Ed doesn’t get it but Labour needs too….
I am a little surprised, from what I have seen in any case, that the sudden power outage that interrupted Ed Miliband’s speech being broadcast to television news stations hasnt been used more widely as a news hook. Before we get to what Ed said we have to understand one fundamental thing as a Party – what Ed says doesnt actually matter, he can make the most brilliant proclamations in the world and it simply doesnt matter. He isnt Prime Ministerial material, the voters have already decided that and wont elect him to be as such. The Party knows as such as well, deep-down and that is why it is fragmenting so badly, the right never liked him in the first place and even that timid soul, Dave Prentis has had enough of him on his left flank. He doesnt have the gravitas to command respect so people simply flake away and pursue their own agenda.
In a vain attempt to compensate for this he is becoming increaseingly authoritarian. I have it on good authority that members of the National Policy Forum, you know the body that is actually supposed to make our policy, have been told they can say nothing about policy. Shadow Ministers and Miliband himself are however, it seems, free to promote whatever hair-brained policy pops into their head at that particular moment. Usually these are ones that they think will play well on the evening bulletins.
Now to what he said. His lines on welfare were, as has become usual, shocking and quite clearly are informed by nothing more than his own ignorant prejudice. Ed simply doesnt understand the issues surrounding welfare and therefore his remarks are carefully calibrated not to address what is right in mind but what he thinks will garner the most votes. When it came to talking about re-balancing the economy and the need for more industry and innovation he was on safer ground and indeed ground Labour should be on.
Having said that though we are returned to the main point – that what Ed says is irrelevant. Ed understandably doesn’t get this – who would want to deal with that truth – but Labour and especially its left needs too because the fundamental task of the next few years is that we rise above the limitations having Ed as leader imposes on us and for the left, our task is to avoid being sunk with his leadership so we must shape and promote our own independent agenda. If we don’t we will go down when this leadership does and our fears about what will follow will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.