Thursday, 17 January 2013
I listened in amusement/amazement - take your pick - as Radio 4’s Today programme aired an interview with Ed Miliband this morning. Wow! What a vague and vacuous clown he is! He droned on and on in his ‘Edenoidal’ imitation of Tony Blair’s ‘man of the people’ act, glottal stopping and H-dropping like he was a right geezer, innit? But ultimately it was a car crash and he was crucified; nailed to the altar of Labour’s Blank Sheet manifesto.
He has nothing to say and few ways to say it. Yesterday in Prime Minister’s Questions he berated the PM for the conservatives constant dithering over Europe. Today in the interview, when asked for Labour’s stance, he couldn’t/wouldn’t/didn’t answer the question but pretended, to himself as much as anybody, that he had.
So what IS Labour planning to do? About anything? How will they convince anybody but the incurably gullible that they are not the same old tax-and-spend, fiscally bankrupt party of old? “Aha!” you say “they’ve published a pamphlet!” And indeed they have. I’ve read it, so you don’t have to and herewith I present my summary and translation. (I may have rearranged some of the words.)
“Labour needs to broker new and durable alliances across civil society, developing its digital communications and initiating and sustaining campaigns that build up its capacity for electoral success” And “The traditional phrases were solidarity and fraternity but neither work well for the changes in our country”
We need to do some back room deals, put some shit on YouTube, pretend we’ve changed but ultimately say the same old thing with longer words.
“We need to listen deeply, not just to the things we want to hear but to what we find difficult to hear. And we need to respond to people’s concerns by creating public debates that engage with the issues. In the process we will define One Nation Labour and the political life of the country.”
We still don’t have any actual policy – all we've got is a working title.
“If we are to be effective we will need two vital ingredients: people’s energy and their enterprise. Out of these will grow new initiatives, a sense of hope and a belief that Labour can make real change for the better in people’s lives.”
We haven’t got a clue what to do. Please will you tell us?
So, just what is One Nation Labour, Ed?
“First, it is a politics that is both radical and conservative. Second, it is the practice of a democratic politics of the common good. Third, the politics of the common good is governed by reciprocity. Fourth, it is a politics of being together”
You don’t really know then? A bit like the Big Society?
“The One Nation Conservative tradition has been a powerful national force. It gave many people meaning, value and a sense of belonging by respecting their place in the hierarchical order of property and status… The politics of the common good negotiates the distribution of power in society and the economy with the aim of making sure that no one interest or group dominates over others”
We even nicked our working title off the Tories!
It all comes down to what you want to believe. Evolution is forever challenged by a hotchpotch of other beliefs – a simple, elegant, demonstrable process versus a whole series of complex, contrived and contradictory theses requiring mental contortionism or blind faith to sustain. It’s pretty much the same thing in politics:
Capitalism is the simple, elegant, if sometimes brutal, way in which the human animal interacts. You have something I want? I need to give you something that you want. Capitalism sorts out the hierarchy pretty much on merit grounds without sentiment and with little fuss. Socialism, on the other hand is the Biblical strand of political theory. It needs enormously complex instruments to redistribute wealth to some bizarre ideal based on a faith that true human nature rarely recognises and frequently circumvents. The power is not in the hands of those who can, but in the hands of those who can talk.
Remember: Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach, manage . Those who can’t manage, become politicians. Those who can’t handle politics, become Marxist theorists.
Labour attempts to redesign humanity in its own image
All Capitalism needs to make it work is people and natural resources. Socialism needs a complicated web of non-producers, theorists and schemers, pulling strings and constantly meddling with detail dictated by an omnipotent intelligent designer – you really sure you’re up to that, Ed?