Why the GMB were right to endorse Ed….
I am a member of the GMB so was delighted to see their endorsement of Ed Miliband for the Labour Leadership. I believe the union has made the right decision for its members and for the broader Party. Being endorsed by a union does not mean ‘being captive’ to them. If it does then it is surely correct to argue that David Miliband is the ‘captive’ of Lord Sainsbury? We should resist right-wing fear mongering and certainly not allow it to cloud judgement.
Briefly, a word has to be said about character although as many have said this is not what this election should be about it is part of picking a leader . I think Ed has the right character to unite the party; there is no sense of presumption that leadership and power is expected but more a recognition it must be earned. My personal experience leads me to believe that his elder brother is a much better person than his sometimes ill-judged and badly framed remarks would lead us to believe. Like Tony Blair, I think David Miliband sincerely believes in himself and the ethics he espouses. I think he genuinely feels he himself has the best interests of those he aspires to represent at heart.
However, much like Tony Blair, it is this messianic conviction that ultimately is his undoing. It is also worth noting that it is this that led Blair into the fatally flawed and just plain wrong invasion of Iraq. I find myself unconvinced that the elder Miliband would not be led astray in a similar way because ultimately what he says may be the sign of a heart in the right place but it’s not grounded enough to keep the head travelling in the same direction. This is something that is worryingly confirmed by the latest revelations about the last governments complicity in torture. Means do not necessarily justify the end Mr Miliband; they also have a crucial bearing on the entire destination.
Looking at the stated policy platform, the younger Miliband has much more on offer and his social democracy is much more practical in nature. His ‘Living Wage’ campaign strikes at the root cause of the inequality that the elder so eloquently states he wishes to fight against; incomes and their disparity. This should, in Ed’s case, lead to a wider examination of the role and the trade unions and seeing them as our friends and natural allies in the struggle to fight inequality. Strong unions will be a strong counterweight to the income inequality which in no small measure has led to the current financial mess. A Mansion Tax sounds good but it serves no other function than to punish excess; it does nothing on its own to redress the balance. Similarly, it should be a no-brainer when asking yourself to choose between the charitable status of private schools and free school meals for the disadvantaged.
Trade unionists should consider Ed Miliband their natural ally and candidate they should prefer and Labour Party members should as well; Ed is the right person in the here and now to lead this Party forward and restore alot of its lost core values.