By Elliot Adams
Running through the coverage of the intensely dreary Labour leadership contest between David and Ed Miliband has been a particularly nasty suggestion that somehow the trade union support for Ed Miliband is undesirable and undemocratic – his links to this support base leaving him portrayed as “Red Ed”, a pinko Stalinist to be feared and abhorred. I think this is partly motivated by simple snobbery, partly by an irritation that the public has chosen the ‘wrong’ Miliband, but I think it is mostly motivated by a palpable jealousy of the political power of organised labour – influence which they feel rightfully belongs to our media giants and fleet street’s political pundits. They seem incapable of understanding how and why people who don’t have the ‘right’ friends, the ‘right’ wealth and the ‘right’ Oxbridge PPE degree, can shape political change in Britain.
What’s more, the fleet street figures with all those ‘right’ elements wouldn’t be
the people who should be making this decision anyway. I would step short from fully buying into a Chomskyite propaganda model of the media, but the press really does structure news around an underlying elite consensus, based on the media’s vested interests in supporting the axioms of private and state power. Now that it is trying to shake off the remnants of new labour and the Blairites, the labour party should again be the mass party, the party of collective labour groups – without ordinary members and union affiliates, there would be no NHS, no welfare, no labour party.
Many newspaper proprietors have an anti-union bias and are uncomfortable with union influence in any sphere. So of those who didn’t just lump all voters in favour of Ed Miliband into the category of “trade union votes” criticised the unions for encouraging those individual voters to vote for ‘Red Ed’.
Essentially they’ve managed to both say that about a quarter of a million individual voters should not be allowed a political opinion on the Labour leadership because they joined a union, and that unions shouldn’t be allowed to tell their members that Ed is their preferred candidate – though the same newspapers can say that David is theirs.
Listen fleet street, it’s the ‘Labour’ party, that he has the support of organised labour is a good thing. And on the charisma scale David Miliband was less electable than even Gordon Brown was with his terrifying smile, David Miliband is dull but beneath his passive exterior beats the beige limp heart of a man so boring, scientists are, as we speak, using him to create an ennui-based renewable power source to solve the energy crisis -Whenever he opens his mouth the world visibly greys around him as the vacuum of interest his conversation creates sucks in light from the non-dreary spectrum. He wasn’t your Miliband, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is the wrong one, get over it.