Ed Miliband gets it wrong (again)….
Evil things were reported to me about Ed Miliband’s speech to the Fabian Conference today. It was said he ignored the concerns of societies most vulnerable and disregarded income inequality as an issue. This charge is essentially true and the reason mainly stems from one thing – how he totally ignored societies poorest and the need for social justice to benefit them.
Instead, as is becoming usual, he focused on the ‘squeezed middle’. Yes, the ‘squeezed middle’ has problems but to place them on the same level of societies poorest is,frankly, illiterate rubbish. This also gives the lie to Miliband’s claim he wants to lead a ‘progressive majority’. By this he means enough people *about 40% of those who vote* to get him into Number 10. So, not really a majority then? Not only is this deliberate deception but its dangerous – Miliband, along with the rest, is showing the poorest they have no stake in electoral politics and its only a matter of time before they seek other solutions.
Nobody wants to exclude the middle classes but its more a question of which way around you argue things changing the meaning and intent. Tribunes of major social change say that society must be turned upside down; something that would be in the middle classes best interests too but those who want to make the appearance of change without doing anything say the ‘squeezed middle’ is the priority.
Miliband’s history is also, to be blunt, bunk. It’s told through the prism of middle class interests. This group *did* benefit from New Labours largess in terms of tax credits etc, as he himself admits, but by many measures life got alot worse for those lower down the scale under New Labour. So, Miliband changes history by editing out the bits that dont fit the picture:
economic growth and productivity masked a hidden truth: that life in the middle was getting harder not easier.
Real wages in the middle may have been rising but they weren’t keeping pace with the rest of the economy.
And they were wildly outstripped by the gains made by those at the top.
And though Labour did a lot to offset this with tax credits and other forms of public support, we found ourselves swimming against stronger economic currents.
Miliband misses the key flaw of New Labour which was the idiot assumption that you could fatten the middle class up like a bloated cow and proclaim the advent of a socialist nirvana. All they did is ensure that when the drop came, as it was always going too under capitalism, it was even harder for his precious ‘squeezed middle’. Obviously, this is the result of the abandonment of the Labour leaderships desire, even in words, to radically change society. They still have to give the appearance of being for radical social change to justify their own existence and the point of voting Labour however they don’t even feel the need to pretend too much anymore.
Real social justice is something Miliband can never deliver because he doesn’t understand what it is and rather laughably thinks capitalism can deliver it. Fundamental to any kind of understanding of capitalism is the truth that it *needs* inequality to function. It also needs the middle classes to be ‘squeezed’ and miserable else it simply ceases to function; it becomes top heavy and collapses like a house of cards. You can make the middle classes more numerically numerous but you cant make them substantially richer. Introduce as many ‘living wages’ as you like; it won’t happen. In fact, the ‘living wage’ will be claimed back by employers probably at the expense of the lowest paid. Two-tier jobs will become common and the notion of a legal minimum will be slowly destroyed. Furthermore, the richest will increase their incomes by 10 and 20 times the living wage rate so income inequality will spiral. I want a ‘living wage’ but it must be achieved by raising the legal minimum or else it is a fundamentally reactionary measure.
The notion that capitalist expansion and social justice can be brought together in some kind of shotgun marriage is simply wrong. Ironically, in this Miliband is more of a utopian than his leftist critiques who at least understand what they are trying to replace. Our leader has his head in the clouds and despite what happened in Oldham is leading us on the road to nowhere….