Ed Miliband is raising his flag in preparation for the forthcoming elections, and has revealed a policy strategy that is, at best, underwhelming. With an election phrase that could have been plucked out of the pages of The Grapes of Wrath or from the prospectus of a charity which cares for the terminally ill, “With you in tough times” is pretty grim.
The Labour strategy seems to be to criticise the Con Dem government in merely the mildest of terms, and Miliband can’t rise above Blair/Brown Labour’s cynical hunt for the middle England voters of the Mail and the Telegraph. If I was a Labour supporter, I would be disheartened at a critique like:
“This government have abandoned the pretense that they can govern for the whole country. They have betrayed Middle Britain.”
Hardly a shattering condemnation. Sodden with supplication to the middle class swing voter, rather than appealing to the people who are suffering, or will suffer, from a government which is targeting the most vulnerable in society whilst trying to make the wealthy even more comfortable.
An open goal for Ed Miliband’s election launch should have been the NHS, but even there he can’t muster a courageous commitment to the jewel in the UK’s public service crown:
“We will repeal the free market, free-for-all principles in this bill.”
He won’t even commit to scrapping the Bill in it’s entirety, just a lame Lib Dem style promise that’s easy to weasel out of. The cowardice of third way politics.
I know this is a local election campaign and there is a limitation in what local councils can do in the face of national policy changes, but if Miliband should be setting out a stall of what Labour is going to be in 2015.
Judging by Miliband’s mediocre outing so far, there’s little to separate Labour from the Conservatives, making the party that built NHS more like Tory-lite, than Labour fight back.
David Cameron must be loving it.
Many Tories like to model themselves as libertarians, but really under the surface they are simply authoritarian curtain-twitchers. They want to control every aspect of other people’s lives with much the same zeal as the Soviet. To control you have to know what people are doing, and thinking. Now David Cameron wants to snoop on every UK citizen, whether they’ve committed a crime or not, under plans announced today.
This changes all of us from being citizens, into potential perpetrators of whatever the government deems to be criminal. This is the authoritarian moral abyss of Judge Dredd, where everyone who is not guilty of something, will be sooner or later.
We can’t trust our security services with our information. Given the porous nature of the relationship between the police forces and the media, any person’s emails, texts or the details of which websites they visit, could be leaked to a press after blood. Be it a footballer or a union official, or maybe an ordinary person, like a former teacher suspected of murder. Every grain of their online existence will become grist for the mill in search of sales and advertising revenue.
Labour demonstrated the same drive to collect information on UK citizens during the Blair and Brown years, but failed. Now, instead of respecting every citizen’s right to privacy, David Cameron is resurrecting Labour’s plans to spy on us, and make the UK just like that other great shining example of liberal democracy, China.