Hey Ed, leave those poor people alone!

Although Ed Miliband has drawn some correct conclusions during the News of the World/Hackgate saga I have consistently questioned the angle he has taken. As I have explained elsewhere, Ed ‘responsibiliy’ riff is a) reactionary in some of the conclusions it draws and b) guaranteed to eventually backfire and probably sink his leadership and career without trace. Yesterday, he gave a perfect example of the reactionary nature of the responsibility agenda in a speech meant to be targeting the ‘irresponsibility’ of the powerful he snuck in;

We needed to reform the benefit system to encourage a sense of responsibility.

We can’t endorse a something-for-nothing society

So, now there is no difference between phone-hacking editors, media moguls and benefit cheats? This analysis is completely divorced from a objective view of the different structural relations within society and it shows in its comparison of chalk to cheese. It is therefore completely useless when it comes to solving the problems caused by those relations. One of the core problems, for example, that encourages benefit fraud is the particularly poor level of wages for people in work. A compulsory living wage (a vastly increased minimum wage) would be one way to deal creatively with that (actually, in a way that would benefit the economy as well). However, Ed is completely content to use ‘scrounger’ rhetoric lifted out of the pages of the Daily Mail.

What is most disgusting about this aspect of Ed’s speech is that it lumps people on benefits once again in with people who are socially despised; like MP’s, media moguls, etc, and thus increases the stigmatisation and victimisation of this social group. Ed Miliband’s ‘responsibility’ agenda might sound good and even slightly ‘leftish’ when its turned against the likes of Murdoch but it really is not leftish at all when judged in it’s totality, which is the only fair way it can be judged. In fact, it is reactionary politics placed in a shiny progressive wrapper with the implied hope nobody will scratch beneath the surface; we need to expose it for what it is and not swallow it whole.



About darrellgoodliffe


9 responses to “Hey Ed, leave those poor people alone!”

  1. gillig says :

    There is strong evidence that minimum wage damages economies
    There is no evidence that it helps in any way.
    If you disagree, let’s have the evidence.
    The level of JSA is, in itself, a stating point for the motivation to seek work.
    Who the hell do politicians think they are? Telling people a price at which they must sell their labour!


  2. Matt Barker says :

    @gillig ok how would you like to be forced to work for £1 per hour by someone who has millions in the bank? Not so nice right? Actually the evidence concludes the opposite of what you are arguing. When Labour brought in the minimum wage the Tories claimed it would wreck the economy and increase unemployment-did not happen. Surely a good quality of life and treating others how you want to be treated is the mark of a civilised society.

    @Darrell maybe join the Greens, or otherwise push Labour and/or its leadership hard to become more social democratic and to tell the tabloids to f*** off. The way I see it is if the Mail, Express and Sun hate it and attack you it is a good policy 😉



  3. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Matt has given you a good reply so i’m not going to add to that….


    Well the pushing thing is the thing I am trying to do 😉


  4. Matt Barker says :

    @Darrell keep up the good work. I like to think I am not tribal, and hopefully most Labour members are not tribal and petty so could work with others on the left. A nice red-green coalition would make me very happy, one day perhaps. good way to bring out the best skills and experience from different parts of the left


  5. gillig says :

    @Matt Barker.
    Nobody tells me what I can or can’t sell my own labour for. Certainly not politicians.
    You can pretend labour didn’t wreck the economy and cause unemployment, with more to come in the bloated public sector.
    The facts say you are wrong.
    No evidence in this or any other country for benefits of min wage, plenty of evidence for damage. Again just facts. I have no political axe to grind, if minimum wage did any good I would support it.
    It would make sense, if you feel the need for a law, to set min wage and JSA at the same figure.


  6. Matt Barker says :

    @gillig for sure mistakes were made. Labour was too soft on regulating and taxing the City properly so it got out of control, but the sub prime crisis actually originated in the USA and was a victim of oil price driven inflation from the mid 00’s. I would have ensured more were spent on green collar jobs like public transport, retooling the vehicle fleet into hybrids or EVs and introduced tradable energy quotas and/or pollution taxation.

    The public sector is not perfect but it is hardly ‘bloated’ compared to many other countries as a proportion of GDP. My argument in favour of MW comes from Unjust Rewards and Spirit Level. Where is your evidence of damage? They stated that it depends on how high or low the MW is set, of course too high would cause harm, but do you agree it is very unfair that a chief exec can trouser millions in salary, bonuses and pensions and a shop floor worker, on whom they depend, barely scrapes by? My fiancee is a nurse and works very hard while on shift, probably as hard as Stuart Rose et al, and does something productive for society. I think hard work should be rewarded but bad behaviour, laziness, windfalls and pollution taxed more (perhaps over a certain threshold? TEQs?).

    I am disappointed Labour did not do enough in 13 years, including with trying to recover from recession, but then I am in the Green Party. Their programme is fair and they want to run a balanced budget. Chekc out their manifesto: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/policies/policies_2010/2010manifesto_contents.html.

    I am happy to listen to ideas as ideally we can pull together good ideas and mix them for the better.



  7. gillig says :

    Matt Barker
    Darrell doesn’t agree with bombing Belgium, so I am rather limited in my contributions.
    Morning Darrell; One of your mates in pie-gate I see.
    Mrs Murdoch should be new head of police.
    My day has been brightened by the invention of “green collar jobs.”
    I am digging out the info on min wage; my filing is a bit surrealistic.


  8. Matt Barker says :

    @gillig love the quirky humour, even if we do not agree on everything!! Still that’s democracy 🙂


  9. darrellgoodliffe says :


    No mate of mine, though I see its being broadly accepted he was/is a member of Labour, still havent seen that confirmed but even if he is then not every party member is my mate 😉


    Thank you for saying so. I agree and I have to say i’d be pretty content with a red-green coalition (though not really with a red-yellow one, but that is a different story). We can hope hey 🙂


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