Battle for Labour leadership

LABOUR leader Ed Miliband is taking a battering from both left and right. The right-wing of the party, led by Mandelson, is behind press leaks indicating a total lack of confidence in Ed Miliband. Mandelson has also criticised Miliband for “making too many crowd-pleasing promises” — like promising to abolish the hated bedroom tax and to curb the profiteering of energy companies. In other words working class-friendly policies.

It is hard to understand why Mandelson thinks that “crowd pleasing” is likely to lose Labour the coming election unless he is admitting that the outcome of elections in this country is determined not by the electorate but by the capitalist-dominated media.

Certainly Miliband has upset the Mandelson-Blair right-wing New Labour clique — mostly by getting elected as Labour leader when they wanted his brother David — and then by making some efforts to distance himself from New Labour.

But these efforts have always been weak and half-hearted and Miliband has ended up loved by very few. He has never really gone on the attack over what the Con-Dem Coalition has done to the working class of Britain through its savage austerity cuts. He has never spoken out on behalf of the disabled and long-term sick, who are being put through torture by the Work Capability Assessment and cuts to their benefits. And his acquiescence on the issue indicates he is afraid of the media attacking him for being soft on “scroungers”.

In the same way he has never defended immigrants to Britain despite their enormous contribution to our economy — it is yet another issue where is he trying to compete with the Tories and Ukip in appearing tough. Likewise regarding the young unemployed.

These victims of ruling class aggression and inhumanity all have votes but Miliband is confident they will have nobody better to vote for. Like most Westminster politicians he lives in a totally different world from the working class who are falling through the holes in the disappearing welfare safety net — even those who have jobs because wages are so low and rents and other essential living costs are now so high.

He is so out of touch he posed holding a picture of the [Sun’s] special World Cup Football edition. And his apology since to the people of Liverpool cannot undo the damage to working class confidence in him.

He is more politically educated and aware than Tony Blair and he is not terrified of speaking in public as Blair was. But he is still chasing approval from Richard Murdoch’s media empire. Even Gordon Brown had the sense to reject that — eventually.

A recent [Channel Four News] documentary on the neo-Nazi would-be paramilitary outfit known as Britain First interviewed their financier, Ulsterman Jim Dowson. He is a wealthy businessman who has previously put money behind the Ulster Volunteer Force and admitted to giving the British National Party around £4 million.

“Of course they’re out of it now, but while they were growing and getting support they effectively moved the whole British political spectrum several degrees to the right, and that’s what I wanted them to do, so they were worth the money,” he said.

Left-wing pressure groups do not have money-bag financiers to move the political spectrum back towards the left. But we do potentially have millions of people — the workers who are being crushed by the system. And we need to overthrow that system and put a better one in its place — and that will take a lot more than just an election.

As ever, the real battle is inside the labour and trade union movement. We need to mobilise and politicise the working class victims of capitalist oppression and fill that movement with fighters who have the courage to take on the ruling class.