All change!

Slightly rephrasing Mark Antony, we came not to praise New Labour, but to bury it.   And bury it he did.   Ed Miliband ran as the change candidate, and three days into his leadership he delivered on it.   This was a tour de force – laying about him without fear or favour, straight-talking, establishing himself immediately as his own man.   Out went defence of the Iraq war, complacency over boom and bust (surely one of the most arrogant hostages to fortune ever dreamt up), support for Israel over settlement-building and the Gaza blockade, disregard for inequality, connivance with pressure to raise tuition fees, authoritarian dismissal of civil liberties, collusion with market fundamentalism, enthusiasm for the City and deregulated finance, indifference to concerns about immigration.   Phew!

It was the most ground-breaking rebuttal of previous Labour conventional wisdom in living memory.   The Blair-Brown interregnum was finally and completely over.   And it’s not only policy.   At a meeting he called for members of his Parliamentary party the day after his accession (itself a very welcome innovation – his two predecessors would never have done that) he declared, and repeated, that “there is going to be a change in the culture of leadership”.   I believe he will steadily deliver exactly that.

It’s a good start.   But it’s only a start.   The speech stressed all the right Labour values (itself again a much needed break from the recent past) and strongly promoted the importance of vision.   Unsurprisingly, three days in, he did not offer detailed substance to that vision, but that must now be a top priority over the next few months.   And how exactly he sets about it – the consultation process and how democratic and inclusive it is – will be almost as important as the final content if the whole party is to take ownership of it.

4 thoughts on “All change!

  1. I voted for David Miliband because I believed he was the best to lead the Labour Party to victory at the next general election.

    You on the other hand support Ed Miliband and your write up is trying very much to make him to be what he is not and what he is not capable of being.

    I honestly doubt that Ed Miliband will ever lead the Labour Party to victory. You see I have spoken to scores of people after the announcement family, friends and work colleagues and it the reaction to Ed’s victory was unanimous … they don’t like Ed and they preferred David.

    I have been a Labour Party member since 1988 and I have never felt as despondent as I do now.

    I was one of those who hoped and prayed that David Miliband would NOT challenge Gordon Brown; now I wished he had.

  2. @ Kathy Anifowose – What exactly are the reasons for your despair?

    I am guardedly optimistic about Ed Miliband, but I anticipate that he is not going to be sufficiently left wing enough.

    In contrast, the election of David Miliband would have caused me to leave the LP because I do not believe that he would have moved the LP from the Blairite neoliberal and authoritarian stance. I also believe that he would have increased the unelectablity of the LP, because I think that overwhelmingly the electorate are to the left of all three political parties. I hope that Ed M’s leadership will move the LP over to meet the people.

  3. I frankly think many closely associated with the Labour party are so lost in their self-deception to see just how appalling the time and leadership of Tony Blair was; and those who step into his shoes to follow in his footsteps.

    His leading of this country to attack both Afghanistan and Iraq, and all this has involved, is the most disgraceful national episode in living memory. And yet the more evident this shame became the more hollow the action of the party. This includes extraordinary rendition flights, knowledge of torture, control orders and the many other very dangerous steps allowed that progress towards an authoritarian state.

    The Labour MP’s should have rooted Blair out but, because they feared the ramifications against them should they fail and because they believed he was best qualified to lead the party to victory again, they continued to back him. That is the shameful disgrace of the Labour party.

    Any re-birthed leadership which needed to continue with the fabricated support of this tainted history is doomed.

    Ed Miliband has set-out his stall in a more appropriate style. The goods he has to offer are fresh, his to sell and are different from what the other lot are hustling.

    I think he really is an honest decent chap who wants to bring about a something better. It is time the Labour party backed a man like that.

  4. My earlier comment here was not published – Would that be because Michael Meacher is amongst those who voted for Britain joining the US in attacking Iraq http://bit.ly/dqArvm and is amongst those MPs who did not work tirelessly to oust those leaders who conniving drew our nation to perform this most despicable act of war.

    It is not as if Michael Meacher had not realised the US were ready to usurp any pretext to use force to secure its global domination.

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