The problem of consistency for Labour…

It’s worrying to hear of Ed Miliband’s aides pressuring Ed Balls into admitting Labour spent too much in their last term. Let’s make this crystal clear, ok:

  • The Tories SUPPORTED Labour’s spending plans up to 2008.
  • 2008 was the financial crisis, so the Tories either:
  1. Support the economic/bank bailout, and its consequences – so the deficit/debt etc.
  2. Support letting the economy crash, through not spending money on (still) failing institutions.

This is what Labour should be picking up on, through constructing a discourse that highlights this very discrepancy to produce a powerful counter hegemonic force to the current neoliberal governmental doctrine and this pathetic chant of “it’s Labour’s fault”. It reminds me of a playground, where children protest effortlessly that it’s “someone else’s fault” in order to remove themselves from responsibility, decision and accountability.

Ed Miliband would be wrong to promote an agenda of accepting blame and submission, when really the deficit/debt problems are exaggerated and a by-product of a corrupt, capitalist bent neoliberal system. Capitalism wouldn’t survive without debt.

Then we come to the inability of the opposition to be the party many people need right now; a party that stands up for the ordinary person on the street, doesn’t fall for neoliberal and Daily Mail rubbish, and puts forward a competent progressive alternative. Labour’s inability to carve a consistent narrative was even highlighted by the likes of Iain Duncan Smith.

Whilst Labour rightly highlighted the problems of a benefit cap of £26,000 for the poorest (especially when the sheer mention of a high pay commission is treat with scorn), – but still wont be tabling an amendment to the welfare bill-this hardly goes with Ed Miliband’s rhetoric of making sure Labour aren’t seen as the party for those ‘ripping off the system’ – which, is really no one (figuratively speaking), well no one in desperation and poverty. Only about £1bn of the £5b welfare fraud is done on purpose, and let’s face it, that’s often out of desperation rather than the greed that stalks the billions of fraud going on at the top.

There is a problem of consistency. In order to oppose this government, it’s social, economic and environmental direction – Labour and Ed Miliband need to get on with this policy rethink and start articulating themselves with more bite and ignore the intimidation inflicted by the Blairs to the Daily Mail.

What’s missing is strong leadership; I don’t personally think challenging Ed Miliband is a good idea, just yet, given the void that would be left for a right-wing candidate to fill. What is needed is consistent pressure from the base of Labour (and outside), which is overwhelmingly progressive. What it all boils down to is consistency and leadership.

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4 thoughts on “The problem of consistency for Labour…

  1. As always a brilliant blog Jane, you sum up concisely what the broad left of the Party are saying, in good outside party perspective.

    I have always been a supporter of the Green Party, and as I have said in my blogs we need each other (January 29, 2011 Why Would A Leftie Join Labour When Labour Is No Longer Of The Left? My 20th Anniversary Blog Post – http://musingsofagreenleftie.posterous.com/why-would-a-leftie-join-labour-when-labour-is)

    Ed Balls is sticking to his guns, and refusing to say Labour over-spent, but I think both he & Ed Milliband must stand up & admit, that it was Neo-Liberalism that got us into this mess, and it’s time to revert back to Globalized Keynesian economics, based on a strong communities, by doing this, we can redevelop the sense of belonging, with our communities, with our country, with Europe & with the world.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Michael. Glad you enjoyed the blog.

    Totally agree that Labour and the Greens need each other – and they are missing out if they don’t work together! Will have a look at your blog, looks interesting.

    I also totally agree with your analysis of the problem re neoliberalism and community politics – it would be a breakthrough if Labour adopted such discursive analysis.

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