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Don’t do it Ed – it’s not that bad!

ed miliband thinking of a pistolWell, actually, it is that bad, but topping yourself won’t solve anything and it would leave us with the unedifying spectacle of Ed Balls/Yvette Cooper, Chuka Umunna, et al, trying to sound right-wing enough to get Progress’s support – something which I guess they won’t find all that difficult. Things are bad but they can certainly get a lot worse.

Okay, so Labour is chugging along in the low thirties in the polls. That’s not brilliant. In fact, to be honest, it’s bloody awful. The thing is that just scraping a majority with around a third of the votes on a modest turnout is not exactly a mandate for social change. That clearly suits some of your colleagues since they can always argue against radical policies by arguing that “the public won’t support it”.

But hold on! Even that’s not true. Without the Labour Party lifting a finger the general public has been showing its frustration with the neo-liberal policies of the government. Polls show that the public favours public ownership of the railways, energy companies and the utilities. And please tell Tristram that they want their local authority community schools back too. In fact as public opinion has firmed up on such questions one could have the impression of a Labour Party moving to the right. But surely that is an optical illusion. It must be just that you haven’t caught up with that opinion yet.

And all that with no help from Labour. So we can imagine what might be possible if Labour actually embraced such socialising policies (sorry, I know that sounds a bit like “socialism” but it can’t be helped!).

UKIP came top of the EU polls and that’s a worry. Even more of a worry is that UKIP has started to eat into the Labour vote. But you know why that is: UKIP has clear policies on Europe and has made them known for a long time. Labour didn’t produce its EU manifesto until the last minute and when it did it was full of mush. Ultimately people are not as stupid as your advisers would have you think. Even if not very political they can sense the prevarications and waffle of a party that is scared to speak clearly about the EU.

We all know that immigration is a big issue and that it lends itself to some pretty unsavoury views. But that doesn’t make everyone concerned about it into a racist and you have wisely avoided suggesting that. On the other hand you could get no further than talking of “transitional arrangements for new EU members”. Can it really be that Labour cannot even ask the question whether the free movement of labour and capital is not in the best interests of the mass of working people (sorry but my brain circuitry for intoning “hard working families” is fair burnt out).

But back to dear old Blighty. You’ve put that chap Tristram Hunt in charge of education. As parliamentary prefect he has not done so well and every time he speaks out of turn head boy Gove slaps him around a bit. The fact that he knows next to nothing about education has also been a bit of a disadvantage. Perhaps that is why he, and his mate David Blunkett, have gone for policies which promise to leave Gove’s educational landscape intact. Can you not find something else for Tristram to do? How about classes in how to cross picket lines?

And then there’s the economy. Oh, don’t get me started on that. When you have a moment read through the columns of Left Futures. If you are afraid of being seen messing with anything so “left-wing” then try reading Ha-Joon Chang on economic management, Josesph Stiglitz and  on inequality, Paul Krugman on austerity and Costas Lapavitsas on the City. All this might give you a few questions to ask your mate Ed B. They say he is an economic powerhouse. On the other hand, perhaps you can’t believe everything that is put about by his team.

Above all Ed, now is not the time to leave us. We love you to varying degrees (reading Labour policy document is teaching me to make vaguely warm-sounding phrases that say nothing). Many who voted for you really believed you when you said the party would go in for a “root and branch” review of all its policies are a tad disappointed that four years later not a single policy can be said to have be been reviewed. Some of us may feel that the whole Policy Review process reeks of conclusions reached in advance of discussion. But then there are always grumblers.

The 2015 election is now fast approaching, so dumping feeble policies along with unimaginative and poor-performing colleagues would be difficult. On the other hand, if you are elected with all that baggage it will be like going for a swim fixed to a large chunk of concrete. Becoming prime minister in that way is a distinctively unattractive proposition. Is that really what you want?

Don’t kid yourself about the power that holding office gives you. Think of Obama. Nearly halfway through his second term and he still can’t get prisoners out of Guantanmo despite having promised to do it within months of being elected. Saying which reminds me: give Axelrod a tip (e.g. “always take an umbrella with you in the showery season”) and send him back to the US from where he can do less damage to Labour. If you really want US-style politics here then, I’m afraid, the future is even bleaker than it seems just at the moment.

P.S. You said on your recent visit to Israel that you wanted to be Britain’s first Jewish PM. Didn’t Tristram tell you about the source of all that one-nation rhetoric? Time to look for a fresh source of advice on political history perhaps.


  1. Chris says:

    It’s unrealistic to expect a party to lose power in one election and return straight away at the next one.

  2. Robert says:

    Vote labour get the Tories, vote the Tories get labour.

    Why bother voting.

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