Miliband – torn between support for capitalism and the need for a radical manifesto
There are times when you see someone walking headlong over the
cliff and you feel bound to try and
prevent the inevitable disaster. Such is
the case with Ed Miliband’s catastrophic misleadership of the Labour Party.
The policy pronouncements of Miliband’s rump New Labour
Party have been touted as ‘radical’ and appealing to the many not the few. In reality they are disjointed
prounouncements lacking any binding theme or message.
Miliband with the old war criminal – Labour has failed to dissociate itself from US policy worldwide
It is perfectly possible for a radical and reformist Labour
Party to be elected with a majority, as Harold Wilson demonstrated. It is also possible for a reactionary New
Labour Party to be elected, once it convinces capital it poses no threat to the
capitalist system, as Tony Blair demonstrated.
What isn’t possible is a New Labour Party, making radical noises but
promising to change nothing, quite the contrary, to be elected on a mandate to
One might have hoped that Miliband would get the message of
today’s Mori Opinion Poll which gives the Tories a 1% lead and puts the Lib
Dems on double figures (12%). Yet one
suspects that like an inveterate drunk, Miliband’s response will be to reach
for one last drink.
Trying to convince himself of some point
Forget his alleged unpopularity. This is the fate of all opposition leaders,
as Thatcher demonstrated. People are
quite pre pared to put the froth of political punditry aside if the politics of
the party connects. The problem is that
Miliband is promising nothing. There
will be a temporary 20 month freeze on fuel prices but the water and utility
companies will continue to remain in private hands. Miliband promises to repeal the bedroom tax
but supports Welfare ‘Reform’ which is a conjuring trick designed to transfer wealth
from the poorest in society to the richest.
In short Miliband shies away from challenging those who
hold financial, economic and political power in this society. Instead we have pathetic stunts such as being
photographed holding a copy of the Sun before the World Cup. That Murdoch’s press stable should be anathema
to anyone with an affiliation to the labour movement is beyond Miliband’s
At least his shadow cabinet (Sadiq Khan) support him – at the moment
There is a very simple theme which could unify people around
Miliband and consign New Labour to the scrapheap. It is the fact that the top 1% of British society
owns 55% of the wealth. A promise to
tackle this mountain of injustice and to pledge that the paying off of Britain’s
debts is the responsibility of those who are most able to pay, not the poorest
in society, would galvanise support for Labour.
Miliband has promises to cap rail prices but has shied away
from the most obvious solution – to take back control of rail from the privateers. What you don’t own you cannot control. Yet there is a fear of confronting the
Richard Bransons of this world. Likewise
Miliband has nothing to say about the creeping privatisation of the NHS or ‘Free’
Another example of Miliband’s half-hearted approach
is/was his suggestion that private
tenants would have the protection of 3 year tenancies and capped rents. Such a
move would prove immensely popular given the growth in private renting as house
prices have relentlessly continued to rise.
Yet the anguished howls of those who prefer to maximise their buy-to-let
‘investments’ have warned Miliband off.
Contrast this with Harold Wilson’s protection of private unfurnished
The fact that all 3 major parties have so few political
differences should make the task of a united socialist left that much
easier. But the shenanigans of Left
Unity and the esoteric nature of its debates have ensured that the group
continues to inhabit the margins of
It is of course possible that despite himself, Miliband’s Labour will become the largest party. If the largest and most influential companies refuse to back the Tories because of the danger of a withdrawal from the European Union, then Miliband’s Labour might win despite itself. However this scenario is unlikely and certainly not something to rely on.