What a shame! This conference could have been the time for the present generation of Labour leaders to set out their stall and highlight the differences between themselves and the government. They could have knocked on the head the charge that they are ‘Tory light’ and that the real opposition is Clegg’s Liberals inside the coalition. Instead they rolled over to those old Blairites, inside and outside the PLP, and Blue Labour and attempted to show how mature they are by promising to be as hard in economics as the Tories.
I still don’t think they get it. That’s both the Eds, Yvette Cooper and so on. The public have a mistrust of politicians in general and MPs in particular that is beyond anything in living memory. The old guard of New Labour, both inside and outside parliament, are toxic. They are vote losers. Include the likes of Jacqui Smith, Jack Straw, Mandelson, Campbell, and most of all Tony Blair in that toxicity. Hanging over the party’s head is what will start to appear in the press from Blair’s attempt to enrich himself. Two more ex-ministers have swinging axes that could fall at any time. David Milliband has history in Britain’s collusion with the US inspired torture of suspects and Tessa Jowell has her partner’s involvement in Berlusconi’s bribery and law-breaking due in court at anytime.
So Ed, stop listening to these people! Yes, you and your generation of bag carriers and policy wonks are partly responsible for building up and supporting Blair and Brown and the rest, but now they no longer hold power. Blair is even advising Cameron by phone on a regular basis. The public has already rejected these old people, policies and ideas. That was what happened in the last election.
Before you are so quick to toss aside Chuka Umunna’s ideas on mutualising the government owned banks, ask yourself if the public may quite like the idea. Maybe people would like a return of the old fashioned building societies before they were turned into fodder for the banks. Maybe they would quite like to see the tax system being used in social engineering, they certainly don’t seem to mind the 50p rate for richest. It wouldn’t take a lot to use other taxes like corporate and value added to encourage even more mutualization and workplace fairness.
And it’s that last word ‘fairness’ that really does matter. We do want to see equality improve. We do have a problem with the filthy rich. We really don’t mind if Michael Caine lives out the rest of his life in Monaco. Come Ed live up to your name. Show us you have them.