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Posts Tagged ‘Ed Miliband’

The Age of Responsibility

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, August 13th 2011

As the burning embers fizzle out and the streets and cities of England return to some degree of normalcy, so the inquest begins into the causes and consequences of what we are all now calling ‘the English riots’.

It is clear the losers are those who have chosen to simplify and attempt to make too obvious political capital out of the troubles: Ken Livingstone for one was disowned by many Labour colleagues for jumping on ‘the cuts were to blame’ bandwagon ahead of next year’s London Mayoral contest.

All of our political classes are struggling to find the right words, avoid clichés and connect with the public mood. The simplicities of many on the left and right have jarred even more in these times. The left blaming ‘the cuts’ and falling police numbers, the right a police service neutered by a PC culture, alongside the last Labour Government busting the nation financially.

To some, the young people on the streets are Thatcher’s children, to others Blair’s children. They are neither. They are our children and all of us bear a responsibility. Read the rest of this entry »

After New Labour, the Limits of the New Socialism and the Need for a Radical Politics

Gerry Hassan

Compass, December 20th 2010

British politics are in a strange place – one where while some of the landscape remains the same so much is different. All of the three main parties have been disorientated by the result of the election and coalition along with the scale of the crisis.

One response to this from parts of the left is to retreat into the hoary old slogans of opposition and struggle, of shouting ‘Tory cuts’ without strategy or the need for rethinking. Another approach of part of the centre-left is to hope it can at an elite level influence the Labour leadership and win it to a progressive agenda; an approach which has paid scant dividends throughout history and nearly always ended in disappointment.

The dominant Westminster commentariat opinion has already established its position on Labour after the election. The narrative is that Labour is heading back to its old comfort zones and that Ed Miliband has already failed as Labour leader: branded by the mainstream media as illegitimate, indecisive and lacking in political strategy.

Then there are the opinion polls. Labour may be cheered by the polls – and in most it is at or above 40% – and ahead of the Conservatives. However, Miliband’s ratings – are so critics allege – the lowest for any new leader apart from Michael Foot, William Hague and Nick Clegg; Neil Kinnock, John Smith, Tony Blair and David Cameron all had higher ratings. The argument is clear: Ed Miliband is a loser. Read the rest of this entry »

The People’s Flag and the Union Jack: An Alternative History of Britain and the Labour Party
Gerry Hassan is a writer, commentator and thinker about Scotland, the UK, politics and ideas. more >
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