Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/820/19036
The Socialist 30 July 2014 |
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Miliband needs a makeover... ...of his party and his politics
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!