Labour leadership election: let the cleaners decide?

Submitted by Matthew on 9 September, 2010 - 12:33 Author: Jade Baker

Westminster University was the venue for the The Labour Finance and Industry Group (LFIG) Labour leadership hustings on 25 August. A full capacity of over 300 academic folk looked on as the Miliband brothers and Ed Balls regurgitated their finely orchestrated rhetoric.

Before the speeches an introduction by LFIG was given which couldn’t have been less “socialist” in sentiment: “One of the failures of the left is the emphasis which should be put on the need to produce. We see production just as important as distribution,” said the LFIGer.

This statement is so far off the mark that is just isn’t worth commenting on — but what about producing for need?

There’s no one that embodies LFIG sentiment more than leadership candidate David Miliband, and he certainly proved this when explaining an initiative he has for positioning a worker (his example was a cleaner) on major companies’ remuneration committees:

“They don't have voting capacity of course [of course!]. But, hearing the opinion of a worker is going to sway the opinions on how they spend their money.” The cleaners at Barclays are going to decide Bob Diamond’s wages? Yeah, right.

This was a reply to a question about Mandelson’s famous assertion about New Labour being “relaxed about people getting filthy rich.” It is how Miliband plans to level the wealth disparity within our society.

This is no answer to bridging the gap between rich and poor. His idea is nothing but a populist, pseudo-attempt to keep a working-class focus within the party while avoiding all effort to stopping the rich from getting ever richer. “I will try to reduce inequality,” he said. He will try.

Well, trying is not good enough. If this is what a future with David Miliband as leader looks like, workers should fight it!

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