Why Ed Miliband is being led rather than leading

Another good piece by Eric Shaw, author of ‘Strange Death of Labour in Scotland’, on the proposed Miliband reforms.

As in his LSE post he questions the coherence of the reforms and the impact on party funding. Even this depends on the trade unions co-operating and that is far from certain. He questions the value of primaries and the assertion that this is about ending machine politics that have historically been associated more with the right wing of the Party. As he says “Blairites might like to dwell on the parable of moats and beams”.

Finally, he asks the question why now? “Many of the party will be disturbed by what appears to be a rushed and ill-considered approach to reforming party organisation. The reforms are being touted as signalling a transformation in how Labour does politics. If so, why were they thrown together so hastily and with so little reflection?”

On a similar theme I am indebted to Left Futures for spotting this gem from Conservative Home. This is the speech Ed Miliband should have made in response to Cameron’s attack:

“Yes, as Labour leader of course I believe in collective action. I believe in getting working-class candidates as well as middle-class candidates to stand for Labour. I don’t want our society to be more and more dominated by a wealthy oligarchy as identified by your cousin Ferdinand Mount in his book The New Few.

Labour stands for the masses, not the plutocrats. I don’t agree with everything that trade unionists do, but without the trade unions our party would not exist and I am not going to allow the Prime Minister, with his diversionary attack on Unite, to make us ashamed of our roots in the Labour movement. I absolutely defend the right of people to join unions, and of the unions to continue to modernise themselves so that they offer what their members need.

One of the problems we now have, identified by David Goodhart in a recent article for Prospect, is that there are between eight and 11 million low-paid, low-skilled workers in this country, permanently excluded from the prosperity of skilled workers and not represented by any union at all.

This disparity between the rich and the poor may be a matter of indifference to the Prime Minister, but Labour is determined to represent the interests of all workers, both those who make world-beating motor cars and those who for meagre returns care for our old people and clean our offices. That is what I mean by One Nation, and it naturally includes a place for trade unions representing workers who are otherwise powerless to stand up for themselves.”

Sadly, it was written by a Tory, not one of Ed’s advisors.

Miliband reforms not a coherent programme

Ed Miliband was under intense pressure to take action and distance the Labour party from strong union influence following the selection scandal in Falkirk. Eric Shaw examines these proposals at the LSE Politics blog and argues that the suggested changes do not really form a coherent programme. He asks why this has come about and sees it as an ongoing struggle for the heart of the Labour party between Blairites and the unions.