Ed Miliband’s record and direction as Labour leader is developing into a burning issue. For me, his consistent hails to LibDem members/supporters/voters, for instance, is evidence of attempted internal deflection; in other words – instead, of spelling out Labour’s vision and differentiation to the Coalition, Ed Miliband focuses upon the easier target. This can be effective, projecting your internal problems onto others wins votes – especially given the current voting system. But it fails to fundamentally challenge the current political direction of callous, unfair economic, political and social policy. It fails to provide groups who are frequently prevented from having a voice, a voice.
Sadly, the nature of our ‘democracy’ often results in people leaning towards Labour through a lack of choice, apathy and hatred for the current government. I get that, and as I have said before, Labour’s grass-roots are overwhelmingly progressive. Labour’s problem, however, are hierarchical relations shutting out these progressive views, as the leadership becomes increasingly defined by the vested interests of the media and corporations etc. Of course, this isn’t to deny the need to appeal to LibDem voters. But this should happen naturally, if Labour concentrated on articulating a new vision/path.
This wont be addressed if Labour Mps make out that Labour are ‘bogged’ down in the North, and need to appeal to the ‘squeezed middle’ as Ivan Lewis argued today. Apparently, Lewis believes that Labour are the party standing up for benefit claimants, immigrants and minority groups. But, where are Labour as disabled people protest against their support and services being viciously cut? Why do Labour support ATOS, ESA and tougher welfare requirements, whilst buying into the welfare ‘scrounger’ rhetoric? I could go on, but Labour have a lot of questions to answer when it comes to sticking up for the frequency oppressed.
It’s all part of a neoliberal framing and hegemonic discourse that stigmatise those who do not see the current social, economic and political hardship as the remedy/’truth’. This is taking place at an international level, too, as shown by the recent imposition of boundary checks for European countries, playing up to neoliberal and racist scare stories. This is also true when considering the effects of European, specifically Euro Zone, country guidelines regarding the deficit and debt levels – placing substantial pressure upon countries to cut with venom. Labour’s own internal problems do relate, but there are notable grass-root movements, inside and outside Labour, which provide substantial ability for resistance. Regardless, the current global system is unsustainable, as is Labour’s and Ed Miliband’s deflection.