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Ed Miliband visits Leeds…..

By Darrell Goodliffe

Ed Miliband became the first Miliband to visit Leeds on Thursday 10th June. The West Yorkshire Playhouse was packed but you got the feeling there was room for a few more (and there would have been many more interested in seeing Ed). Ed is defiantly setting out his stall as the candidate of the centre-left; burnishing his centre-left credentials with references to his political past. Obviously, both parents are far to the left of the Miliband brothers; Ed opened with a joke saying that he was glad Dianne Abbott had received enough nominations as now his mother had someone to vote for. Meanwhile, his father was a notable Marxist academic.

Clearly there is a radical, rhetorically at least, tint to the Miliband DNA and Ed has some eye-catching ideas; like for example, the extension of the governments commission investigating pay differentials into the private sector. However, despite obviously have a passion for his cause that radicalism of spirit sometimes falters like seeing little or no problem with CCTV and not seeing the scrapping of tuition fees as a priority. Also, when it comes to internal reform the Labour Party both the Miliband’s talk a good game but when it comes down to it I would question the radical credentials of merely electing Labour’s chair. When pressed about further powers for Conference; Ed wanted it to have an extended role but for that role to be one of guidance rather than of active policy making.

He made the good point that it was ridiculous position where the leadership lacked sufficient trust in the membership to let it shape the Party however; logically, it follows from that Conference should have some of its power with regard to policy making restored. I can’t help feeling trusting Labour members to elect a chair is not really giving them much at all. If Ed wants the party to be a fulcrum for a living breathing movement then there has to be an organic link to make sure the leadership is responsive to that movement.

In terms of his character you notice quickly that Ed is much more passionate in person than he comes across on TV where I think it comes across rather awkwardly. Nonetheless you still get the impression that Ed is the right one to form a strategic alliance between the left and centre of Labour while not sufficiently alienating the right to the point where it will flounce off either by sulking or actually splitting away. Leftists can be assured that his heart belongs with them and although his head may lead him to argue otherwise they know that in the end he will push the horizons of Labour forward and in the right general direction. However, this election is far from over yet…..

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One Response

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jane Watkinson, Broad Left Blogging. Broad Left Blogging said: Ed Miliband visits Leeds…..: http://wp.me/pXkBd-F […]

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