Why Labour must unite

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There is no point pretending this has been an easy week for Labour. The Lib Dems may be quailing in the face of electoral Armageddon while many Tories still resent Cameron for both failing to win in 2010 and probably leading them to defeat now.
But it is Ed Miliband and Labour who have been making headlines this week.
Is this fair?
Ed Miliband has never had tremendously high personal ratings. Until this year, however, few people had a good answer as to why this was. Miliband’s stance on press and energy reform were well received.
There have been gaffes in recent months though, notably missing mention of the deficit from the conference speech. Holding a copy of The Sun in public was also an error as was the decision to allow himself to be photographed eating. Miliband looks no weirder eating than anyone else. But the press are not Labour’s friend. Pictures can always be selected to look bad. Nobody looks good when they are half blinking.
Does any of this really matter? Well, no. They are presentation issues essentially.
Would David Miliband now be going through the same ordeal were he now leader? There is no doubt. Look at the fuss that was made over him holding a banana in public (not even really a gaffe).
Unlike the Tories, Labour have a number of potential future leaders lined up: Andy Burnham, Chuka Umunna. Yvette Cooper.
But this isn’t the time.
Let us remember:
Ed Miliband is substantially older and more experienced than Caneron and Clegg were in 2010. Miliband has cabinet experience. They did not.
Ed Miliband has adopted a respectable policy on press reform rather than Cameron’s cowardly dishonorable one. Unfortunately, this is why the press hate him more than most other Labour leaders.
Cameron has proven extremely gaffe-prone appointing Andy Coulson despite a rising tide of evidence against him, introducing the absurd bedroom tax and u-turning on everything from the pasty tax to the privatisation of national parks.
The Tories simply cannot be trusted on the NHS. Labour can.
Britain needs to stay in the EU. Only Labour can ensure this.
And Labour are, despite everything, still set to win, probably with an overall majority.
The party must remain united in these crucial last six months.

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16 thoughts on “Why Labour must unite

  1. Alas, I fear it may be too late. Many Labour voters I know are voting ukip next time as they believe – perhaps justifiably – that the thirteen years of the last Labour government totally ignored their hopes and aspirations. And when they do voice concerns they get labeled a bigot. The current crop of Labour MP’s and prospective MP’s need to go back and remember why the Labour Party was founded in the first place…..

      • I agree with your point about the NHS 100%. I have never – and until my dying day – ever agree the Tory Party has had or ever will have the best interests of the NHS at heart. However, the minimum wage is a start but it is not a living wage. There are still people the length and breath of this country who are still living in conditions that are not acceptable. Peace in Northern Ireland is fragile. Dissident groups still abound (although fortunately, appear impotent at the moment). The disastrous decision to invade Iraq in 2003 has brought a terrorist threat to this country never before seen by any generation in our long history. I give two examples (there are many more) of two people who will not be voting Labo next time. One, a staunch Labour voter for sixty years says the party has sold his sole. The disgraceful expenses scandal the other year has put him of voting for anybody ever again. The second person – again a Labour voter for sixty years – voted UKip at the last euro election as she no longer understood what the party stood for. I know these people well because they happen to be my parents. And when they are moved to do something like this (and when the party drives away people who have voted for it – without fail – you know something is seriously wrong with the party of the working man…..

      • I certainly agree that the living wage is worth going for. My understanding is that Labour support that too? The minimum wage was just the start. The Tories opposed even that.
        I agree also that the expenses scandal brought shame on parliament generally. But Labour were not especially culpable and UKIP have a terrible record on that anyway.
        Labour were established in 1900. It would be odd if they were exactly the same as they were then. The Tories and Liberals have changed a lot in that time too.

      • RE : Labour getting back to it’s roots – I was thinking along the lines of getting more Labour MP’s into Parliament that reflect society as a whole (factory workers/miners (are there any left?/engineers/teachers/social workers/union officials/nurses and so on and so on. I accept the party cannot return to the days of the flat cap and clogs but those first batch of Labour MP’s understood the issues, problems and concerns of the ordinary working man. Far too of our MP’s are coming straight out of university and into politics without having done a decent and honest day’s work in their lives…

    • Miliband pledged the following yesterday:
      First, I will undo the damage the Tories have done to our country:
      I will scrap the Bedroom Tax, which unfairly punishes the disabled and the vulnerable
      I will scrap the Health and Social Care Act, which damages and undermines our NHS
      I will scrap the gagging law, which limits our freedom of speech and right to campaign
      I will reverse the Tories’ £3bn tax cut for millionaires, so we get the deficit down but do it fairly
      Second, I will take on the powerful vested interests that hold millions back:
      I will force energy companies to freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017
      I will give power back to those who rent their homes, by scrapping letting fees and stabilising tenancy agreements
      I will raise money from tobacco companies, tax avoiders, and a mansion tax to fund doctors, nurses, careworkers and midwives for our NHS
      I will reform our banks so that they properly support small businesses
      I will stop recruitment agencies hiring only from abroad
      Third, I will start to rebuild a fairer, better Britain:
      I will raise the minimum wage, to ensure that everyone that does a hard day’s work is properly rewarded
      I will promote the living wage by giving tax breaks to companies that pay it
      I will ban the damaging zero-hours contracts that exploit British workers
      I will bring in a lower 10p income tax rate, cutting taxes for 24 million workers
      I will support working parents with 25 hours of free childcare for three- and four-year-olds
      I will help more young people get on the housing ladder by getting 200,000 homes built every year

      • This is all well and good and, I speak as a Labour voter since I was first able to cast one, but why are Labour only attracting around 30 % in the opinion polls (give or take a few points). A party with a bold agenda as this should be 10-15 % ahead of the nasty party. Something is telling me all is not well in the Labour camp and issues as this only highlight the problem at the top?

      • The real worry is that an election is due by May 2015 – just SEVEN months away. Any Opposition party wanting to form the next UK government should be far ahead in the polls. And, let’s be fair and blunt, Labour ain’t. THAT factor alone should set alarm bells ringing. Their current lead (if they still have one at time of writing) is – to borrow a phrase from our American cousins – chicken****…………

    • A lot of people claim this is a major problem with politicians in all parties, not just Labour. I’m not convinced its such a major issue though. Firstly, career politicians are hardly a new thing. And, secondly, I’ve never noticed any difference in the quality of those MPs anyway. Is an MP a better MP simply because they worked in a shop before? I think not!

      • I agree.there are grounds for concern.But Labour only have to come first. And they are currently on course to win a small majority.. The Tories need to be at least 5% to even get the same number of seats. And they are behind. It’s not in the bag and as I say in my blog, they could be doing better. But I see no grounds for despair either.

  2. Representatives of society: Background and characteristics of MPs
    Author: Richard Cracknell

    The social make-up of those elected to the House of Commons has changed over the last 100 years.

    In terms of gender, ethnicity and occupation, MPs have become more diverse. But they have become less varied in terms of their educational background, and possibly the extent to which they represent the changing world outside Westminster.

    The first female was elected in 1918. However, women were less than 10% of all MPs until 1997, when the election of 120 women brought the proportion in the Commons to 18%, double the 9% pre-election tally. After a slight dip in 2001, the number of women MPs has continued to grow; 143 women MPs were elected in the 2010 General Election, 22% of the total.

    Ethnically, the House of Commons has become more diverse. Until 25 years ago, MPs had largely been white, although a small number of MPs who would probably now be classed as black and minority ethnic were elected before 1900. The first contemporary black and minority ethnic MPs were elected in 1987 and the number has grown since then. Following the 2010 General Election there were 27 minority ethnic MPs, 11 Conservative and 16 Labour.

    Over 75% of current MPs are graduates; in the period 1918 to 1945, around 40% were. There have been increases across all parties, but particularly for Labour MPs. Before 1945, less than 20% of Labour MPs were graduates. This rose to 32% in 1945, and steadily after that to stand at 72% by 2010.

    To an extent, the occupational composition of the House of Commons changes with the electoral fortunes of the parties. Former teachers and manual workers have been more likely to be Labour MPs than those with a business or legal background, who are more likely to be Conservative.

    The number of manual workers among MPs is lower now than in the immediate post-war years when, typically, one-third of Labour MPs were in this group; today, it is less than one in 10. In 1945 there were 45 Labour MP ex-miners, in 2010 there were six. Fewer MPs now have a legal background compared with 50 and 100 years ago.

    As the numbers of MPs with manual and legal backgrounds has fallen, so the number with a political background has increased. In 2010, 14% of MPs from the three main parties had previously been politicians or political organisers, compared to around 3% up to 1979.

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