Monday 17 May 2010

"I agree with Jon", say both Milibands

Ed Miliband prefaced his speech to the Fabian Next Left conference with the joke that, given her values and position in the party, his mother's candidate in the Labour leadership contest would be Jon Cruddas.

In that case, it is good to see that both Miliband brothers trying hard to appeal to their mother and other Cruddasites too.

David Miliband gave his own official campaign launch speech today in South Shields. Here he was talking to The Observer on Sunday

He's taught me a lot, Jon Cruddas. He's been talking about housing for a long time. He's been talking about community organising for a long time. He's fought the BNP. I think uniting different talents is an important job. Because it's not ideologically riven, this party. There's enough shades to make it interesting but I don't see incompatibilities."

"That offers not so much an olive branch to the left as an olive grove", write Andrew Rawnsley and Toby Helm.

And there seemed to be two significant 'Cruddasite' influences on Ed Miliband's Fabian speech on Saturday too.

Firstly, the (entirely accurate) account of New Labour's radical achievements as mostly belonging to the 1997-2001 first term, and the policies developed in opposition, followed by a loss of radicalism as the party failed to renew in power.

After the financial crisis, the party leadership was at pains not to talk about bankers' rewards for failure in anything like the tone that Blair and Brown used about "fat cats" in the privatised utilities in 1996-97. It would have been too "Old Labour" to be New Labour circa 1996!

Secondly, the argument about immigration "as a class issue", about which Jon Cruddas talks in detail to Prospect in an online interview with David Goodhart.


Harry Barnes said...

The late Ralph Miliband would have supported neither of his sons. But then he wasn't in the Labour Party.

Sunder Katwala said...


Thanks. I admit its a long time since I read Parliamentary Socialism at university. And maybe I am irredeemably Fabian and gradualist by nature.

But if going for a Parliamentary and democratic political agenda always and inevitably sells out, I could never quite work out what constructive political agenda would arise from that.

HollyT said...

David Miliband marked himself as a change from New Labour in his election launch speech today, when he said: “I am part of a modern generation. Idealistic not dogmatic.” This is a really interesting observation on his part, in light of the fact that he is part of a generation—Generation Jones—which is often described specifically as “practical idealists”. I just read two articles in the last week which focused on how Generation Jonesers are pragmatic yet idealistic, and why this is exactly what England needs right now. [Two articles can be read here: and ] I suppose it’s not surprising that Jonesers have this collective personality trait, given that they came along between the ideological idealism of the Boomers, and the cynical alienation of the GenXers. This site is worth taking a look at if you’re interested in getting a better sense of GenJones:

Jane Chelliah said...

Immigration is a class issue.The aspiration of meritocracy has led all parties to forget that class issues stil exist in this country.