Sunday, August 22, 2010

Miliband: Labour Needs to Do Better Politics

David Miliband syas Labour needs to abandon crude politics

As the Labour leadership race enters its final leg before ballotting begins on September 1, many of the candidates have declared that Labour must do politics differently if it is to rebuild.

For Miliband, this means going back to the party's principles, and to stop pandering to specific portions of the British electorate.

Miliband argues that Labour's approach to politics had become ill-advised from its very get-go, and that parties that base their politics on polls and demographics deserve to lose.

"When your starting point is polling numbers, rather than principle and policy you end up with transparent positioning like 'British jobs for British workers'," Miliband explains.

Rather, Miliband insists that Labour must focus on appealing to Britons as a whole.

"Labour lost in 2010 because its appeal collapsed across social classes," he continues. "And the political coalition that in 1997 united all shades of opposition to the Conservatives -- centre and centre-Left -- broke down."

Miliband blames an ideologically insular approach to politics, one that frequently either targetted the interests of Britain's middle class, or cast aspersions on their ambitions and aspirations.

Labour had fooled itself into believing that it didn't need the middle class. In Miliband's mind, this is what cost the party the election.

"You just can't craft an election majority out of a minority," Miliband says. "It is dangerous to pretend that we don't need the middle classes."

That means that Labour needs to permanently abandon any pretenses of class warfare, such as the kind that former leader Gordon Brown tried to wage during the lead up to the 2010 election.

It means that comments such as those by fellow candidate Diane Abbott -- who declared Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to be "posh white boys" -- must also be abandoned in future.

David Miliband has promised that Labour will do politics differently. He's declared the need for Labour to do politics better.

If he's elected leader, it will be up to him to deliver on both.

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