UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Raising the white flag on cuts - a response

It is no surprise that Len McCluskey has publically voiced the concerns that have been quietly uttered since Miliband’s disastrous first year as Leader of the Labour Party. Whilst being the Leader of the Opposition is bound to be a thankless task, one of the key roles is to hold the Government to account. Instead that opportunity has been squandered.

Most polls still showed that Labour could still be trusted on the economy and accepted the Global nature of the economic crisis. There was a begrudging, recognition, even in the right wing media, that Brown, for all his faults, had steered Britain away from the dark precipice that threatened to totally engulf the economy. That legacy has been misspent.

Miliband failed to pick up momentum and indulged in the displacement activity of the Murdoch press issues. Cheap hits to attach the party to Celebville. With the exception of the tragic Milly Dowler case, who really cares about the affairs of the super rich being exposed? Big deal. But in expanding party conference last year into a self-congratulatory ‘Spa day’ for Tom Watson et all we allowed focus on the damaging cuts from the Tories to be watered down.

The weakest link for the Tories was always going to be mass unemployment, high inflation and economic incompetence -failing to invest to grow. When Balls raised these arguments in TV and radio interviews, we were starting to win that debate. Now - for inexplicable reasons they feel the need to shift debate onto what is a ‘credible’ and 'tough' (Thatcherite) position on the economy. Why?

We are not in the midst of an election. We are not being asked to put forward hard figures. Now is the time for a debate about principles. Thos principles are about economic growth, employment, social housing, regulation of utilities, attacking poverty, creating jobs.

Why on earth would any Party Leader in that position or any Shadow Chancellor for that matter, just shoot themselves not so much in the foot but in the head? Once again we see the spectre of the Labour Party sleep walking into an electoral defeat.

If Ed Miliband and his front bench colleagues can't promote Labour principles and the real alternative that working people are crying out for then they're forfeiting their right to be in leadership positions in the labour movement.

Anna Rose