Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Miliband v Miliband

You can read my take on the Miliband brothers' argument over Labour electoral strategy on the New Statesman website - The real difference between the Milibands.

For the first time in Labour's history, party members will return leadership ballots without already knowing who will win. That is because Ed Miliband rejected a Bobby Kennedy role, seeking to influence his brother's leadership from a kitchen table seat. A significant political disagreement with his brother gave him reason to believe that his advice would seldom be taken.

That argument has finally moved to centre-stage as the campaign closes. It is not about different worldviews - both are social democrats who believe Labour's mission is to narrow the gap in life chances, albeit with mildly different instincts about how to get there. And the brothers have resisted excessively personalising their fraternal battle, to the mutual frustration of some supporters.

What the Milibands really disagree about is why Labour lost and how to win again. Couched in psephological number-crunching about the shifting class structure, they are playing out a deeper existential question about the party's strategy and public identity. What does "moving on" from New Labour mean, and how deep should it go? David Miliband warns that throwing out too much of a recently successful formula could mean a long spell in opposition; Ed Miliband fears that it is failing to recognise the scale of change needed which would keep the party from power.

Read it here

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