Miliband hits back

THE LESS said about the Daily Mail is usually the better but there are two points that have to be made over the current furore over the Tory rag’s smears against the Labour leader. The first is that Ed Miliband was quite right to have a pop at the Mail whose childish Red Scare attacks on Miliband’s father have clearly backfired on the Tories. The second is that Miliband must go beyond responding to Tory smears by laying the platform for the next Labour government.

That the late Professor Miliband was a left social-democratic anti-communist, now barely known outside academic circles, hardly troubles the Mail whose attacks also highlight Miliband’s Polish Jewish origins in terms that clearly border on anti-semitism.

But it is clear that Cameron is going to fight the next election by trying to get all the Tory faithful out with a cocktail of ludicrous Red Scares, union bashing, anti-immigrant hysteria and hype over a new housing bubble, which they believe will continue at least until after the votes are counted, in a desperate effort to head-off a challenge from the far-right Eurosceptic United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).

The Labour leader has always assumed that the collapse of support for the Liberal Democrats was enough to ensure a Labour victory in 2015. But it’s a big assumption and certainly not a foregone conclusion. Nor can he take trade union support or Labour’s traditional working class vote for granted.

In recent weeks Miliband has moved to woo Labour’s core support by successfully blocking the Tory drive for war against Syria as well as pledges to abolish the hated bedroom tax and freeze energy prices for 20 months. But a lot more needs to be done.

Labour must pledge to immediately return the railways and the Royal Mail to public ownership as the first step towards the social justice Miliband & Co claim to uphold. The housing bubble economy must be ended once and for all by allowing councils to build mass affordable housing and the austerity programme and all the cuts in education and the health service reversed.

Trade union and civil rights must be restored along with concrete steps to restore the old public sector, which together with progressive taxation, underwrote the social gains that the “welfare state” once provided.

Britain is one of the richest countries in the world. It is also a haven for the richest people in the world. They’ve got plenty. They must be made to pay for the crisis their system has created.