Ed Miliband won praise for his “One Nation Labour” speech at his party conference in the UK this week but...
"One Nation", something blue, borrowed from a speech given by Tory leader Isaac Disraeli in 1872, is an attempt to abandon Old and New Labour ideologies for a New New Labour principle.
His idea, as he has made clear since the beginning of the year, is to scramble for the centre ground. It’s a battle to win the "squeezed middle"; those people, I presume who are on the right of the party.
I believe this is likely to alienate ethnic minorities, who are among Labour's most loyal working class supporters.
One reason that pops to mind is the thought that this New New Labour might be a rejuvenation of the obsolete and discredited faction called Blue Labour. One nation, the slogan of libertarian Conservatives, was used 46 times by Miliband.
He says he is offering 50 per cent of young people who do not go to university the chance to study rigorous vocational qualification called technical baccalaureates. Most black voters place a high value on education. So, this policy would be favoured by us.
But we are wary of what Labour revisionist Maurice Glassman, the godfather of Blue Labour, is saying. That university should not be for all…This is the same Glassman who advocates a freeze on immigration in place of a policy that only lets into Britain a very few highly skilled migrants.
Any ideology that pushes this sort of blue politics moves Labour further to the right and will therefore alienate black Britain which has traditionally been on the left.
“One Nation is incredibly important to us as a country and us as a party,” Ed told party members at conference which took place in Manchester this month.
The Labour leader, who impressively delivered a 65 minute speech with no notes, said: “Old Labour is not going to answer the challenges we face because it can't stand up for the whole country. But nor is New Labour, because it was too silent about the responsibilities of those at the top and too timid when it comes to the vested interests of our country."
He warned: "There will be many cuts [in public expenditure] that this government made that we won't be able to reverse even though we would like to."
Miliband got a standing ovation and even his critics called it one of his best speeches since he was elected leader of the party in 2010. But I, a young Labour activist, was not fazed by it all. The party should not be too concerned about winning the squeezed middle; instead Miliband should look to strengthen our core supporters, the working class.
By chasing after the "squeezed middle-class", Miliband is abandoning his core voters. Most black voters fall under the working class category.
If he thinks "One Nation Labour" is the answer then he should be making a scramble for the working class vote and not the "squeezed middle", whose natural home is either the Liberal Democrats or Tories.