Posts Tagged ‘Washington DC’

David Miliband looks to Labour’s future in DC

07/05/2011, 10:25:03 AM

by Jonathan Todd

On the day before his brother’s attendance at the royal wedding, David Miliband was in Washington DC. This followed his tentative steps back towards the philosophical front line with a speech at the LSE on the decline of the left in Europe. Then, at the centre for American progress, he addressed the politics of identity and fear. On both occasions, therefore, he tackled in an international context issues of profound domestic significance.

This approach, obviously, has the advantage of minimising any sense in which David is stepping on Ed’s toes. But such internationalism is also instructive. The challenges facing Labour are similar to those facing social democratic parties elsewhere. The rise of the English Defence League is not the only instance of the search for identity turning ugly. In different ways everything from the birther movement to the success of the True Finns and Thilo Sarrazins can be seen through the same prism.

Miliband identifies “a backlash against globalisation. In the context of a big shift in power from west to east, there are no votes in being an internationalist and there are votes in being nativist”. The west-east shift is involved with a deepening of the global economy, but political impulses form a counter-reaction to this. They may be less pronounced where economies are strong. Canada’s economy is relatively healthy and Bloc Québécois, who might be considered a nativist element in Canadian politics, suffered in recent elections.


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