Ed Miliband’s father, Ralph, warned in Parliamentary Socialism of the futility of Labourism – “that genuine compromise between revisionism on the one hand, and socialist purposes on the other is impossible” but “ensures in practice the predominance of the policies favoured by a revisionist leadership“.
Although Ed yesterday presented his “mending not ending” of the party-union link as an opportunity for Labour to become a “genuinely mass membership organisation with roots deep in workplaces and communities all across Britain,” the reality could be very different.
Far from giving Labour a mass working class base, and transcending the orthodoxies of labourism by accepting the politics of class (as his father advised), his ending of the institutional link between Labour and the trade unions could be the ending of Labourism. The destruction of the alliance that has been Labour. And perhaps even “the kind of slow but sure decline which – deservedly – affects parties that have ceased to serve any distinctive political purpose” of which his father warned in his seminal book. Continue reading