Guest post from Sister C
I didn’t vote in the Labour Party leadership election. I didn’t for a number of reasons but if I had voted I would have done for Ed Miliband. His campaign impressed me as a move away from Blairism was what the party needed.
When Ed Miliband was announced as the new Labour Party leader I was as pleased as punch, and not just because I won a lot of money by betting that he would win.
However since Ed became leader I have constantly been angry at him. The thing that first started this off was his cabinet appointments. I will begin with the obvious: ALAN JOHNSON over Yvette Cooper and Ed Balls for Shadow Chancellor? What was he thinking? What a complete waste of the talent we have in the Parliamentary Labour Party. The party would of had a full set of alternative economic policies and a spring board from which to annihilate Osbourne at the despatch box. But no.
Talking of policy, what policies does Labour have at the minute? I don’t know one policy other than we don’t like the Tories and Lib Dems. I go out and doorknock for the party and when people ask me about Labour’s economic policy I can’t answer. Likewise on education policy we have no answer. All I can do is reel off our record over the last 13 years. But if for argument's sake all the Tory and Lib Dem MPs got blown up tomorrow and we had to take charge of the country, I don’t have a bloody clue what the Labour cabinet would do.
On top of this, as a party we have not landed one hit on the coalition government, not one. Why? Well we have no policy, and we have a leader who's failing to take a lead. All his energy from the leadership campaign has gone and all we're left with is a great void.
So what is Ed Miliband doing? Messing about with Labour Party policy is all well and good, but now shouldn't be the time for naval gazing. Instead we should be attacking the coalition government and presenting the public with a strong Labour vision.
If my annoyance wasn't enough, the penny membership wheeze has made me beyond angry. Joining a political party you should be about making a financial and time commitment to the party. A peppercorn subscription is not a financial commitment by any stretch of the imagination, in fact it morally undermines the contributions made by others as well as the standing of the new recruits who've taken the party up on its offer. The only time I can imagine this sort of thing being acceptable is for the unemployed, others dependent on benefits, and the very low paid.
Yesterday "the leadership" has proposed a cap on donations as low as £500 that would mean that the party is no longer funded by trade unions. The mind boggles. How on earth do you expect to raise enough small donations for party staff, party buildings, oh and those little things known as elections. The Labour Party is already in financial problems and this policy is just going to make things worse.
The leadership also wants to give “Labour supporting” members of the public 25% of the votes in leadership contests (with MPs, trade union members and party members each taking a quarter of the votes). If this happens I may as well give up my membership up now. Why the hell should I stay a member if members of the public are going to be given a vote in my party? On top of that, that last thing we really, really need is a more complex leadership election system. Ed Miliband was once said to be the emissary from Planet Fuck. Which one is he on now?
Now don’t get me wrong. If David Miliband had won things would hardly be rosy. The Blairites must be having a field day with what Ed's doing. I can understand why some people believe Blairism was the only way to make the Labour Party electable because the "alternative" we are currently presented with is anything but credible.
Ed Miliband's fuzzy policies and softness in the face of the Coalition is emboldening the Blairites and strengthening the hand of the told-you-so's. His half-hearted shuffle away from the common sense of the previous era will, if the opinion polls remain in Labour's favour, support the argument that sticking to the say-nothing middle is the right course. But in the mean time we're not connecting with the public, not motivating the party, and not having alternative policies. This is a crying shame. But we're still not far into Ed's leadership. Wiser heads may come to the fore and a shift in direction may prevail. But what are the chances of that happening, eh?