Mr Miliband’s sleight of hand…

I thought we were over this; I thought we were passed treating politics like a slightly more sophisticated game of Scrabble and that our media policy was moving beyond the Malcolm Tucker age. How wrong could you be? Look at events today for a perfect example of what I mean. A memo mysteriously leaks revealing that Ed Miliband has, forthwith, deemed the use of the word ‘Coalition’ taboo; from now on, its going to be a Conservative-led government with a right-wing agenda.

At first you think, so what and then you start to wonder. You see, its possible for a party to move somewhere without actually moving anywhere at all. Don’t want to actually be a radical opposition? The solution is simple. Manipulate public opinion to make them think your opponents are actually the ‘ideological’ and, by implied criticism,  slightly barking ones. This isnt a shift of focus to attacking the Conservatives at all; what it is is actually a rather cunning ploy by Mr Miliband to convince his own Party he is going somewhere he patently has no intention of taking them.

Labour will look like a ‘left-wing’ opposition because it will define its opponents as ‘right-wing’ and therefore the term will assume a relative value. Many in the Conservative Party can attack the British National Party from the left but that doesn’t make them ‘left-wing’. Mr Miliband, however, seems to have lost even the small increments of boldness that he seemed to possess during the leadership contest.

We have a problem. I am becoming less and less convinced that this leadership is capable of taking Labour Party in the places it needs to go. I doubt its ability to lead the Party in a way that will rise to the challenges presented too it; of new movements, and vicious attacks on ‘our’, naturally Labour, people by a government which governs on behalf of the very wealthy and very elite. Also, the challenges of a resistance to these attacks which is growing-up outside of Labour.

Whether it lacks the will or means (due to the manner of its election and an inability to face down the PLP) is pretty much an academic question at this stage. Whenever, the next election comes we need to present a programme that brings together two interrelated but crucial elements when it comes to rebuilding after the crash and the cuts. Consistent democracy to give politics back to the people and social justice to both empower people and remind the City of a simple truth; it is the servant not the master of this country and it provides for us, not the other way around. I don’t think this leadership will give us such a programme so the only solution to the problem is for the left in Labour, which still is organised and thinks like leaves on a roaring river of events, to unite and fight for such a programme; in the process renewing our internal democracy and our Party so it is fit to govern once again.


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About darrellgoodliffe


5 responses to “Mr Miliband’s sleight of hand…”

  1. de g. says :

    2 points:
    1) It’s sleight, not slight – you’re implying that Ed has rather small hands in the current title which is rather different to what I think you intend to say.
    2) Much as I hate “I told you so”s, I’m going to copy and paste from my earlier comment:
    I very much suspect that even if EdM wins our position will be rather less left than you seem to want to take things. To level a frequent criticism of others at you, once a trot…

    At least on this occasion you seem to have understood what “sleight of hand” is a bit better!


  2. darrellgoodliffe says :


    1) Thank you. I will correct that.

    2) On this, I am happy to acknowledge the told you so. I was wrong about Ed and in the passage you quote your quite right apart from the last bit which I would contest. However, im not sure David would have been much better. What is a real shame is the left stood Diane Abbott whose campaign was farcical; they should have stood John McDonnell instead.


  3. de g. says :

    We are where we are. For what it’s worth, I doubt David would have been substantially different (which is exactly what I was saying in the run-up to September!) but I think we would have seen a more considered and measured approach to this policy review. I think Ed is right that all policy areas should be up for discussion, but he seems to be saying that all our values are too, and I don’t think David would have been so naive as to make that mistake.

    Ed’s stance seems to imply that there is no sense of permanence about those values, whereas in reality whenever we have renewed as a party (even in 2004) Labour values didn’t fundamentally change.

    I am in two minds over John McDonnell. On the one hand I think we should have sought to have a full slate of candidates and therefore would have liked to see him and another woman from the more pragmatic wing of the party be selected. But McDonnell’s failure to get nominated says a lot about where he sits in relation to his parliamentary colleagues; if you cannot persuade 33 of your colleagues that you have something worthwhile to say, there’s a bit of a credibility gap when then asking the membership of the party and Union political levy payers to vote for you.


  4. de g. says :

    That should, of course, be ‘even in 1994’…


  5. darrellgoodliffe says :

    de g,

    Probably not, no. Ed may be saying that but those values clearly mean diddly when it comes to our stated positions.

    I dont see any need to renew our values; we need to restore their place in the Party.

    I wasnt convinced but then I saw him speak and that led me to the conclusion he would have run a much more effective campaign than Abbott ran which was ego-manical and not about actual substantive discussion. I think it says more about the PLP to be honest….


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