‘Let me say this to the country directly: ‘When you saw the worst financial crisis in a generation, I understand your anger that Labour hadn’t stood up to the old ways in the City which said deregulation was the answer’
The hard work begins now that Ed has beaten his brother David for the Labour leadership in the battle of the Milibands. The media backlash began within five minutes of his winning the electoral contest with the BBC, Sky News and the Tory tabloids either questioning his democratic mandate or christening him ‘Red Ed’ for his perceived wish to lurch his party to the Left.
In a highly civilized, seemingly endless campaign, there was little to suggest that there is a huge ideological hinterland between the two brothers. But there was more than the proverbial cigarette paper between them; Ed’s vision is, contrary to Will Hutton’s assertion, more progressive, strategic and meritocratic than that of David’s. Labour’s fight back starts today. We have an indication of the younger Miliband’s goals as Labour Party leader.
‘I stand before you, clear in my task: to once again make Labour a force that takes on established thinking, doesn’t succumb to it, speaks for the majority and shapes the centre ground of politics.’
Ed, as he stated, is his own man. He has, in the shrewd observation of Polly Toynbee, focused on the real middle class, those earning £20-30,000 and looking for a better life for their families; surely these are the much-cited hard-working families that Labour, not ‘New Labour’, needs to win back. If the party can’t regain this support in the worst recession since the 1930s, then they really are in trouble. He will keep the 50% top rate of income tax and, if he appoints Ed Balls as Shadow Chancellor, will be making a real statement of clear red lines between Labour and the ConDem Coalition when it comes to spending cuts. If he picks David, he’ll be playing it safe and reassuring the right-wing press.This will be a hugely significant selection for the new leader.
‘My beliefs will run through everything I do. My beliefs, my values are my anchor and when people try to drag me – as I know they will – it is to that sense of right and wrong, that sense of who I am and what I believe to which I will always hold.’
He has already picked a fight but not with the unions as the Sun et al have urged. Ed’s target has been the worst excesses of the Blair-Brown legacy. He wants to put the TB-GBs behind the party for good. He has come out as against the Iraq war, smacking down Blair and attacked the erstwhile belief that boom and bust was gone forever, a lesser, but calculated, dig at his former mentor Brown. He has shown courage in taking on his older brother who was all but anointed as leader at the start of the campaign. He is the choice of the progressive left, not News International.
‘Let’s inspire people with our vision of the good society. Let the message go out, a new generation has taken charge of Labour. Optimistic about our country. Optimistic about our world. Optimistic about the power of politics.We are the optimists and together we will change Britain’
Miliband has a new generation of smart parliamentarians to lead. He is the right wonk in the right place and has the potential to renew the Labour Party and redefine the democratic left space in Britain. Let’s judge him by the substance. He could be a great leader for Labour.