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From The Socialist newspaper, 31 July 2014

Miliband needs a makeover... ...of his party and his politics

Nancy Taaffe

Labour leader Ed Miliband doesn't have an image problem, he has a policy problem. The problem is he doesn't have any, or at least policies that answer the gravity of the situation.

Millions of people suffer as inflation outstrips wages. The cost of food, transport, fuel and housing skyrocket. A million people have visited food banks. This is not only a joyless recovery, for the vast majority of people it's a moneyless one. A smirking George Osborne may don a hi-vis jacket and march through building sites in Northern England to boast of recovery. But when the camera pans to workers on the streets, people tell a different story. Millions are not feeling this recovery.

Right now a workers' leader with some understanding of 'Main Street' could easily 'connect' if they had the right policies. It wouldn't matter if he dribbled tomato sauce down his face while eating a bacon sandwich, cocked his head to one side like a cockatoo or even smiled like Wallace after a Wensleydale sandwich, if he represented a party whose ideas chimed with what millions of people were feeling and offered a way forward.

In 2010 Labour agreed with the shock therapy of austerity and still do. As cuts to the sick and disabled were at their height Labour said they would be tougher on welfare than the Tories. They have not led on the drive to raise the minimum wage or to cancel student debt or even come out in support of any workers on strike, not the firefighters nor tubeworkers nor the million public sector workers who struck on 10 July for fair pay.

It is the job of the workers' movement and workers' leaders to fight for our share in the recovery and to argue that we, the working class, the wealth creators, should run the economy in the interests of all.

The workers' movement has had many leaders who were no oil paintings, who failed to move with the grace of a gazelle yet they were loved and admired by millions. That was because they stubbornly fought for workers' gains. No amount of hostile propaganda or unflattering photo ops could remove these sentiments.

Miliband could learn much from these socialist leaders who remained true to their socialist ideals. But he won't. He's paying 80 grand to an image consultant instead!

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 31 July 2014:


Middle East

No more carnage in Gaza - Mass struggle to end the siege - Stop Israeli state terror

Gaza in crisis - Mass action needed to stop bloodshed

Thousands march against slaughter in Gaza


Socialist Party feature

WW1 - 100 years since the great slaughter


Socialist Party

Obituary: Dave Boyes

Socialism 2014: Ideas to change the world

Socialist Party news


Socialist Party news and analysis

Economic recovery - so where's our share-out?

Student loan sell-off plan scrapped

More police spying revelations

Miliband needs a makeover... ...of his party and his politics

Them & Us


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

10/hr Now! Because the bills keep coming and the rent won't wait!

Tolpuddle martyrs rally

And now for something completely different... a barricaded cinema

Hackney tenants get organised

Solidarity with Birmingham student occupiers

Southampton: Channel 4's Immigration Street condemned

Rugby League: Have Featherstone fans got their club back?


Socialist Party workplace news

Passport Office strikes for jobs and decent pay

Reinstate Bryan Kennedy

The games that Glasgow Labour plays

Doncaster Care UK workers striking for 2 weeks

Workplace news in brief


 

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