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If David Miliband is the answer, its a bloody stupid question

It says something about the rather dismal condition of both British politics and journalism, that this week there was an amount of liberal fluttering over a speech at the London School of Economics by former Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who was beaten by his brother for the Labour leadership.  Here is Miliband’s thesis; it is that the European left is losing elections on an epic scale because it has lost control of the political argument to a much more adaptive European Right.

So far, so good, although some of us were saying this much fifteen years ago. And so far so good, because the New Labour Governments, of which Mr Miliband was such an enthusiastic supporter, largely adopted what the ‘adaptive European Right’ was offering. This was called ‘triangulation’, and in Britain in particular was linked to the ‘Third Way’ nonsense peddled by amongst others, the disgraced Gadaffi enthusiast Anthony Giddens, from the same LSE. The rest of the European Left never quite went the neo con distance that Blair et al took the Labour Party, but with a few honourable exceptions, the political surrender to free market fundamentalism drove many of the social democratic parties to run up the white flag. Working class and middle class voters alike tend to support political parties that support their economic interests.

David Miliband has been applauded by sections of the liberal press – most notably Martin Kettle in The Guardian –  essentially for acknowledging the bleeding obvious; that the parties of the European Left are losing three main groups of voters; working class voters in insecure jobs who are fearful of migrant labour; middle income voters, who are scared of losing their standard of living, and younger middle class graduates who are alienated by the compromises of power.

So what to do about it, now that David Miliband has acknowledged that actually voters didn’t particularly like formerly social democratic parties who had in essence sold out. Back to Martin Kettle again in The Guardian:

Miliband’s view is explicit; ‘Only a post New Labour brand of European social democracy, building on success, not a pre New Labour stance can address the weaknesses.”

Yep, you had better read that again. I had to read three or four time before the enormity of Miliband’s sheer vacuity became duly apparent. I kept on thinking that there must somehow be a catch. Surely, someone as brainy as David Miliband, can only have said this because behind it there must be some inner meaning? And how can Martin Kettle attach the epithet ‘explicit’ to this butchery of philosophy and politics?

Sadly not.  This, it would seem, is the rallying cry of the Blairites in exile. And here is David Miliband, Labour’s lost son across the waters in Tribune, and quoted from the same LSE speech:

Labour should fight elections as private sector reformers, in the name of efficiency and not just fairness”.

With such doggerel, the political class and the Westminster beltway press continue to flap and talk to each other in ever diminishing circles. Utterly irrelevant and thoroughly boring, what on earth makes them think that such nonsense will repair the Left or even flog a few more newspapers?

If David Miliband is the answer, it’s a bloody silly question.

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8 Comments

  1. Steve Kelly says:

    If that’s David Miliband’s view, I for one am glad he isn’t the leader of the Labour Party. It would be just more of the same.

  2. Gary Elsby says:

    If David Miliband was in a two horse race, the horse would win.
    How did ‘disgraced Gaddafi enthusiasts’ fare under the former Foregn Secretary?
    In fact, would it be reasonable to describe one of ‘Mandelson’s children’ as a DGE?

  3. p.james flynn says:

    If you think that statement is banal then what about this one : ” no government puts its citizens at risk for economic advantage” David Miliband.

  4. Mike Homfray says:

    Miliband is off making money and I doubt he will defend his seat at the next election

  5. john reid says:

    Not sue Mike, If andy Burnham or Chuka Amura become leader of the Oppostion after the election, the Title shadow Attorney general, shadow foreign sec or Shadow Justice minister sound good,

  6. Matty says:

    Excellent article, even if it is over a year old, worth commenting on.
    By the way, the excellent Recommended Reading section says
    “Balls has disappointed us.” How come? I thought he had been doing a good job, as one commentator the other day said Balls has been bang on with his worries about the double-dip recession. I thought he was more Keynesian than Ed M. Maybe, I have missed something that happened recently.

  7. Thom says:

    Mr. Reid: ‘Ummuna’. And surely you mean Prime Minister, not ‘Leader of the Opposition? And you accidentally put the word ‘Shadow’ in front of the ministries. 😛

  8. john reid says:

    well not really , as if labour win the election Ed’ll be prime minister, but as it’s more likely that we lose then one of them’ll be leader of the opposition ands that the jobs in 2015 will be shadow as we’ll be in opposition

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