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The test of Ed Miliband’s One Nation brand

29 October 2012

Labour has been pushing its One Nation branding campaign with quite some gusto in the past few days. Stephen Twigg announced at the weekend that ‘One Nation Childcare’ could include co-operative nurseries, and today Ed Miliband has given a speech on what One Nation means for mental health services, with the party launching a mental health taskforce. As well as trying to drop in as many mentions of the phrase as he could into his speech to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Miliband continued to make direct links with One Nation’s founder, Disraeli. He said:

‘But just as Disraeli was right back in the nineteenth century that we could not build One Nation unless we addressed public health, so it is true today we cannot build One Nation unless we all speak out about mental health. The next Labour government will reform our health service to guarantee that mental health enjoys real equality of status.’

He also took pains to make it clear that tackling the problems that those with mental illness still face would fall ‘as much to organisations like British business and the CBI as it does to the Royal College of Psychiatrists’, adding:

‘In fact, everybody has a part to play. Only a nation acting together can overcome the challenge we face. That is what One Nation is about.’

There’s not a great deal in the Labour leader’s overall sentiment that discrimination against those with mental health problems must end and that the health service must ensure it caters adequately for those with mental health needs. But what will prove whether One Nation is a mantle that Labour can wear all the way to the 2015 election is whether Miliband can adapt it to issues where the solution doesn’t just involve everyone trying harder but decisions which will be unpopular with one group while pleasing another. Will there be a launch of a One Nation rail fares campaign in Guildford, for instance? Can Miliband adopt a One Nation approach to spending cuts? If not, the approach will only be wheeled out when Labour wants to make a feel-good announcement about working together rather than anything tougher. That is, of course, assuming that Labour plans to make any tough announcements this side of 2015.

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Show comments
  • eeore

    I laugh whenever I see Labour talking about One Nation.

    It was Labour who started the war on the disabled, their racial politics created an electable BNP, the gap between the rich and poor widened dramatically under the last Labour administration, and under this government Labour spin has been class war.

    And let’s not mention the tiny gene pool of nepotism that runs the party and actively excludes everyone else.

  • William Blakes Ghost

    I don’t know why they bother. Everyone knows:

    Labour Lie
    Labour Spin
    Labour Twist In The WInd

  • Fernando5

    I’d have enjoyed being present at the brain-storming session when Ed and his cronies came up with the idea of using the ‘One Nation’ cry. However, the great Disraeli himself, described a similar, fictional scene involving the immortal party functionaries Tadpole and Taper.

    “ Yet a cry must be found. A dissolution without a cry, in the Taper philosophy, would be a world without a sun…At length, one morning, Taper came into him with a slip of paper, and a smile of complacent austerity on his dull visage, ‘I think Mr Tadpole that will do!’ Tadpole took the paper and read, ‘OUR YOUNG QUEEN AND OUR OLD INSTITUTIONS.’ The eyes of Tadpole sparkled as if they had met a gnomic sentence of Periander or Thales.”

  • Sarge

    Jeez -look at this utter lightweight..statesman. Failed lecturer more like

  • Barbara Stevens

    Talking about ‘one nation’ is confusing people, we are already one nation, have been for over 500 years. What he’s proposing is everyone having the same oppotunities as the rest, good idea, but who will pay for this utopia? Everything has costs attached to it. Those who work and pay taxes are the ones who foot the bills. There are always some who don’t suceed, either from lack of education, illness, no job, no prospects and economic climate we are seeing now. What we he should be promoting is education for those who lack it, job training for those out of work, and instiling personal responsiblity into all. For far to long the state as been seen to be the benefactor of all, who pays others for doing nothing, while those who graft take home less. It as to stop if this nation is to survive. We do have to have ‘one nation’ but not has Miliband see’s it we have to have ‘one nation’ who are not afraid of work, not afraid of hard graft, and who are prepared to be thrifty and nifity to survive.

  • HooksLaw

    13 years of labour and we still need to buld public health?

    Two years after Brown said he would make 20 billion savings in the NHS we see his lieutenant Miliband, the man who wrote that into the manifesto, complaining about health?

    • 2trueblue

      And to mention mental health is an insult. They destroyed any support for those with mental health problems, and left those with mental health problems abandoned .

    • Colonel Mustard

      Don’t let the fact that the opposition front bench look like the same gang confuse you. Mere coincidence. 1997-2010 never happened. Miliband and crew spring fresh from the mother ship ready to lavish us all with benevolence and wisdom and untainted by any previous failures, incompetence, malevolence, lies, deceit or manipulations. It has been two long years of coalition but Miliband and crew have struggled for a lifetime to get here. It’s a time continuum thing.


    Btw – his old man sold second hand bomb damage furniture when he first arrived here, before he graduated to flogging stale Marxist propaganda at the London School of Comics. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.


    Great picture – looks like a Petticoat Lane barker, flogging snide tomfoolery. Wait a minute, forget the Cockney rhyming slang, that’s a true statement as well as a metaphor.

  • In2minds

    Austin Barry is right under Labour it’s one nation but many ghettoes!

  • Austin Barry

    Labour keeps banging-on about One Nation having created and groomed a metastising, Balkanised nightmare designed precisely to undermine that concept.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Absolutely. Now “One” Nation from the party that gave us devolution and decided to import half the Third World “to rub the right’s nose in diversity” – and of course to vote Labour. You couldn’t make this shit up but still the media lap it up like good little stooges.

  • anyfool

    What on earth is this article trying to say about this man.
    Spouting garbage about One Nation by one of the men primarily responsible for turning us into a multicultural cesspit in which people seethe with resentment at the disaster foisted upon it.
    Actually he has almost made one nation of the races making up this dogs breakfast of a country, the one defining thing we almost all have in common is a visceral dislike of what they have created so i suppose this creature can claim to be a one nation man.
    He made a speech to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, it does not say much for the standards of that profession that they did not immediately section this crazy madman.

  • MichtyMe

    As a constitutional pedant, may I say that there is more than one nation in the UK, or does Miliband think that the result of the referendum is a certain Yes?

  • Colonel Mustard

    So New Labour’s gang of national socialists are at it again. Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer.

    • HFC

      You’re right, Colonel Mustard; wasn’t it the National Socialists in Germany who had a biomedical vision of racial purity and persecuted to destruction, inter alia, those with mental and physical disabilities?

      I can read a darker meaning into ‘the health service must ensure it caters adequately for those with mental health needs’.

      Of course, Milliband wouldn’t want to be associated with such aims, would he now?

      • telemachus

        Your implication is the obverse of the meaning.

        In all, between 200,000 and 250,000 mentally and physically
        handicapped persons were murdered from 1939 to 1945 under the T-4 and other “euthanasia” programs.

        mercy killings of the incurably ill, ethical and moral issues of concern to
        physicians, scientists, and lay persons alike remain vital.

        • telekuka

          Good show, pal. We both really would like to bump them all off if they don’t vote for Ed.

      • realfish

        You mean the National Socialist and German Workers Party, HFC? With aims, some of which, being not disimilar to those of the Fabians

        • telemachus

          Aims perhaps but reality a bit more Pinochetian (A South American form of Thatcherism)

          • telekuka

            eva peron – in your dreams!

    • M. Wenzl

      I think that there are 24 likes of this comment says more about the average Speccie reader than the Labour Party itself..

      • Colonel Mustard

        No, it says quite a lot about the Labour party. There is a difference between how they see themselves and how others see them. Their hubris, lack of humility and ability to airbrush their inglorious moments from the past means that they – and their supporters like you – can continue in the self delusion, hubris and arrogance that they are “nothing less than the political wing of the British people as a whole”. The very fact that you post that comment here, of all places, demonstrates that. Understand this. Not everyone in this country likes, wants or trusts your wretched party of charlatans and shape-shifters.

        • M. Wenzl

          The fact that you cast so many aspersions about someone who took issue with something you said shows, at the very least, an equal amount of hubris, lack of humility and arrogance on your part.

  • Jebediah

    Be nice to people. Trite garbage, what else is he for? Not drowning puppies? Motherhood and apple pie? They can prevaricate for only so long on the great issues of the economy.
    When Miliband finally says what he is for rather than what he’s against then we’ll see how he stands up to real pressure.

    • telemachus

      For Disraeli, the One Nation idea was about mixing pro-business policies with a bit of paternalistic social reform. For Miliband, One Nation Labourism is presumably about taking his already mild reformism and watering it down with more Tory policies.
      Remember this is not a benign cuddly Miliband-despite celebrating the multiracial Olympics, he attacked migrants, saying they “undercut workers already here”. He gave into myths peddled by the right wing media by pledging to “stop recruitment agencies saying they’re just going to hire people from overseas”.
      Snag is you cannot believe this Ed. We need to hear more from the other.

      • Jebediah

        You’re deeply strange. You are either Ed Balls’ stalker, Ed Balls or Ed Balls’ intern. If you are none of those then… well, I pity you.

      • telemachus

        Students of history will recognise the wrong leader from 1994 to 2007 .
        There is little point in emulating that.
        Miliband can baby sit for a few more months before the charismatic genius achieves his true destiny.
        This one nation crap is the wrong direction and will backfire

      • 2trueblue


        • telemachus

          The more I hear this, the more I ache for the genius economic competence of this superstar

          • telekuka

            Can imagine where the ache is dearie.

      • telekuka

        I miss abu hamsa, he knows how to get a grip on things.

      • telekuka

        poor telemachus, forgot his medication again.

    • The Crunge

      Well said. Actually, could somebody explain the difference between “One Nation” and “big Society”. They seem to be interchangeable terms to me and thus of equal merit or vacuity.

      • telemachus

        Big Society is the public school version of the comprehensive One Nation

        • chris

          So, its less likely to leave a third of the people involved functionally illiterate then?

        • telekuka

          and you are in the bottom stream!

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