As regular readers of this blog will know, I am not a fan of the Labour leadership and I haven’t been since Kinnock delivered that speech. This does not mean that I am against working with individual Labour members to fight the cuts. I am prepared to work with anyone who is fighting the ideologically driven cuts that this Tory-led government (whose own mandate for such cuts is dubious) is currently implementing. Indeed my local Labour MP, Andy Slaughter, is pretty decent and the local party is doing the right things (though, some years ago, I had a serious disagreement with the former Labour MP, Iain Coleman, over the Iraq invasion).
In recent weeks, the Tory press has printed stories about how unions are planning to go on strike during the royal wedding. We know why these papers have printed such stories and the word that I have in mind begins with the letters “s” and “m”. Last Sunday, Ed Miniband chipped in with his twopenneth worth on the Andrew Marr Show,
Labour leader Ed Miliband has said he is “appalled” by the idea of trade unions planning strikes to disrupt Royal Wedding celebrations.
He told the BBC such a plan of action would be “absolutely the wrong thing to do” and a “sign of failure”.
The Daily Mail led the charge with this article on 30 December 2010. They quote Mark Serwotka of the PCS union as saying,
Unless you look like you want a fight, they won’t negotiate. The Government has to see we are serious.’
He added: ‘Actions around Easter have quite an effect because so much is happening at that time of year.
‘The end of April, beginning of May would be best. The royal wedding would not be a factor in our planning but nor would it be a factor to avoid.
The wording here is vague, yet the pair who wrote this claim to have some kind of ability to see into the future as well as the hearts of men.
No union leader has actually called for strikes during the royal wedding. Yet, Miliband appears to have fallen into a trap laid for him by the Tory press by condemning the action in advance.
This article from the Press Association says,
In a warning shot to union bosses, Mr Miliband said that strikes were a “legitimate last resort” in industrial disputes, but he did not want to see them used in a co-ordinated attempt to undermine the coalition Government, insisting that this was not the way to bring about a change in power.
It’s that last sentence that sticks in the mind like a splinter. What Dear Ed seems to forget is that parliamentary opposition is limited to what the Labour front bench decides or doesn’t decide to do. What Miniband wants us to do is to submit to their [lack of] leadership. Here he summons up the ghosts of the 1980’s.
He insisted there must be no going back to the divisive and politically-driven disputes of the 1980s, such as the miners’ strike led by Arthur Scargill, which divided the nation and presented Labour with a hugely-damaging challenge to its credibility as a potential government.
The Labour leadership offered tepid support for the miners and others who went on strike during the 1980’s. Kinnock was more concerned with pleasing the Tory press than with supporting those people who had voted for Labour. It seems as though the current leader is thinking along the same lines. This comes as no surprise to us here at Nowhere Towers because of Kinnock’s endorsement of Mister Ed during the leadership contest.
So I am not against the Labour Party per se, just the leadership that has consistently failed to er, lead.