(Rants, whinges, complaints, opinions, reflections, reviews and pointers on life for a disabled chap living in Europe.)
Saturday, 8 November 2014
To Keep Or Not To Keep…
Yesterday, JuliJuxtaposed published the following blog-post here. She quite succinctly sums up what many disabled folk have been and are thinking about Ed Miliband and the Labour party. Please read it and share widely, as we need our disablie voices heard loud and clear.
After the blog, appear my comments.
[Image description: Ed Miliband addressing Mancunians in 2012]
Not just Ed. Maybe not Ed, at all.
Taking into account the Media’s efforts to paint Ed as a disaster and halving it – and halving it again – the fallout around poor old Miliband is still not fuelling confidence in me that he can hold it together, even if he wins the next General Election. What kind of Cabinet will his ‘team’ make? Who will be served by it? And how much is Ed Miliband the real problem? Is his perceived weakness due more to his ‘awkwardness’ – by now a self-perpetuating force – or to his inability to discern and avail himself of useful, appropriate advice? Most of his team, whether front or back benchers or hired consultants are hardly helpful or even inspiring. He surrounds himself with the dismal advice and strategies of banality, nostalgic muddle-heads and should-be Conservatives. Did he actually choose this team? How much of it is chosen for him? Is the weakness not in his judgement, then?
The party bigwigs should make their minds up about how their individual, personal philosophies fit to the mission statement. The ‘crisis’ in the party is that, like the Conservatives, Labour doesn’t know itself anymore; like the Conservatives, Labour has become two parties in denial. Like the Conservatives, Labour doesn’t identify sufficiently with the real worlds of its electorate. So, by all means, get rid of Ed, if you think it’ll help but, for goodness’ sake: don’t stop there! Wake up and lose the stale and mouldy obstacles. Not just Ed. Maybe not Ed, at all. Are you sure you’re not worrying a little too much about the wrong Ed? Get rid of the Blair acolytes and apologists; get rid of the Brownonian bulldozers. Shift them all to the back benches or suggest they join another party if they’re so keen on being a politician but tell them that their ideas of what Labour means have turned out to be an historically nasty, neoliberal blip and that they are not at all the desired trajectory.
The social, political, economic circumstances in which this country (and indeed, the world) finds herself are too grave to waste time on loyalty for loyalty’s sake. Be loyal out of respect and faith or walk away. Keep Ed, or don’t. Put up or shut up. Shit, or get off the pot. Just make your minds up and sort it out already! Change your rules or overrule him if that’s what you want and that’s what it takes. But is it entirely Ed Miliband or is it mostly the scaffolding?
The Conservatives will kill us if they win in 2015. You know it. And you know why. Stop imitating them. Stop pandering to the right-wing press. Stop pretending you know what we want just because you wandered around in public the other day, surrounded by cameras, looking for a photo-op and a soundbite. Stop seeing us through your own projections and try actually listening beyond received clichés. Try speaking to us in more than soundbites and clichés. Be brave, get a grip and give this country or however many countries we are, these days, a credible box on the ballot. One that will be my pleasure to mark my cross in.
Whatever you do, it’s going to be a risk. Lose because of him. Win in spite of him. Win because you dared to change the guards and the message. Lose because you replaced him too late with the effect of greater farce. You have to choose which one you can live with so that I can choose.
I have met Miliband: I find him to be a very thoughtful, intelligent and caring person; I also believe he does listen to those to whom he actually speaks. Alas, as you have so well encapsulated, Labour is not their leader.
Nonetheless, whilst I respect Ed, a good leader would have gone out of his way to castigate the bigwigs who shifted the disabled folk at the last party conference and would have personally apologised to the individuals concerned.
A few months back, I was invited to his key-note NHS speech in Manchester (blog-post). Those of us in wheelchairs were in a no-man's land at the back where he could not possibly see us, let alone interact with us. Again, not his fault, but that of Labour organisers & bigwigs. We disablies are an after-thought if we are even considered at all (we were not at a previous event of his & MEN in 2012 - blog-post).