January 4, 2012

THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY:

Ed Miliband must trust his instincts and stand up for real change (Maurice Glasman, 04 January 2012, New Statesman)

On the face of it, these look like bad times for Labour and for Ed Miliband's leadership. There seems to be no strategy, no narrative and little energy. Old faces from the Brown era still dominate the shadow cabinet and they seem stuck in defending Labour's record in all the wrong ways - we didn't spend too much money, we'll cut less fast and less far, but we can't tell you how.

Labour is apparently pursuing a sectional agenda based on the idea that disaffected Liberal Democrats and public-sector employees will give Labour a majority next time around. But we have not won, and show no signs of winning, the economic argument. We have not articulated a constructive alternative capable of recognising our weaknesses in government and taking the argument to the coalition. We show no relish for reconfiguring the relationship between the state, the market and society. The world is on the turn, yet we do not seem equal to the challenge.

That is how it looks: Labour stranded in a Keynesian orthodoxy, with no language to talk straight to people. As Gramsci said of the 1920s, the old is dead and the new is not yet born, and in the meantime all kinds of morbid symptoms emerge, including the fraternisation of impossibles. I am aware that Blue Labour is seen in that light by many, a symptom of malaise rather than a strategy of renewal. But if Ed is going to offer the possibility of a transformational Labour government, then he is going to have to break the grip of progressive policy rationalism and grasp a bigger political change. He is going to have to be both insurgent and establishment, conservative and radical, democratic and competent, patriotic and internationalist.

In other words, 2012 must be a year of surprises, of engagement with the people and their concerns. 

In other words, Ed needs to be even more like Maggie than Tony was.

Posted by at January 4, 2012 6:54 PM
  

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