Letter publishewd in Guardian 24 May 2011 on Labour Party policy
Ed Miliband says he ‘has listened’ to what the electorate wants, but his latest policy statement is nothing more than a rehash of his acceptance speech after winning the Labour Party leadership. So what has he learned by listening? ( ‘Why I’ll never hug a husky’; Guardian 21 May)
He says the last Labour government ‘made mistakes’, but it wasn’t mistakes it made by adopting its ideological obsequiousness to big business. It accepted the precepts of the global financial institutions and believed, sailing blithely on the wave of incontinent consumer spending, that ‘boom and bust’ were of the past. It is its failure to understand the incendiary characteristics of casino capitalism that has led us into the present ongoing crisis.
His language, too, shows that he hasn’t understood the need for ideological change. Giving people a chance to ‘get onto the housing ladder’, as he writes, reveals the same blinkered thinking that characterised New Labour. Housing should be a right, and most people want simply that: a decent place to live. The ladder concept is a Thatcherite one and implies buying to invest, moving up the property and status chain, and it is that sort of thinking which created the housing bubble in the first place.
Until the Labour Party is able to offer people an alternative vision to outdated capitalism and imbue them with realistic hope of a society based on justice, fairness and stability, they will be doomed to repeat the sad history of social democracy throughout Europe.