Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ed Milliband wants me to show courage. The courage of a lemming, admittedly...

And so Ed Milliband has made his big speech to the Fabians, and he thinks that the labour Party should work with 'courageous' Liberal Democrats, i.e. those that agree with him. So, what did he have to say?

The decision of the Liberal Democrats to join a Conservative-led government was a tragic mistake, and I hope they come to see that in time.

I'm assuming that you think that going to coalition with Conservatives would always be a mistake. In which case, if we're only ever going to work with you, what would be the point of us existing as an independent political party? No, I forget, you'd really rather we didn't.

Forgive me if I decline to join those who are gloating at the expense of the Liberal Democrats.
But weren't you the one who said that we should be eradicated? Or am I confusing you with another Milliband?

Because their mistake means they are part of a government attempting to shift politics to the Right.
No, we're part of a government that is attempting to make up for your wastefulness, extravagance and cowardice, and because it doesn't have you in it, it is less left-wing than you were, not exactly political rocket science.

I am certainly pleased that many Liberal Democrats now see Labour as the main progressive hope in British politics.
Many Liberal Democrats what? Members? No, don't think so. Supporters, maybe? Voters, certainly? But what are you offering them? A false hope that, miraculously, the massive overspending that the Coalition inherited will just go away all by itself? An option of throwing up your hands and saying that nothing can be done? Hope of what, exactly?

Thousands of them have joined us since the election. 
Really, or was it just people who support you anyway and have joined because they hope that you might save them from the fate you brought them?

I want them to find a welcome home in our party – not just making up the numbers, but contributing actively to the strengthening of our values and the renewal of our policies.
So, let me get this right, you want us to join because, as liberals, we fit right into your party's agenda of removing civil liberties, increasing centralisation, slavish indulgence of American foreign policy, a larger role for the state in people's lives? For pity's sake, can't someone send him a copy of 'On Liberty'?

But equally there are many Liberal Democrats who have decided to stay and fight for the progressive soul of their party. Most of them do not want to see their progressive tradition sacrificed for personal ambition.
Actually, I'm staying because I intend to fight for the liberal soul of my party. The word 'progressive' is so meaningless, so devoid of philosophical fibre, that it can only be the last refuge of a political movement that only believes in what will get it elected. And as for political ambition, what does your CV include, Ed? A proper job doing anything outside of the Westminster bubble?

I respect their choice too and I understand how painful it must be to watch what is happening to their party.
Actually, my Party gives me a say in that, unlike the Labour Party. I got to take part in a debate on whether or not to go into coalition, I get to vote for my leader on the basis of one person, one vote, I get to make policy at our conference. Oh sorry, I really shouldn't have mentioned the second bit, should I?...

We do not doubt that they hold sincere views and we will co-operate, where we can in Parliament and outside, with those that want to fight the direction of this government.
And take it in which direction, Ed? Oh, but you can't tell me, can you. You can tell me where you won't go, or might not go. But you don't actually know. Perhaps you could provide me with a philosophical roadmap, so I could make an educated guess. Ah, but that hasn't been agreed yet. All I can tell is that you're in favour of protecting the poor, the vulnerable and the under-represented. So am I. However, because you spent all of the money (ask Liam Byrne, he'll explain that to you...), we can't do all of the things that you borrowed money to pay for.

It is our duty to work with progressives everywhere.

Which perhaps indicates that you don't buy the word 'progressive' either. If you were one, you'd have said 'fellow progressives'. Thanks, but no thanks...


bgbrighton said...

Nice article. Pretty much captures my sentiments on the matter. Especially regarding that word "progressive"... where were all the Labour progressives the last 13 years?

Mike Beckett said...

Ed might have some credibility on this if we didn't have a memory of what he did in Government and what else he has said regarding Liberal Democrats!

cheekbones3 said...

Nice to hear a sensible voice in the tidal swell of media bullshit.

I wonder when I'll hear another Lib Dem supporter who's actually relatively happy with the way the last election turned out getting some acknowledgement of existence by the trad mouthpieces.