C’mon Ed, fight

by Dan McCurry

In case the reader needs reassurance that Osborne is a failed chancellor, you only have to look at what the financial services people are saying. A couple of weeks ago, Citywire ran with this headline, “Hooray for the (debt-fuelled) UK recovery!”

How about this funny analysis from the stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdowne:

“Former US president Abraham Lincoln has been credited with saying the problem with politics is you can never please all of the people all of the time. In a more contemporary setting and with the UK yet to regain ground lost during the 2008-09 recession chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne has struggled to please anyone at any time since stepping into 11 Downing street three years ago.”

However, the one thing that the Tories do massively better than Labour is this: When they are down, they come out fighting. Even when the world took note that Keynes had won and austerity lost, they carried on fighting.  The question is, what does Labour do? Has Ed Miliband and Ed balls given up? Do we only have an opposition on a Wednesday lunchtime?

While the Conservative party refuses to publish their membership numbers, due to their decline, our party is fizzing with excitement. This whole party wants to take the fight to the Tories. The only thing that’s stopping us is that we need the leadership to show the way.

“I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!”

Forget about trade union reform. That stuff is history. The unions have shown contrition over that Scottish selection thing, and it’s over. What looked like a Clause 4 moment, has become navel gazing. Concentrate on what’s happening with the Tories. It’s interesting and dangerous, for them and us. Look.

The Tories want to turn defenders into attackers. Unlike us, they don’t have a vision beyond making lots of cuts, and the cuts agenda will soon be over. That’s why they keep making tiny announcements about parking on the drive or stop and search. They are trying to create the illusion of being busy, and we should be ridiculing them.

Meanwhile we have this immigration dog whistling not unsimilar to what worked in Australia (a very different country to ours). A couple of weeks ago, Theresa May spoke of ending stop and search, which I thought was ridiculous taking into account all the guns and knives that are taken off the street with this policy. Today, they’re searching black people for jobs.

We have to take this fight on, but without losing control. For example, the story of immigration officers tweeting pictures of their arrests following a raid on a takeaway. The pictures did not show the faces of those arrested. It was legitimate for them to tweet this in order to show that they are doing their jobs.

The Tories are trying to create a “wedge” issue in the hope we lose our head and lose the argument. If we don’t lose our head, we win, because they are making themselves look nasty. We just have to be clear in our policy. We are hostile to further immigration, yet that is not an excuse for 1970s style racism.

We can make this work for us, but only if the leader is in charge and doesn’t let go of the tiller when the storm hits. We have to learn from the welfare bruising, not give up as a result of it.

Unlike the Tories, our party has a sense of direction and a purpose. We plan to have the biggest house building program since the World War II. We plan on putting a million young people back to work. We will stick to the Tory cuts, but we also want to invest in the country’s future. The Tories might argue that there is no money, but remember, they only won the cuts argument, while they lost the austerity argument. There is a big distinction, and we have to mercilessly push that point.

The important thing is to be confident in our argument and for the leadership to get back to leading. Labour is a party of greyhounds at the slip, straining upon the start.

Don’t let us down, Ed.

Dan McCurry is a Labour activist who blogs here

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11 Responses to “C’mon Ed, fight”

  1. paul barker says:

    “We are hostile to further Immigration.”
    Is this now official Labour policy ? All the evidence points to Immigration making a contribution to growth & the creation of new jobs. Are Labour prioritising “Dog-whistle” campaigning over helping the Recovery ?

  2. John says:

    Another labourite who thinks that politics is the old naive `black/white` Labour good/condems bad all you have to do is go back to the old Brownite model of `spend now pay later`.

    The truth is that if Labour were in power they’d be doing very similar things – vat might be reduced (I support that for building trade) yet you’d have to have discretionary income of 14k to spend on luxuries.

    How are you going to pay for the house building programme? There isn’t any austerity – we’re just increasing our spending less than it was before. How much extra would Labour `spend to save` and what are the returns? Don’t forget that the house price bubble happened under Labour – that’s the main problem as accommodation is so costly in the UK (Sorry we didn’t build enough houses and allowed the financial services industry to run riot at the expense of ordinary people – let’s build loads of houses and cut your capital values by 30% – btw don’t ask us to change inheritance tax rules as our leader doesn’t like it

  3. David Walsh says:

    What evidence is there that ‘cuts agenda is over’ ? Given the phasing in local government at least, the cumulative impact continues until the next CSR. What we have seen over the past fortnight in terms of populist silly season announcements, is just the normal business of a government trying to keep a news agenda alive in the holiday period.

  4. swatantra says:

    ‘Put ’em up Ed!’. You almost convinced me there Dan, but ‘plans’ are one thing and doing is another; I’ll believe those 1 mn houses and 1 mn jobs when I see them. And, rather than greyhounds in the slips, more like Aussies in the slips; too many dropped catches.

  5. McCurry says:

    @Paul Barker, You might be right about the positive contribution of immigration, but as far as I’m aware our policy is to discourage any more for the foreseeable.

    @John, Labour had got the economy back into growth by the time we left office. We wouldn’t be in the same position as the Tories.

    @David Walsh, The political decisions on the cuts is what I meant. I’m sure the implementation will go on for some time.

  6. paul barker says:

    On the general tone of the article, you would know better than me whether Labour members are Fizzing & straining. Your advice to Ed M to drop the special conference would make him look weak & a fool, luckily I doubt he will take it. Your party is set on a course that may lead to an explosion, if it fails & to a reduction in your income if it succeeds. The idea that thousands of Union members are “straining at the leash” to join Labour seems like fantasy to me but we will see.

  7. Ralph Musgrave says:

    “We are hostile to further Immigration.”

    Now that all three main parties are adopting quasi-BNP policies, do we now take it that all three main parties are neo-Nazi, fascist, xenophobic, racist, bla bla bla organisations? Or we all going to now admit that the fact of favouring significantly tighter immigration controls does not actually prove you’re a Nazi or fascist?

  8. Fred says:

    David Walsh – what f’ing cuts!!!!! Have you looked at the numbers or are you talking crap. Come on answer the question.

  9. David Walsh says:

    The response to the bleeding obvious – in my local authority area, support for social need buses, leaving many people with no cars stranded, rationing of social care for an increasing elderly society, the ending of trading standards work to basic weights and measures work, cuts to highway maintenance, upping charges for just about everything, axing the library bookfund and having to renegotiate downwards every contracted service from school meals to elderly residential alarm services. At the moment, youth and community provision is next on the list. Want any more ? I can provide chapter and verse.

  10. Ex-Labour says:

    Did I miss something over the last 3 years ?

    Labour has a “vision” with “direction and purpose”. I think not. You really are in fantasy land if you think this. Based on what evidence do you make this statement, because to date I have not heard one single defined policy from Miliband or Balls. I hear a lot of thoughts and musings but little in terms of firm commitments.

    Again if you think the trade union fight is over and “history” again you are deluded.

    All the public polls show that the public recognize need for restraint and reform of the public finances, to fight illegal immigration and limit legal migration, reform the benefits system which rewards the workshy, plus many other issues – just about everything Labour and Miliband stands against.

    The economy is growing and all the economic indicators show this, jobs are being created and yes thanks to Balls and Brown we still have a debt and deficit problem, but as the economy grows it can be tackled.

    Labour is fiddling whilst Rome burns in a frenzy of indecisiveness from a weak and incompetent leader. FFS even Labour politicians are openly saying it now !

  11. Compost says:

    Am I reading this right? The article which the author plugs on Citywire is taking the Mickey for our debt-fuelled growth, then the author in response to John says “@John, Labour had got the economy back into growth by the time we left office. We wouldn’t be in the same position as the Tories”, which if I look back, was the highest debt-fuelled growth ever! According to the Guardian, it was £152Bn during 2010 but now stands at £99Bn deficit.

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