Ed Miliband’s key note speech has entrenched why I could never vote Labour. I was left feeling furious at his moral hypocrisy. Miliband tried throughout his speech to paint a new path for his party. To do this he seems to be enforcing a form of collective amnesia. Only by apologising for the heinous decisions both he and his colleagues made can he hope to move his party forward.
Firstly, on the economy Ed comments, “we will manage your money properly… I have a special responsibility to show that every pound that is spent, is spent wisely”. Excuse me Ed? If there is one thing that defines New Labour, it is the incredibly unwise way that they spent our public money. Think £12 bn on a failed NHS IT system, think £2.8 million on furnishing government offices, think of the unknown billions of pounds spent on the illegal war in Iraq. Was this wise Ed? If not, apologise.
Secondly, on the NHS, Ed commented, “The NHS offers the highest quality care when we need it…And nobody asked me for my credit card at the door”. I agree Ed, a National Health Service is important, but was it not Labour who spent years institutionalising the practice of allowing private providers to cherry pick the easiest cases? By guaranteeing private providers fixed prices, irrespective of performance, Labour spent £252 million on private providers to do literally nothing. Was it not Labour who pushed (now acknowledged to be) disastrous PFI schemes which are threatening the future of hospitals around the country?
Thirdly on education, Ed comments, “In any one year more than a quarter of our schools don’t even send five kids to the most competitive universities”. I agree Ed, that is a disgrace, but don’t you think this is just a little bit your party’s fault? I mean, these kids grew up under Labour, and ultimately failed to get into Uni under Labour. The problem is that it is not that your party didn’t do anything Ed, it is that the attainment gap between private and state schools doubled over the 13 years Labour were in power. Apologise for this legacy!
Fourthly, Ed commented on Murdoch by saying, “I knew when I said what I did that I was breaking rule number one in British politics. Don’t mess with Rupert Murdoch”. Ha! Sod off Ed. Labour were (are?) so in the pocket of vested interests it is not even funny. Remember your boss, big Gordon attending Brooks wedding? Remember Tony flying out to Hayman Island just to see Murdoch? Remember Brooks popping over to Chequers for a sleepover. This is without even starting on your inability to critique the Unions! I assume though Ed, that when you attended Murdoch’s summer party you raised the phone hacking scandal? Didn’t you? You must of! No? Sigh.
Lastly (I could carry on), on HE funding, Ed whimpered (that’s right he’s stopped commenting now and started whimpering – that’s how cross I am), “If we were in government now, we’d be cutting the costs of going to university from a maximum of £9,000 to £6,000”. Whoop-be-do Ed, way to be radical. Two problems though. 1) This is clearly regressive. As research by Martin Lewis shows, it will have no impact on the poorest graduates and will only benefit those on well above the average wage. 2) Again Ed, was it not Labour (with a huge majority and a booming economy) who introduced tuition fees (breaking a promise not to). Why were you so opposed to the coalition raising from the current £3,000 but now support a doubling of fees?
Sigh, I am aware that this blog is quite negative. I apologise. I am just fed up with Labour stumbling around failing to provide any real opposition because every rubbish policy this coalition comes up with has its roots in New Labour. Ed Miliband is not, and cannot provide effective opposition. Labour needs to be honest about the degree to which they have been dragged off a progressive course or forever be susceptible to people pointing to their track record. Ed, if you carry on like this, I and millions of other progressive minded individuals will not be able to vote for you. Get a grip mate.