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We now know what a good thing it was that David Miliband didn’t win

David Miliband eating an ice creamDavid Miliband’s victory speech that never was to the Labour Party conference last September, leaked to the Guardian, reveals all too clearly the disastrous path down which he would have taken the party to near-extinction, by adopting the Osborne cut-and-slash strategy in full, and indeed perhaps going even further.   His claim that “the party will only be trusted when we show in word and deed that the alternative to mean government is lean government” exposes just how far DM was taking on the Blairite project of shrinking the State and outsourcing public services wholesale.   Osborne and Cameron have used the deficit created by the bankers (a rather important fact which DM disregards) as the pretext for a massive cutback of public services and of the role of the State, and DM clearly saw himself leading Labour down the same route.   There would then have been three parties all agreed on a policy programme driving Britain into prolonged stagnation.   What a near escape!


  1. Steve Kelly says:

    Yes it was a lucky escape. What is they say about Tories in sheep’s clothing.

  2. Sunder Katwala says:

    This is both nonsense and silly.

    I wonder if Michael Meacher has read the speech he is writing about. If he has, what is the reason for him pretending it calls for something it doesn’t?

    Meacher says this:

    he would have taken the party to near-extinction, by adopting the Osborne cut-and-slash strategy in full, and indeed perhaps going even further.

    Can he show where he gets that from?

    David Miliband’s speech says this.

    I profoundly believe the Tories are wrong in their economic judgment. As they push up unemployment and push down confidence, the pain will be severe and real …

    The issue is not Labour’s policy; it is the Tory policy of adding to Labour’s plans of spending cuts and tax increases for every man, woman and child in the country. Don’t try to blame us Mr Osborne. We had a clear plan for reducing the deficit. You chose to go a lot further, a lot faster. Your choice. Your cuts.

    It is not us in denial Mr Osborne. It is you in denial – about jobs, about growth, about the lives and livelihoods that depend on a growing economy. You are in denial because no country can cut its deficit unless it grows its economy … You have taken the biggest economic gamble in a generation….with other people’s lives”.

    In addition to being untrue, the Meacher argument strikes me as a tactical and strategic mistake for those to the left of Ed Miliband, like Meacher and Left Futures.

    It may be said – by right-wing newspapers – that David Miliband backed Osborne’s deficit strategy, while Ed Miliband refuses to, playing into this idea it is “denial” not to accept Osborne’s policy.

    Anybody who reads the speech can see this is nonsense, and that David Miliband is arguing for the same Alastair Darling policy that Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have maintained, and rejecting Osborne.

    It weakens Labour to support this invention of a substantive difference on deficit strategy when the speech shows that the policy would have been the same under either brother.

    Perhaps what Meacher could have said is:

    I see that even people I don’t like, such as David Miliband, who worked for Tony Blair, accept that Osborne’s cuts were too fast and deep and an enormous risk. Perhaps that tiny handful of people who say Labour should accept Osborne’s plans or go further will at least now admit that no leader of the Labour Party would, in the real world, be doing that”.

    It would at least have been accurate. If he thinks David Miliband would have done what he says, can he explain why he planned to make a speech saying he wouldn’t?

  3. Peter Preston says:

    I campaigned for Ed Milliband at the Unite offices using their facilities to contact the membership in the Midlands. The response from the rank and file was overwhelmingly positive towards Ed. The new Labour leader was supported by trade unions and trade union members. Is that so bad?

  4. Gary Elsby says:

    This may be an internal battle between the Miliband viewpoint, but the battle-field is the economy itself.

    Where is the proof that this economy, circa 2011, is not growing and therefore
    Cameron and Osborne have got it horrendously wrong?

    We know that a Miliband has an alternative view for an alternative economy, but does the current economy render a Miliband an unnecessary distraction?

    The winner of the 2015 General Election will be the one who was right on the economy, addressed Pensions and formed an elderly care plan.

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