David Miliband’s slight of hand….
As the leadership campaign draws to an ever tighter conclusion the lines of demarcation are becoming even clearer. David Miliband has written a piece for the Daily Telegraph in a clear effort to distance and distinguish himself from this piece his brother wrote in The Guardian. Notice the optical illusion David entertains us with; for him the C2 social class is not put with the D’s and E’s but the C1’s. We could argue until the cows come home about whether they see themselves as middle-class or not but that is largely irrelevant because the current economic climate and the Coalition’s cut-backs will drive them into the ground. They are looking over the precipice and see an alphabetical and social fall as being very much on the cards.
He also puts forward some highly suspect mathematical arguments:
Those on lower incomes, the C2 and DE’s, make up about 44% of the voting population. You just can’t craft an election majority out of a minority.
It’s well-known as a point of fact that under First Past the Post this simply is not true; to win a governing majority you need the magic 40% or thereabouts. David talks about the centre and centre-left in abstract but makes no mention of where he will shift the gravity of the non-existent centre too. This is because, as we all know, it will be to the right. His rhetoric and propaganda may fool the likes of John Cruddas and Neal Lawson but then again that says more about them than it does him.
David’s argument is based on an Aunt Sally. One that the Telegraph itself illustrates helpfully:
The comments put him directly at odds with his brother and fellow contender Ed Miliband who has called for a traditional Labour appeal to the working classes.
Nobody said we should ‘forget the middle classes’, least of all Ed Miliband. What he has said that the way we build the broad coalition David seems so desperate to build is by value-driven policies. He is right. David condemns ‘chasing after the media’ from the last government but seeking broad coalitions as an end in itself logically leads to the same end. Championing the downtrodden means championing the middle classes too de facto especially now. It’s notable how the attacks on Ed Miliband and back-door smears (including the absurd blaming on him of the Charles Kennedy rumours purely because a known supporter wrote the original piece). This can only be a good sign because it shows people are worried.