Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Ed Miliband attacks workers - attack Ed Miliband!
"When the facts change, sir, I change my mind. What do you do?"
Thus Keynes. And he had a point.
Less than a week ago, I argued that, in spite of his backsliding on party democracy, the left should still support Miliband's leadership. Since then the facts have changed, and I have changed my mind. Specifically, Miliband explicitly advocated scabbing on today's strikes, and added insult to injury today by writing a response to his intra-Party critics. Apart from demonstrating his inability to write in paragraphs, this piece bought straight into the Tory line that negotiations are ongoing. Talks are still taking place, that is true; but with an agenda entirely set by the Government, they do not deserve to be dignified with the term "negotiations", any more than striking workers deserve to be betrayed by a Labour leader.
So I've changed my mind. The time is right for the left to oppose Miliband's leadership. There is an honourable and well-founded tradition in our movement of regarding scabbing as a particularly damaging fault, a point-of-no-return. We cannot credibly argue for the use of the Labour Party as a channel for workers' demands whilst supporting a man who - as was made clear today repeatedly - is widely, and rightly, viewed as a strikebreaker. Merely attacking the leadership isn't nearly enough, of course: as I pointed out in my post, the malaise at the top is symptomatic of a right-wing backlash that requires a response. None the less, withdrawal of support for the Miliband leadership now has to be part of that response.
So, let's get to it. And right now, let's make it clear that Ed is out of step with the movement, by signing up to Owen's statement here.