Coffee House

Miliband is marching to the wrong drum

26 March 2011

Ed Miliband’s decision to address today’s anti-cuts march is a strategic mistake. It makes him look like the tribune of an interest group not a national leader. He’ll also be tarred by association, fairly or not, if these scuffles we’re seeing turn into anything more serious.

In his speech, Miliband tried to place the march in the tradition of those for female emancipation, civil rights and against apartheid. But this rhetoric doesn’t work as, given Miliband’s commitment to the Darling plan, we are talking about relatively modest differences about the pace of cuts.

One other thing that was striking about the speech is Miliband’s attempt to accuse Cameron of practicing the politics of division. The Tories have long been worried about this charge, hence the ‘we’re all in this together’ and the symbolic hits on the rich such as the tax on private jets. But I don’t see the charge sticking against Cameron because he just doesn’t seem personally divisive. 

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  • Ian Townson

    I sincerely hope that Ed Milliband is on the side of the trades unions, the working class and students. After all the Tory Party receives at least half of its funding from the City of London and the ConDem government has clearly decided whose side it is on – the investment bankers and speculators who caused this global financial crisis in the first place (not all down to Gordon Brown). The vested interests of this government should be matched by Ed Milliband’s unflinching support for those who will be most affected by attacks on the public sector and the welfare state and bring the class war fully out into the open. After all the ConDem government started it.

  • Nicholas

    daniel maris – apology accepted. I am no friend of the bankers but I’m not going to turn them into scapegoat bogeymen as long as the zombies of the New Labour project are still ducking, diving and dissembling. Creating scapegoat bogeymen is a ploy as old as the hills for the national socialists.

  • daniel maris

    OK, my apologies Nicholas, for speculating on what motivates you to want some of us to “suck it up” (dread American phrase) but not bankers.

    I accept it was a mistake (and pointless)
    to speculate about your motivation in this sort of forum.

  • GDT

    just enjoy the peace and quiet while it lasts.

  • Paddy

    Has anyone seen Fatbloke?

    Thought he may have been detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure!

  • David

    Her indoors, (who rarely comments on matters political and who is a floating voter) wishes me to EMPHASISE the point that there is NO CHANCE WHATSOEVER of Millband Junior EVER looking like a “national leader”.

    She added that she could not conceive of Milliband Senior (the one who is dry behind the ears) ever addressing a gathering like this.

    She also points out that Milliband Senior is NOT one of the triumvirate who broke Britain.

    She says, Labour chose the wrong man and it is beginning to show.

  • Verity

    More faux kindergarten lettering in the poster behind him. What is it with British politicians that they think the electorate needs to be addressed in nursery school terms?

  • Nicholas

    daniel maris – pity your BS detector doesn’t seem to work on your own BS. Don’t presume to have any insight into my circumstances. I have worked all my life and still do. Everything I have, which is precious little compared to some of your public sector parasites and quangocrats, I have earned from my own honest toil.

    But isn’t it typical of a leftist to seek to pigeon hole people into “good” and “bad”. I’m right wing. Ergo I must be an idle toff riding to hounds and exploiting the werkin’ class. In reality there are socialists that earn thousands more than me and who have enjoyed inheritances and sinecures paid for from the taxes of people like me.

    Simon Stephenson nails it, superbly, in his last paragraph. Life experience has taught me that socialism is all about deceit and the power to meddle in other peoples lives. Its collective history is shameful and the British people deserve an apology for it.

  • daniel maris

    GDT –

    Cameron’s “Plan B” has been referred to by columnists here as a real and existing plan. So take it up with them not me.
    I’ve read plenty of references to it.

    Simon Stephenson –

    I’m not a statist but I am a populist. I’m backing the masses against the classes on this one, as Gladstone once said. There a complete con going on at the moment. Maybe it’s to do ultimately with globalisation and the creation of 200 billionaires per annum. Whatever it is, I am not going to be personally conned. There is no need to attack people’s pay and conditions in the way that is being done. If there is, then there is something wrong with the economic system and it needs to be changed. Why? Because the productive capacity to give people a decent standard of living does exist.

    As for the public sector’s share of GDP, go ask Cameron why he keeps referencing Sweden, as better run more civilised set up when that country has a MUCH higher public take of the nation’s resources.

  • Simon Stephenson.

    daniel maris : 12.37pm

    “Darling was not talking about not addressing the deficit. He was talking about addressing it at a slower rate.”

    You seem, either innocently or deliberately, to have failed to pick up what I wrote about this subject. This was that the Darling plan was a smokescreen designed to give Labour some thoroughly undeserved credibility during the General Election campaign, and that if they had been re-elected in 2010 the Darling plan would have been consigned to the dustbin sooner than you can say “More tax equals more good”.

    The reinstated plan being, of course, to raise the level of the permanent State sector to 50% of GDP, compared with the 35% that had been the target of the previous government – and to do this in such a way that the general public didn’t get to realise it until it was too late to stop the process.

    It’s not socialism, per se, that I detest, it’s the assumption by it’s supporters that they’re perfectly within their rights to lie, to cheat, to deceive, in order to impose it upon people the vast majority of whom have never shown the remotest desire for this to happen. I’m sorry Mr Maris, but if you and your fellow-thinkers insist on continuing in this vein, then eventually, like Scargill in the 1980s, you will have to be stopped, however unpleasant this process may be.

  • GDT

    Daniel, what you say about there being a plan ‘B’ is incorrect. If you honestly believe that the Coalition in 3-6 months drastically changed the direction of the treasury then I am sorry but that would be a naive position. The truth is the the Labour party did not disclose prior to the election what their plans were knowing full well it would have meant election devastation.

  • M. Rowley

    But of course the violence had nothing to do with the peace loving trade unionist and left wing organisations. This must be so because the BBC kept repeating the assertion ad nauseam.

  • daniel maris

    Simon Stephenson –

    Darling was not talking about not addressing the deficit. He was talking about addressing it at a slower rate. We all know there is a Darling-style Cameron-commissioned Plan B in waiting at No. 10. So let’s be grown up about that, eh?

    I just don’t think Osborne has handled this well.

    1. He has spread fear across the land through his ill judged statements and policies – and that has had consequences
    in the real economy, suppressing demand and making things worse all round.

    2. I think the “mix” of deficit reduction measures has been too much in the direction of public sector cuts and not enough towards an increased tax take or perhaps sale of some serious assets.

    3. I think the rate of expenditure reduction has been too fast.

    4. By allowing bankers in the nationalised banks to snaffle up huge bonuses from the
    trough has blown a hole through the claim that “we are all in this together”. People understand the difference between nationalised and private banks.

    5. He could have got the same results with public sector cuts if he had brought in a recruitment freeze and voluntary early retirement scheme, without all the sturm and drang. It was his choice to let loose numskulls like Pickles.

    6. The Tories are cowardly when it comes to NHS expenditure where there is huge, huge wastage. We can’t let that expenditure rise year after year, or it will eventually eat up the entire economy. Politicians need to start talking straight to people about that. I accept Labour don’t. But the Tories have boxed themselves into a corner on this one through their privatisation policies.

    It’s not all entirely negative. I think the government’s emphasis on manufacturing and exports has been good. Whether through luck or judgement we seem to be making progress there. I’d like to see a lot more emphasis on that.

  • Sir Everard Digby

    I see -the Left,having no plan or policy whatsoever to articulate,now resort to the Ostrich mentality; head between legs Ed,kiss farewell to your rear end.

    You can always rely on the political classes to respond inappropriately to any situation.

    Daniel Maris -steady on,you are displaying the hubris I only expect from the likes of Milliband. How can you presume to guage the public mood? Talked to the whole population have you?

    Thee ‘public’ I talk to have thought for generations that the political classes are complete wastes of time.That the Left are so deluded they think this is not so,is risible.

    If Ed is seeking to get in tune with the people of this country, he could start by getting a real job and experiencing what most of us are up against. Large swathes of our misery have been caused by mindless state intervention.

  • GDT

    William Boyd…
    This nation is home to more than 60 million people. I do not think that 400,000 can be claimed to be the majority. [500,000 protected against the Labour Government and their war in Iraq] A similar number protested against the banning of fox hunting. As I tell my children repeatedly…”sometimes life is not fair”. Get some perspective!

  • Simon Stephenson.

    merlinthepig : 11.51pm

    “I’d be interested to know what the actual economic benefit would be, hyopthetically, of “making the bankers pay” assuming that is even feasible.”

    Economic benefit isn’t the point of this at all. It’s no more than the latest “Us Good, Them Bad” posturing that has forever been the staple of school playgrounds and football crowds, and of all those others whose thought processes haven’t risen above this basic level.

    In the old days, and in the cause of good decision-making, wise and educated politicians sought very much to restrict the rapport they showed towards these attention-seekers. But that was in the old days – now, in more modern times, the chanters and the screamers must be appeased and pampered to the exclusion of all else – and to hell with good decision-making!

  • Nicholas

    William Boyd: “Not if the interest group turns out to be 400,000 strong. That sounds to me a lot like the voice of the people.”

    Yes, the Left have always presumed their minority to be the “voice of the people”. It’s what they do and have done. Inflicted the tyranny of minorities on Britain. Protest is in their DNA. They governed the majority by minority special interest group lobbying. The noisiest and most clamorous, more comfortable in their agitating skin and daring to presume that they represent something other than their own narrow and mean ideology. Yesterday was more of the same, a flocking to the streets of Labour’s project. The unmasking of the client state that Labour created. The taking to the streets of the cancer that is at the heart of Britain.

    There are plenty of people whose voice they are not, William Boyd, and I am one of them.

  • Pratworld

    Clearly there were not nearly 500,000 people on the demonstration and the crowd who assembled to hear Miliband’s exhortation numbered no more than 4000. That lead me to believe that most of the demonstrators would show sense.

    Then I saw the assorted placards which complained of absolutely everything so this was not a united protest but a protest for the sake of it with no common interest.

    Then we saw the “small minority” of left wing thugs, hooligans and juvenile delinquents who had come along in order to cause damage. Many of them had arrived with offensive weapons.

    So well done Miliband Minor and Len McLuskey – a well-matched pair of chumps.

  • Magnolia

    Having no interest at all in this march, I only watched the sounbites on the news.
    As ‘Ed should be Milibanned’ said his piece, I thought about women such as Emily Davison and laughed at how little and over the top he sounded.
    He still has the look of doom about him and after this speech seems more likely to join the long list of Labour leaders who have been repellent to the majority of voters in this country.
    How about a blog post on the suffragettes and MLK to help us get things into perspective.
    Labour is small minded and that’s why it always leaves the country in a mess.

  • William Boyd

    … “tribune of an interest group”.

    Not if the interest group turns out to be 400,000 strong. That sounds to me a lot like the voice of the people. Cameron will have to respond a lot more subtly than wheeling out the funny looking Micky Gove to wish a few anarchists on us if he is to maintain political credibility.

    Ed right. Dave wrong. 1-0 and I don’t see it going to a penalty shoot out. Year tops. Get real.

  • daniel maris


    (a) “Of course not. The cushioned and gold-plated public sector sponsored by New Labour and paid for from our taxes are in a completely different situation to people who have to run businesses.”

    Yep – remind me again…what is the average public sector pension? Is it £6000? something like that. Hardly the dreams of avarice, though you might be able to live well on it in the Outer Hebrides.

    (b) “I am unbelievably p’d off that Brown and his gang of crooks and shysters have got off not just Scot free for their 13 years of crimes…”

    Well they didn’t, did they? They got booted out. It’s called democracy. What do you want? To see them hung in chains from Westminster Bridge?

    (c) “I don’t think anyone is or was economically competent in the New Labour Project. The economy to those clowns was throwing money at problems, creating a vastly overpaid client state of meddling bureaucrats and flooding the country with foreigners. I’ll take Osborne thanks.”

    Fine, but you can’t deny the reality of the economic figures. Living standards were raised hugely under New Labour and inroads were made into poverty.

    Brown and co. did steer us through the worst recession since the 1930s .

    But Osborne has plunged us into a double dip. That was his achievement alone, nothing to do with Brown and co.

    (d) “Times are hard. Deal with it. Suck it up, boy.”

    Fine…any bankers that we employ prepared to follow your advice? No – I didn’t think there were. So why shouldn’t anyone else have to follow your banker-wanking advice?

    (e) “Well, better two faced than the barefaced pure evil slime of New Labour where lies are the new truth.”

    And Miliband was being accused of hyperbole!

    (f) “Ha ha ha! New Labour under drips like Milliband the Dweeb and Balls the Thug did more to undermine freedom and a free society than at any stage in British history prior to Magna Carta.”

    Well I guess it’s typical of you that you would think Magna Carta a freedom document, when it was simply a Barons’ shopping list of demands to act selfishly, as they please.

    I’m not a Leftist.I would term myself a populist. I don’t agree with lots of things that New Labour did. But I recognise an incompetent, self-satisfied fool at the helm of nation’s finances when I see one.

    As for your proclaimed love of liberty, I have a sneaking suspicion it’s built more on a love of inheriting unearned wealth than anything else. Call it my BS detector at work. Those who cry freedom are often just after a free meal ticket at the expense of the rest of us. If you’re living off an inheritance, that’s what you’re doing – depending on everyone else to provide your income.

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