MILIBAND’S CALL TO ARMS?!
We have read Ed Miliband’s speech which, the papers said, was Labour’s opening shot in the election campaign.
It is full to bursting of banal cliches, with not a word about how anything of substance could be achieved. (You can read the speech HERE. The highlights in it, and one or two comments, are ours).
Miliband says for example that, "The energy companies have doubled the profit they make from each family and the average bill has gone up £300 a year”. So will he renationalise them? Run them as a unified and efficient public service? Not a word.
“Tuition fees have trebled” he says. What he doesn’t say is that it was his Party that introduced them in 1998! Will he abolish them? Not a word. He will prevent them from going too high, he says.
He complains about bank bonuses. But were there no bank bonuses during New Labour’s 13 years of government?
He describes the plight of workers and their families. But when we look for solutions, for concrete proposals, we get instead, the usual weasly words and get-out clauses.
He says that a plan that puts working people first, “means raising the minimum wage to over £8 an hour”. Yes it does. But will you do it?!
Why not say plainly that a Labour government would immediately raise the minimum wage to a specific figure? (Preferably £10). Why not say it will be enforced!
Miliband says his plan means, "dealing with the scandal of zero hour contracts.” Yes it does.
But what does “dealing with” mean? Why can’t he say that a Labour government would immediately abolish zero-hour contracts? That they will be made illegal.
He says that, "the banks and the energy companies have had things their way for too long”. They have.
But what will he do? "We will require these businesses to operate in a competitive way”, he says.
This is truly hopeless. In effect Labour is saying they can run capitalism better than the capitalists. To make society better, they will set RULES!
And the budget deficit? Labour’s plan is to, "cut the deficit every year and balance the books as soon as possible in the next parliament”. Miliband says this is to meet the obligations of, “our country’s future”.
But it’s not. It's aimed at meeting obligations to the bond holders and banks who lent the money! And this is debt and spending deficit resulted directly from bailing out the banks! Workers and their families didn’t create this debt. Why are they being asked to pay it back?
On public spending he say that, "outside protected areas, spending will be falling, not rising, department by department.” In other words cuts in public expenditure and services will continue under New Labour.
On immigration he says that we should should not to dismiss people’s concerns about it. He’s right. But we should combat people’s concerns by challenging the racist lies and innuendo. Does he do that? Not a single racist argument is seriously challenged.
Labour’s manifesto amounts to this.
Britain is unfair. It should be fair. We’ll try and do something. But within the constraints of the economic crisis and the need to cut public spending, pay “our” debts, and reduce the deficit.
This is appallingly inadequate!
We are saddened more than angry at Labour’s demise. There are still a few activists (and even one or two MPs) who are fighting for socialism. But their party is a prison for them. It is an organisation beyond redemption. They should get out.
But we are angry too. The crisis for workers and young people is too serious. The trade unions should withdraw their support for One Nation Labour (some already have).
They should join TUSC in building a party that will act as decisively for workers as the Tories act for capital!