Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Ed Miliband's Canny Speech

Our friends in the post below didn't like Ed Miliband's speech because they're scared. They're scared because for over a generation their party has not had to face a serious, social democratic challenge. A bit like a company management that hasn't seen strike action for a very long period of time and all of a sudden workers are balloting for action, the Tories cannot answer the policy offerings Labour's 2013 conference has placed on the table. Tax rises for the very rich. An end to land banking. Sector-specific minimum wages. No more free schools. A million new homes. Tax cuts for small business. Energy price freezes. Expansion of free childcare. What really can the Tories and their yellow party friends offer in response, apart from hysteria and name calling?

It was, like last year, a bravura speech. But whereas 2012's One Nation schtick was an intervention within the Westminster bubble, albeit a masterful one; today Ed's message was geared toward the "real people" for whom politics is something to be indulged every four or five years. For the assidiously-courted swing voter of the "squeezed middle", action on energy, housing, and business rates will go down very well indeed - what the Tories can promise in return to woo them over would be difficult to say. By being canny, by, for example, allowing Rachel Reeves to say people on £60 grand aren't rich and then going on to pledge tax rises on the tiny numbers pulling down over one hundred and fifty big ones, the tax bomb the Tories have used in the past to shore up the middle class vote is diffused before they can lob it. There will also be quite enough here to lure back a lot of Labour voters who've either gone elsewhere or have mostly stayed at home.

From an activist standpoint, these are what you might call "proper" Labour policies. However, take them together they're not a panacea. After all, they are still framed within the language of "strict spending limits". But it is a beginning, and are what could be described as a stride in the right direction. They point towards a radically different political economy to that touted by the Tories. This is something positive, something that can offer hope and security at the time our enemy can only talk about fear and misery. And if that's how they really want to fight the next election, roll on 2015.


Robert said...

There's a lot of complacency among conservatives who've convinced themselves that Ed is either too weak or looks too geeky on television to win in 2015. Let's hope they've misunderestimated him.

Phil said...

You just have to look at the tweets I've culled from Twitter below to show what kind of fevered world their "cadres" inhabit.

Speedy said...

I can't complain, Ed delivered the kind of things I'd been asking for (in the real world).

There's more fleshing out to do but I have to say there really did seem to be the spirit of 45 I'd called for previously, and if he can keep focused on this - the squeezed middle (the new working class), realistic radicalism, aspiration - then he can't do more.

Ed as Atlee certainly seems a good way to go. I also liked that he mentioned the Scottish question, again positively.

I'm still doubtful about his chances faced with a hostile press, but if he can get Cameron together with him in the same room often enough then he might be in with a chance.

Paul said...

Look closely though and the "strict spending limits" thing isn't quite as strict as they'd currently have us believe. The language being to describe a tightly focused fiscal expansion/tax and spend programme is simply being carefully controlled.

Phil said...

I agree with that, Paul. While some idiots in the Tory press have been quick to point out that Ed didn't talk much about the economy or the deficit that was, of course, comprehensively covered in Ed Balls' speech. I was glad to see he has positively endorsed zero-based budgeting.

Gary Elsby said...

What would you do if you were an energy company and a non entity political leader told you he would freeze your business if he won an election?

God help us in 2014.

jimboo said...

Put on SKY news and they said it was a good speech, well delivered, and bound to raise his low poll rating. Had to check I had the right channel.

Stephen Flaunden said...

That he is laughingly being perceived as 'red' means he is making the right noises. Politics is a cruel scene if he should have 'a low poll rating' after playing a blinder over Syria. I think the lad may have promise if he can rein in thoseAo awful hand movements.

Gary Elsby said...

And stop asking himself questions and then eagerly answering them.

"You madam what is your name and question"?

"Is Tony Blair a war criminal"?
"Ha ha ha ho ho"

"I disagree with Tony and I agree with him" said Ed.

Anonymous said...

"What would you do if you were an energy company and a non entity political leader told you he would freeze your business if he won an election?"

Expect that you couldn't hold nations to ransom, and expect that if you did, 'your' business would once again be brought back into public ownership. Thing is red Ed wouldn't go that far.

The guy is a phoney, I hope he beats the odious Clegg and Cameron but he is all hot air. About as radical as prime time ITV, or Obama.

Gary Elsby said...

It is a problem for everyone when a Leader makes an attempt to raise troop morale in the wards and valleys of GB plc.

I thought Ed's deliver to be poor but the message(s) were the correct way forward.

I particularly appreciated when he cut and pasted my agenda and stole it as his own (3 years out of date but there you go).

I think BIG business will now begin to conspire against Labour and Ed. I think they will assassinate Ed Balls and send Miliband the horses head in the bed scene to him one night.

We will be slaughtered with our bills.

T-Childs said...

All I know is that what he has said has rattled cages by the amounts of Right wing types coming angrily and fearfully out of the woodwork to condemn him and put the boot in so to speak. He is not a radical socialist, but not everyone wants radical socialism, most just want some future and a chance to get on. The finer points of political ideology are for university professors and academics, for most of us we just want someone who might actually fight our corner. The fact his speech excited so many people, and caused the expected BS from the utilities, proves that he must be saying something right.