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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why Ed Miliband must be like Harold Wilson

This piece of mine appears in today's First Post.

Neil Clark: If Ed Miliband can unite Labour as Wilson did, maybe he can also win four general elections.

Man of the moment Ed Miliband has had no shortage of advice since he won the Labour leadership contest on Saturday. But if he's really shrewd and wants to re-establish his party as the party of government, he would do well to follow the example of Labour's most successful leader. No, not Tony Blair, but Harold Wilson.
You can read the whole of the article here.


Mr. Piccolo said...

Great article, Mr. Clark. I think people are ready for a left-wing message on economics nowadays, as neoliberal capitalism is still stuck in a ditch, there just needs to be more prominent proponents of an alternative.

The leader of a major political party, such as Ed Miliband, has a very big bullhorn to get the message out and change the way issues are framed. He would have to compete with a generally right-wing media, but so what? It seems to me that many people already think that the media is failing to reflect their own interests and beliefs, so there is definitely a gap to fill, namely providing a voice for those millions upon millions of people who are not happy with the neoliberal consensus.

Gregor said...

Interesting article.Perhaps the crux of the matter is here:

'the media is far more right-wing than it was in Wilson's heyday. And despite the ludicrous 'Red Ed' jibes, Miliband is, on several key policy areas, far more to the right than Wilson was, as I highlighted in The First Post last week'

I've noticed that The Guardian is already attacking Hague from the right. In fact I think that our so-called 'left wing' media is going to be completely irrelevant by the next election: they seem to be writing for right wingers who also enjoy articles on why men are stupid and worthless and why 'the religious' are responsible for attacking British democracy. Don't know who would say they 'like' this bizarre blend of right wing economics and foreign policy sadism with extreme social liberalism, but the editorial team feel they're on to a winner.

It is also possible that the Liberal Democrats will be completely irrelevant.

So, this leads to a certain ambiguity. On one hand it means that Miliband will probably not get any support from the traditional media which could damage his recognition. On the other, it means that grassroots movements will be more important.

In a strange sense I think this will be positive. Miliband may well lose the next general election, but if it means that at least one party has its roots outside a small circle of East Anglian public school boys, then that is good for democracy at least.

neil craig said...

The way for labour to win would be to repeat Wilson's "white heat of technology" message. Say that they will enthusiatically support the immediate building of as many nuclear reactors as the market has use for, able to provide electricity at 1/4 the present price. Say that catastrophic global warming is a lie & they will not give hundreds of billions to eco-fascists. Promote X-Prizes & technological progress. Aim to get the UK economy growing at better than the world average of 5%.

At one time this was what socialism stood for & it genuinely was seen as progressive. It would open some real sane differences with the Conservatives in a progressive direction.

Of course this would turn Labour policy on its head & would take some probving they meant it. I don't think Ed has what it takes to do this but if he is certainly the best placed to do it.

olching said...

Largely agree with Gregor.

The media has indeed shifted incredibly far to the right. I was really surprised to see Ed Miliband's reference to the Iraq War being wrong causing so much hostility in the press. Everyone knows it was wrong, why was it controversial to say so? Oddly, David Miliband is being treated as the wronged victim in this one, with his brother being portrayed as a conniving, dishonest player.

Tellingly, perhaps, what matters to the right-wing media is the meaning of Iraq as an abstract discourse - a piece of rhetoric with which David has been 'hurt' (of course there is no mention of substance, namely that millions of people have been 'hurt' through the war and that Ed M.'s statement regarding Iraq is obviously correct).

The same goes for the alleged influence of the unions. Any kind of liaising with the unions (even so much as talking to them) is seen as Stalinist or as somehow against the will of ordinary Brits (where ramming one's tongue down 'business' is seen as entirely appropriate; the deeper the more appropriate).

Anonymous said...

So far is he doing the Blair thing, helping the richest while shitting on the poorest.

we will fight for child benefit, but we will back the Tories on welfare reforms, what was labour brought into being for the rich or the poor, I know the answer with new labour and Newer labour, the middle England swing voter rules.