Yesterday, I posted a short video from Ed Miliband. In it were some pleasant words about how valuable the grafters of the world are. I think he means it too. But I wonder, as in all top-down reorganisations, whether the people lower down the hierarchy – in the battle to maintain their fiefdoms – will actually put into practice what Miliband believes; even, that is to say, within his own party structure.
Never mind the vested interests out there and beyond.
Take on all those vested interests? Banks, energy companies, supermarkets, insurers, private health suppliers and all? I’m all for it. If you’re really aiming to do that, Ed, you’ve got my vote where you never had it before.
An article which puts a bit of flesh on the soundbites can be found in the Guardian today. I do suggest you read it in its entirety; below, I’ll just quote from its dying words:
In Labour’s years in office we should have done more to protect the “squeezed middle”. Our neighbourhoods, too, need protection from powerful interests: the local pub, the green where children play, the shops threatened by a new Tesco superstore. Labour needs to be on the side of the community. New Labour sought a dynamic economy. We refinanced public services. But we should have done more to build a country on our values of responsibility, fairness and social cohesion.
Now Labour’s task is to take on the big battalions, wherever they operate against the interests of the majority. Ed Miliband led the way in confronting inappropriate journalistic practices at News International while the Tories showed timidity.
Equally, there is a Labour way out of the crisis, which is fairer and will chime with the instincts of the British people. The country must turn its back on rightwing solutions which entrench inequality, and whose values are purely market-based. Labour needs to show humility and dedication to service. We need to reconnect with the mainstream, hard-pressed millions who had come to doubt us. And we need to be fearless against the big battalions, however powerful they may be, to rebuild a society based on the British values of fairness and community.
And meanwhile, as a reminder of how powerful and ever-present these battalions are, a tweet from this morning on the subject of battling with the supermarkets – as it refers to what I believe is a David Miliband-promoted organisation:
@eiohel @Paul0Evans1 @sunnyhundal Hope the Sainsbury-funded Movement for Change will be supporting that campaign ;)
Want us to sign up to this almighty conflagration? Convince us, first, that by burning bridges there’ll be a way out – and back – for those of us who choose to ride alongside you. Do that – and the whole of British politics will be at your feet.
Which reminds me. One final – though not insignificant – thought for Ed and his advisers. And what about the Union – European and homegrown both perhaps? Isn’t it time to contemplate different structures which release and liberate the way we are? When you talk about “fulfilling the promise of Britain”, do you mean “keeping it together” or “giving each region its head of rightful steam”? There’s a difference – and we do need to address it.
And sharpish methinks.