Responsibility for a reactionary agenda…
It’s telling that in his little diatribe against the welfare state last night, James Purnell, had plenty of nice things to say about Ed Miliband’s ‘responsibility agenda’. Often I have felt moved to comment on the essentially reactionary nature of this agenda and again I feel moved too. You notice firstly that Miliband’s chosen targets are selected by popular acclamation – not by rational consideration. As such it’s totally bereft of a concrete analysis of power relations within society; their inequities and the consequence of them.
Rational consideration doesn’t even enter into it in fact. If it did then, Miliband would realise that the consequences of his alleged ‘lack of responsibility’ are not as morally or economically equivalent as his remarks imply they are. A disabled man claiming benefits, for example, would struggle to make even a slight dent in the 10’s of billions that corporate tax avoidance & evasion costs the British economy. This is not to mention the cost of bailing out the finance sector to the said economy and the fact that this sector continues to coil round the economy, preventing growth, like the parasite it is.
Because it is based on the world as viewed through Miliband’s moral prism and not a rational consideration of cause, effect and consequence it is not surprising he commits such a stupid sin of equivalence. Left-wingers obviously like Miliband talking like this when it is people they don’t like on the receiving end; ie, Murdoch, bankers, etc but before they swallow this rhetoric whole they would do well to consider the wider implications of what is being said. In reality, those implications are dangerous for the people the left wants to protect. Abstract moralising is not a progressive agenda nor will it ever be and we need to develop our own critique of the ‘irresponsible’ based on a structural critique of societies inequalities not support Miliband’s agenda which is ultimately a reactionary one, which will end up hurting societies most needy.