This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

What is David up to?

David Miliband's intervention in the Guardian today shows that there are still one or two members of the Cabinet capable of offering an alternative synthesis of the Government's problems. It is also the first time in a while that I have heard a member of the Government actually attack the Conservative Party.

In his article, Miliband rightly points out that while the Tories may have identified the problems facing the country, they have still not yet come up with any new solutions to them,

"They say they have adopted "progressive ends" — social justice, better public services and fighting climate change — but they insist on traditional Tory means of charity, deregulation and lower spending to deliver them. It doesn't add up."

Quite right.

Most refreshingly, Miliband's article is an antidote to the fatalism of Labour Ministers and MPs. He is right to argue that things are still retrievable for the Party because, according to him, Cameron has no vision for the country and is "stuck on New Labour Mark I at just the time when the times demand a radical new phase."

Right again.

Voters are not sold on Cameron's New Look Tories. There is still everything to play for. And Labour could, if it wanted to, make a convincing case for change and social justice particularly at a time of economic peril that would leave the Tories flailing about for an answer.

In calling for change and offering a different vision than the Prime Minister's Miliband is positioning himself as a future leader of the Party and Prime Minister. This article is a tacit acknowledgment that he wants to be the heir apparent. (I should admit now that I have always liked David Miliband and would have voted for him had he stood against Brown last year).

While Miliband is right, it is hard to believe that such an important Cabinet figure like him would ever have made such an intervention under Tony Blair. For this reason alone, we must see Miliband's article as an example of the breakdown of Cabinet discipline. In publicly questioning where Labour is heading, Miliband must know that he is effectively offering the Prime Minister a public rebuke.

I still think a change of leader would be incredibly risky for the Party. It is not absolutely certain that a change of leader would help Labour either. What if we got rid of Gordon Brown and still remained low in the polls? This would truly be the doomsday scenario. In this sense, Miliband is right in arguing that it is not "about debating personalities, but winning the argument about our record, our vision for the future and how we achieve it." The Labour Party has got to decide what it stands for.

I think David Miliband has helped that process today, but I can't wait to see what Gordon Brown's reaction will be.


Matthew Burn said...

A couldn't agree more Alex. Geraldine Smith doesn't deserve her seat in the House; she is the type of useless ex-unionite that makes you ashamed to hold a Labour membership card.

Alex Finnegan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TP said...

Well I am not sure it does anyone any good to start referring to people as a 'useless ex-unionite'. what's wrong with being a unionite? There's a lot wrong with being an ex-one however. Grow up Matthew and stop being so ridiculously anti-union. Geraldine Smith is however, useless, pathetic and deluded. The penny does not seem to have dropped with her that she owes her position as an MP to people like Miliband who ensured that Labour won in '97. She is a complete waste of space because she hasn't got any brain. Not because she is a unionite, or ex-unionite. Can we please have something thoughtful written on this blog in defence of organised labour and collective action? Just to remind some forgetful readers of what Labour should be all about?