past 13 years. Just from 2005 to 2010, the number of people who identified as Labour dropped from 44% to 34% and an even less number of people voted for them. You can’t blame this all on Gordon Brown – it was primarily because lots of people on the left just stayed at home rather than voting for the party because they were disgusted by it. How does David M plan to bring them back into the fold?

I think there is one problem here. This view kind of starts the clock in 1997, not say 1992 (when a form of democratic socialism did not push Labour to a possible victory, and essentially made it necessary to adopt centrism). It was Blairist centrism that attracted the large figures identifying with Labour in the first place.

I’m not saying that this means Blairist centrism (I like that phrase) is the way to go now – I think something new would be better – but it was the root of success as well as the cause of failure, and to present only one side of the story is hardly helpful.

Regarding ‘4. I hope this doesn’t cause a serious rupture on the left, although quite a few people have said to me tonight that Jon Cruddas’s credibility has fallen in their eyes tonight.’

I think there’s a possibility Cruddas has his eye on trying to avoid serious ruptures on the left after the election. I’ve always got the impression from Cruddas that he’s been keener to help end factionalism rather than trying to help one faction ‘win’. The rather crude arguments about which direction the comfort zone lies in (as if there can’t be more than one comfort zone), the attempts by some to shape a Cain and Abel story because the contest is too boring to sell… these could lead to a lot of rancour if candidates can’t produce a wide range of backers. It would be a shame for the election of the wrong ‘un lead to people tearing up their memberships, making dark vows etc. Especially if they (re)joined recently.

Additionally, if he believes in a new solidarity and community based society approach to policy, he’s probably less bothered about who is leader.

I will say that Cruddas’ is one of the few endorsements that have made me think again in a positive way. Most others have been along the lines of ‘how can I give this candidate my first preference if they are also being backed by this mouth breather.’

Watchman argues my point very well @20.

Labour should not focus on “us vs them” politics – rather it should focus on developing a message that resonates with and appeals to all socio-economic classes.

The State has an obligation to ensure there are opportunities for all – however the outcome should be dependent upon individual hard work & taking responsibility.

The message, especially in the last couple of weeks from Miliband junior, has been that the aspiring middle class does not matter to labour. That would drive many people straight into the hands of the Conservatives who are right now dominating the centre.

Elections have always been won and lost in the centre ground and winning the centre is more important than ever now. David Miliband’s argument does not seek to alienate any particular group especially those who are in the so called “working class”, however he wants to build up a broader base that Tony Blair built.very successfully and kept Tories out of power for good 13 years.

************************************************
On Sunny’s specifc question about how David Miliband would build back the support for labour –

Sunny – you actually gave the answer yourself few weeks ago when you wrote that article contradicting Richard Seymour. And that exactly is David Miliband’s approach.

He wants to make sure the debate resonates with the middle classes and they also feel angry at the spending cuts. It is the responsibility of the party to make them feel a part of it.

I don’t see how David Miliband (as some have siggested here) chooses middle classes over any other class – what he wants to do is to capture the vast majority of voters who would feel the pinch and develop an aspirational message that everyone with hard work and support can get to the top based on their talent etc etc.

Ignoring the middle class and banging on about a particular group would alienate others and would seem to many that the party is preaching to the choir.

Labour must be for aspiration – it must be for good governance and making Government a force for Good and it must be a home for all those who believe in a fair society, a society where hard work and taking responsibility pays and a society where the sky is the limit. And a society that protects and supports the most vulnerable.

Somehow that’s the message I seem to get from D. Miliband and his campaign. And by the way, while Blair was David Miliband’s mentor his was not a cabal like the way the Brown cabal worked – that is why you have Douglas Alexander (a brownite long before Ed miliband) running his campaign.

Don’t also forget that David Miliband wrote three election winning manifestos.

************************************************************************
Finally, those who keep on abusing David Miliband with some interesting flowery language – I urge you to consider one thing. Whoever wins the leadership contest deserves our support because they would win it with a democratic mandate.

We are all writing in a public forum – and anything we write here could be used to paint Labour as divided and it would be fun for the Tories to quote lefties and labour supporters when attacking the new leader – whoever it may be.

This also leads to the answer to Sunny’s question – about why did Labour lose so much support between 2005 – 2010.

I think party disunity – and continuous actions and leaks by the Brown cabal (which included both Ed Balls and Ed Miliband) and the screwed up actions of the revolt – all turned people against Labour. Labour since 2005 has been too busy focusing on navel gazing.

Another reason to lose support was the Lisbon Treaty – when you make a pledge to the electorate and then you don’t keep it – floating voters tend to move away.

So lets not do that – the Conservative leadership election in 2005 had vigorous debate but they were disciplined and the vast majority got behind the new leader (who was by the way elected by the grass roots) quickly.

If Labour does not do that and keep on harping and shouting abuse then Labour would continue to lose the centre ground and thus be in opposition. Without power the party cannot do any good.

So may be we should all tone it down a bit.

*****************************************************************

Did not mean to use bold for the entire thing – apologies to all

“We are all writing in a public forum – and anything we write here could be used to paint Labour as divided and it would be fun for the Tories to quote lefties and labour supporters when attacking the new leader – whoever it may be.”

Indeed. For example, we should avoid making inaccurate comments which just help the Tories such as arguing that Ed Miliband believes that “the aspiring middle class does not matter to labour”.

Don – or the swift boat tactics that have been so prevalent against David Miliband on this blog and many other left inclined webspaces.

So yes indeed. When I said all of us – I meant all of us.

“or the swift boat tactics that have been so prevalent against David Miliband on this blog and many other left inclined webspaces.”

Swift boat tactics? Like what?

” or the swift boat tactics that have been so prevalent against David Miliband on this blog and many other left inclined webspaces.”

Oh you have really lost the plot now. What swift boat tactics?

Or do you mean the honest opinions of those who think David will be a disaster for Labour?

I have to say that your attitude is only re-enforcing my concerns about David. If he wins it will be shut up, sit down, and don’t say a word, because we must not say anything which the tories may not like.

Far too many to highlight – unfortunately

“Far too many to highlight – unfortunately”

Go on, just one example would do…

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/07/13/isnt-david-miliband-flip-flopping/

This is a mild one – there are few more in pickled politics, New Statesman, and various other places.

But with all due respect, I do not have time to go through all of them and bringing it to your attention.

My point is David Miliband is being accused of things which all of them did – but he has been singled out. And it has happened time and time again.

Sally, David MIliband actually discussed pluralism – which by itself means different ideas and debating them; so I don’t think you should get worried about no discourse.

I’m not sure why people are getting fussed by this. Whilst an MP, Ed M voted for everything that Dave M did. Had he been an MP at the time of the war I have no doubt Ed M would’ve also voted for it. It doesn’t matter that he’s said, years after it started and when he’s running for the leadership of a party which was split by the Iraq war, that he was against it.

Really, neither represents anything particularly new. So it doesnt matter if Cruddas backs one or the other


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    How does Cruddas endorsement for David M change things? http://bit.ly/dCm9me

  2. sunny hundal

    How does Cruddas endorsement for David Miliband change things? My thoughts http://bit.ly/dCm9me

  3. Political Animal

    RT @sunny_hundal How does Cruddas endorsement for David Miliband change things? http://bit.ly/dCm9me <Long since priced in, if you ask me.

  4. Liam Marchant

    RT @sunny_hundal: How does Cruddas endorsement for David Miliband change things? My thoughts http://bit.ly/dCm9me

  5. Leon Green

    RT @sunny_hundal How does Cruddas endorsement for David Miliband change things? My thoughts http://bit.ly/dCm9me

  6. Jonathan Taylor

    @libcon: How does Cruddas endorsement for David M change things? http://bit.ly/dCm9me (–I'm genuinely disappointed about this.

  7. Joss Garman

    RT @sunny_hundal: How does Cruddas endorsement for David Miliband change things? My thoughts http://bit.ly/dCm9me

  8. Jonathon Hawkes

    A very measured respsonse to the Cruddas D Miliband endorsement from Sunny Hundal. I agree will every word. http://bit.ly/boLcEs

  9. sunny hundal

    Jon Tricketts MP, former Cruddas campaign mgr, criticises his decision to endorse D-Miliband: http://bit.ly/dCm9me

  10. Liberal Conspiracy

    Jon Tricketts MP, former Cruddas campaign mgr, criticises his decision to endorse D-Miliband: http://bit.ly/dCm9me

  11. Naadir Jeewa

    Reading: How does Cruddas endorsement for David M change things?: I expected that Cruddas implicitly sided with Da… http://bit.ly/c8hCWM

  12. House Of Twits

    RT @sunny_hundal Jon Tricketts MP, former Cruddas campaign mgr, criticises his decision to endorse D-Miliband: http://bit.ly/dCm9me

  13. Mohammed M Ahmed

    RT @sunny_hundal: Jon Tricketts MP, former Cruddas campaign mgr, criticises his decision to endorse D-Miliband: http://bit.ly/dCm9me

  14. Andy Sutherland

    RT @sunny_hundal: Jon Tricketts MP, former Cruddas campaign mgr, criticises his decision to endorse D-Miliband: http://bit.ly/dCm9me

  15. Paul Duxbury

    RT @sunny_hundal: Jon Tricketts MP, former Cruddas campaign mgr, criticises his decision to endorse D-Miliband: http://bit.ly/dCm9me

  16. lee james brown

    RT @libcon: Jon Tricketts MP, former Cruddas campaign mgr, criticises his decision to endorse D-Miliband: http://bit.ly/dCm9me

  17. Kerry Abel

    RT @sunny_hundal: Jon Tricketts MP, former Cruddas campaign mgr, criticises his decision to endorse D-Miliband: http://bit.ly/dCm9me

  18. Owen Jones

    RT @libcon: Jon Tricketts MP, former Cruddas campaign mgr, criticises his decision to endorse D-Miliband: http://bit.ly/dCm9me

  19. Fredrik Jansson

    RT @libcon: Jon Tricketts MP, former Cruddas campaign mgr, criticises his decision to endorse D-Miliband: http://bit.ly/dCm9me

  20. majsaleh

    Holy fuck a "progressive English patriotism". What a mental bastard. http://bit.ly/dCm9me

  21. Ellie Russell

    RT @libcon: Jon Tricketts MP, former Cruddas campaign mgr, criticises his decision to endorse D-Miliband: http://bit.ly/dCm9me

  22. Liberal Conspiracy

    Compass statement tonight on Cruddas endorsement: just a "personal decision". They'll back members pick http://bit.ly/dCm9me

  23. tamsinchan

    RT @libcon: Compass statement tonight on Cruddas endorsement: just a "personal decision". They'll back members pick http://bit.ly/dCm9me





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