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The best speech that Ed Miliband has never made (and it was written by a Tory)

David Cameron & Ed Miliband at PMQsYou’d expect us to say that Ed Miliband “shrinks from showing pride in Labour’s links with the unions. He treats them as if they are embarrassing relations from an earlier generation. He knows he owes them a lot, but takes care not (to) be seen very often with them in public, and hates it when unkind people point out that he still relies on them for financial support.” That is, unfortunately, the way it appears to us.

When Cameron mocked Ed again and again over Unite’s alleged influence in the party and the (almost entirely manufactured) Falkirk crisis, it was disappointing though not wholly surprising, that Ed chose “to distance himself from the unions, while becoming closer to union members.” This is what we would have preferred him to say:

Yes, as Labour leader of course I believe in collective action. I believe in getting working-class candidates as well as middle-class candidates to stand for Labour. I don’t want our society to be more and more dominated by a wealthy oligarchy as identified by your cousin Ferdinand Mount in his book The New Few.

Labour stands for the masses, not the plutocrats. I don’t agree with everything that trade unionists do, but without the trade unions our party would not exist and I am not going to allow the Prime Minister, with his diversionary attack on Unite, to make us ashamed of our roots in the Labour movement. I absolutely defend the right of people to join unions, and of the unions to continue to modernise themselves so that they offer what their members need.

One of the problems we now have, identified by David Goodhart in a recent article for Prospect, is that there are between eight and 11 million low-paid, low-skilled workers in this country, permanently excluded from the prosperity of skilled workers and not represented by any union at all.

This disparity between the rich and the poor may be a matter of indifference to the Prime Minister, but Labour is determined to represent the interests of all workers, both those who make world-beating motor cars and those who for meagre returns care for our old people and clean our offices. That is what I mean by One Nation, and it naturally includes a place for trade unions representing workers who are otherwise powerless to stand up for themselves.”

That might not have been welcomed by everyone in his shadow cabinet — such as those whose off-the-record briefings did so much to manufacture the Falkirk crisis, but it would have begun a serious attempt to win back the 5 million votes Labour lost under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, many of whom are political levy payers who are not going to be joining the Labour Party anytime soon. And it would have been a remarkable speech.

The interesting thing, though, is that the author of the speech and all the other quotes in this article is not me. Nor is it any other contributor to Left Futures. He is in fact Tory political journalist and writer, Contributing editor to ConservativeHome, biographer of Boris Johnson, Andrew Gimson. And you can read the rest of his very fine article at ConservativeHome. Gimson says of the speech above that “if Mr Miliband had gone on the attack, and said something of that kind, he would have gained credit for courage and honesty, and would have begun to sound like his own man.”

Ed Miliband is currently seeking a Deputy Director of Communications. You might think that Andrew Gimson would do a better job than some of Ed’s current media advisers!

5 Comments

  1. Jon Williams says:

    Andrew Gimson’s contribution seems to be from a Labour source because there’s no difference between Labour and Tory party hierarchy…the majority are political careerists with the same ideas.

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      Jon Williams: If a few of Labour’s hierarchy had the same ideas as Andrew Gimson on this I wouldn’t mind. Unfortunately they don’t.

  2. Rod says:

    Ed, along with those who chose to needlessly ramped-up the ‘crisis’ by handing matters to the police, should be charged with wasting police time.

    Ed has disgraced himself. His style of ‘leadership’ and lack of integrity suggest he would make a very dangerous Prime Minister. It would be best if he doesn’t get the chance to mess-up on a grand scale.

  3. Patrick Coates says:

    What does Bob Roberts do then!

  4. Patrick Coates says:

    Is this Tory lite also? This Con Home thing.
    Read The Blair Revelation by Michael Barratt Brown and Ken Coates ISBN 0 85124 605 2
    Socialist Renewal No.11, on what to do next.

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