Ed’s Inspirations: An anagram for success?
What drives Ed Miliband
Ed has repeated a claim recently that he wants to be a conviction politician, like Thatcher. He has also sought to revive the spirit of the 1945 Attlee government to frame how he sees the challenge of leading the UK in the 21st Century and the changes needed to meet that challenge. And he has taken inspiration from Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican President; Disraeli, a Tory Prime Minster; and his father Ralph, a Marxist academic. It easy to see why people consider his approach mixed and confusing, but his views and convictions are easier.
What do they all have in common?
Ed’s inspirations all have one thing in common. They were all looking to break up power and tackle the big problems in society and the economy. The same is true when we look at Ed’s battles with the newspapers, the energy market, the banks, hoarders of land and inactive developers on the housing market. These are all areas that exhibit high concentrations of power; power that nobody has yet had the guts to stand up to.
When leading Tories such as Maurice Saatchi quote Marx saying that “the end result of competition is the end of competition”, and with the right accepting failures in laissez-faire markets, should the left not just go for old socialist headline grabbing policies such as higher taxes? Labour could promise a more progressive tax system; on bankers’ bonuses, reinstate the 10p rate and raise the top rate back to 50p, and throw in a mansion tax for good measure.
Ed however doesn’t seem to believe nationalisation holds the key for the consumer but competition. Nationalisation utilities and transport networks, despite public backing is not really on the table then. In some cases though Labour have looked at the closest and cheapest alternative, such as New Labour’s ‘state run competition’ for the railways.
Bringing back Socialism:
Ed’s promise to ‘bring Socialism back to Britain’ meant that for once the people would have a champion to stand up against powerful and vested interests. The best way to do this is to break up those vested interests and tackle power head on, force competition in markets and make them work for everyone. While the modern left has come to accept the benefits of the market, only the left appreciate the limits of that competition. Despite championing competition in some areas, Labour have drawn a red line under competition in the NHS.
Labour’s enforced competitive markets strategy may seem very ‘free -market’, but actually it is far from it, harnessing the best and ditching the worst. It would create a system where monopolies would be broken up, and we are left with many more producers, from which thousands of consumers may benefit. It seems without government oversight and intervention free markets aren’t perfect markets at all. The whole thing seems more fairy-tale than reality with monopolies and oligopolies being the norm.
Following Roosevelt’s idea that the power of the people is in the hands of the government, Ed seems willing to rip up large corporations. He remembers that the power of the people must always go before the power of money and influence.
By tackling this issue of power Ed hopes to also tackle low voter turnout; after all, we don’t vote to die at work or be ripped off by landlords, or under paid by corporate giants, or disrespected by large chains. So to paraphrase Ed the ‘squeezed middle’ just want to get on, work five days a week, spent time with the family have enough money to live comfortably and know there is a safety net when things don’t go to plan, i.e. when the market fails them.
In correcting the market, so that instead of hearing about profits soaring when times are bad, we hear about new opportunities, we know that we won’t be treated like dirt for being failed time and time again with lack of work to go round.It would be a welcome change to have a government truly on the side of the people, a change long overdue.