We Will Not Be Their Fools

Labour should continue to learn from its mistakes and not be dictated to by those who made them.

With the general election nearing it is unsurprising that the Tory press are ramping up their attacks on the Labour Party, and in particular Ed Miliband.

As time passes the attacks become more intense, nastier and more vindictive. While we should not be suprised when tax-dodging billionaires, many of whom are Tory donors or Tory peers, are wheeled out to warn against a Labour government , it is absolutely shameful that former ministers and high-profile figures of the new Labour years are actively trying to derail any chance of a Labour government in May. 

Miliband has pulled together the Parliamentary Labour Party in a way unseen in parties just ejected from government. Labour did a lot of good work between 1997 and 2010, but there is no doubt mistakes were made and there is a realisation of this within the party.

The last five years have been a period of reflection and rebuilding for the Labour Party. It was simply no good to bury our heads in the sand, ignore everyone around us and pretend our 13 years in government were perfect.

It seems that some from the past cannot bear to be criticised. A seemingly endless line of new Labour architects and aficionados are being wheeled out into the public eye to castigate Miliband, the Labour Party and the move away from the Blairite doctrine.

Ordinary people in communities up and down the country simply cannot take another five years of this monstrous, unholy Tory-Liberal alliance. They need a Labour Party with radical policies that will help them and their families.

Yet instead of pitching in and winning this battle, the leading lights from the past would rather stir up malcontent within the ranks and help the Tories.

It is abundantly clear that those who are able to avoid paying their fair share would gain from preventing a Labour government. The party has pledged to strongly tackle tax evaders — but what of former Labour ministers and lords?

The suggestion that all parties are the same is a lazy supposition planted by the right in politics, who have the most to gain from the accusation.

Yet unfortunately, some of those being lined up at present to attack the party undoubtedly “walk the same walk” as the tax-dodging billionaires. Some are precluded prima donnas desperate for another second in the spotlight. Some are both.

Shameless former health secretary Alan Milburn, who has called on Labour to drop the “comfort blanket” of “clan politics” and criticised party plans to save the NHS, has made a fortune working with private health firms. Another critic, Lord Hutton, is far from an independent commentator as a director of private healthcare firm Circle Holdings.

Prince of darkness Lord Mandelson is never far from the action, emerging from the shadows to attack any deviation from the dogmatic Blairism that he helped to forge.

The self-delusional Charles Clarke, who lost his Norwich South seat at the last election and blames anyone but himself, seems to have adapted poorly to life outside of the Commons and will take any media coverage afforded to him. Perhaps his book is not selling as well as he’d hoped?

Hypocrisy, shameless self-promotion and delusion seem to be the name of the game for these bastions of the bygone Blair era.

Labour is not spoiling for a fight with business — quite the opposite. Surely businesses and bosses paying their fair share is an integral part of the social contract? I’m sure the general public would expect party leaders of all colours to ensure that businesses in Britain pay their way and not support industrial-scale tax evasion.

Despite the media onslaught, Miliband is well placed in this argument. He is on the side of the people against bad business practices. There is not a single attacker who is not tied up in the vested interests that pursue their own enrichment rather than adhering to the social contract. Conservative Peer and former M&S boss Lord Rose, for instance, is certainly not an innocent onlooker.

Miliband is proving a tougher adversary than many had hoped. He has shown leadership and boldness on issues that actually matter to voters. He has reached out to the party and electorate and listened to what has been said.

It is a measure of his success that the fractures that have riven other oppositions in their first term out of office have not appeared and, in the main, the party figures who brief against us are those from history.

Labour should continue to learn from its mistakes and not be dictated to by those who made them. In addition to all else, we should be extremely careful about our elevation of lords who have never been Labour people.

The likes of business boss Digby Jones are the most tribal of all. In times of fear they will return to represent their own, so Labour must not pander to them.