Ed Miliband is already winning the battle of ideas

A guest post by Toby Bakare

Because it was his brother who he defeated, it went unnoticed that Ed Miliband had actually won the intellectual battle to be elected leader of the Labour Party. Whilst David Miliband was defending the record of 13 years in government, Ed had deconstructed the problem of why the party had lost and was far happier to abandon the past than his elder brother was.

The Labour party simply failed to energise a core base of voters, white, working class and urban. Events such as the MP’s expenses scandal and bigotgate were only symptoms of this underlying cause. To get these voters back is where the party needs to start in the road to re-election. Ed Miliband won the battle of ideas in the leadership contest and now must do the same against the current government.

Cameron has, over the past few weeks, shown himself to be an opportunist, reacting to events rather than having any ideas of his own. The current government is the most radical since Thatcher – with reforms on several fronts and in areas she daren’t touch – but it is a government that is radical for the sake of being radical, just so they can leave office having said that they made their mark.

Every big idea, which has any ideological basis, has been shown to be empty. The so called ‘new politics’ was never credible. The big society is being shot down from every corner, and rightly so as the very agents of change, the voluntary sector, are being stripped bare, and the idea that “sunshine can win the day,” a finishing line from a Cameron conference speech, is now utterly laughable in the age of austerity. 

Ed Miliband, himself the son of a Marxist intellectual, should take the fight to Cameron on a grand platform that can be explained over a long period and has a sound ideology basis. The early signs look good; in a recent speech the Labour Party leader talked of the ‘British Promise,’ an idea similar to the American Dream that is based on the idea that subsequent generations should expect to receive better opportunities than their parents had. This is a start, simple to communicate and based on sound notions of social justice and family; it is the beginning of ‘Blue Labour’ – socialist ideals, framed within concepts of family, faith and flag i.e. conservative strong points.

Whilst I would like to see more aspects of liberalism, especially with respect to education policy, there is already weight to the ideals of Ed Miliband that David Cameron simply doesn’t have.


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