Saturday, 28 September 2013
Labour can't have their cake, then nationalise it, or pay the bills
Reflections on Ed Miliband's speech and approach dominated the 5 question and answer sessions I have done with young and old over the last 72 hours. On any interpretation Ed has taken the Labour party firmly to the Left.
And to think he had been denying he was Red Ed these last 3 years? There is no need to strain our hearing for the dogs that didn’t bark.
All we need to do is set out what Ed actually said.
1. He called for the state intervention to control the prices of the private energy utilities - hello 1970's.
2. He called for the state to appropriate privately owned land to commence a large scale house building program - goodbye Ponteland and Callerton Green Belt! For the first time ever I have sympathy for Lugano, and others, as their patiently built property portfolio would now be taken over by the Labour government...
3. He confirmed that the state would prioritise capital investment over deficit reduction - goodbye balancing the books, deficit reduction, and low interest rates, and welcome to greater debts for our children.
4. He announced that the state would provide child care to primary schoolchildren from 8.00am to 6.00pm, and a reversal of plans to reduce the welfare bill - goodbye iron discipline on spending
5. He announced that reforms to the NHS would be scrapped, condemned efforts to cut immigration, and a rise in taxation.
And even before he’d got to his feet, Ed Miliband said something else. Asked if he planned to bring back socialism, he replied: “That’s precisely what we’re doing.”
Some of these measures are populist, and playing to his core support, even if they are completely unworkable. But what cannot be contested is that this is a seriously Left-wing agenda from a leader who has chosen to define himself as Left-wing.
When Ed Miliband said he planned to bring back socialism it wasn’t a slip of the tongue.
We are not in the midst of some great “Red Scare” whipped up by the Right-wing media or Labour’s opponents. Were in the midst of a “Red Scare” that’s being whipped up by the leader of the Labour party.
There is no need for the papers to print scare stories about Labour seizing control of private sector companies, or snatching private land. It’s there in black and white in the leader’s speech.
Nor are claims that Labour is lurching back to the politics of the 1970s being led by Coalition spin doctors. They’re being lead by Ed Miliband’s own MPs. Listen to one Labour MP:
"Ed Miliband is taking Labour towards its real role for the first time since the 1979", wrote Labour MP Michael Meacher, glowingly.
In fact why be surprised?
The real Ed Miliband is finally standing up. Whether people in his party like his new Left-wing stance, or loathe it, it’s too late to be complaining about it now. For those who wanted a genuine debate about what type of choice we have at 2015 it is a lot starker now.