Thursday, 5 September 2013

In defence of Ed Miliband and Labour

David Aaronovitch's piece in The Times today has convinced me that as far as our national news media is concerned, the 2015 General Election should be shelved in favour of a continued coalition or a Conservative government.
For those of you lucky enough not have read it, it is yet another attack on Miliband for taking a position on something.
Aaronovitch brands Miliband 'a vulture' and deplores him for not racing to support the Prime Minister's initial view Syrian should be blown to bits.
On Syria, there is no doubt Miliband played politics in the sense he knew the Conservative were hardly fully united behind their leader.
One of the roles of the opposition is to make the incumbent Prime Minister look weak and feeble, if you need proof look at at the sustained assault on Major by Blair for three years.
But Miliband has to define himself as leader, many in the UK think of Labour in relation to Iraq, is there anything wrong with a Labour leader urging restraint and diplomacy?
We have no CATEGORICAL proof Assad gassed his own people and we do not know what the tyrant would do in the event of any strike against the country.
Could he fire on Israel? Would Israel then retaliate? How would Iran respond? - can you see how quickly one strike against Assad could trigger even more tension in an already heated Middle East.
But Aaronovitch's piece is no surprise, Miliband simply cannot win with anyone in the national media at the moment.
  • He doesn't take a position on something – we are told we don't know what he stands for
  • He takes a position on something – he's not a natural leader, he is so wrong etc
On breaking Labour's historic link to the unions, Miliband proposed a change to let workers opt in rather than be forced to see some of their subscription go to the party.
Modern idea for modern and austere times, there may be people in unions who don't actually support Labour, so why should they help fund them?
But what did we hear, oh it will never work, Miliband won't do it he was voted in by the unions, etc.
And of course the economy, Tories blame Labour for reckless spending while in office (Conservative Party under Cameron supported Labour's spending plans until 2008).
I won't pretend I agree with everything Miliband has done, his rampant support for Leveson and closeness to Hacked Off annoy me.
I am also one of those who feel Alistair Darling must be brought back as Chancellor next year to add experience to the Shadow Cabinet.
And the party conference this year should not be about vision and hope, it needs to give a first glimpse of a future Government.
A 'vulture' then? No, just the leader of the opposition trying to end this cycle of long periods of opposition once a party has been kicked out of Government.

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