UK Labour chooses leftward of two Milibands

39 posts / 0 new
Last post
DaveW
UK Labour chooses leftward of two Milibands

 

a left turn away from Blair era

-- Ed Miliband wins, with strong union backing:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/sep/25/labourleadership-edmiliband

 

DaveW

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/sep/25/ed-miliband-labour-leader-conference

 

The razor-thin margin leaves the new leader with an immediate problem: he has to unite a party that split almost arithmetically down the middle. That's always the case with any close-run contest, but there is, of course, an extra intensity on this occasion: this was a family affair. Ed somehow has to reach out to and forge a working arrangement with an older brother whose life's ambition he has just thwarted. Ed has to find a way to heal that fraternal rift around the family table if he is to unite the wider party.

He has an equally urgent problem: he has to dispel talk, already begun, about his legitimacy. He is the first Labour leader (or deputy leader for that matter) to have won under the post-1980 electoral college system without gaining a majority of party members. David Cameron and the hostile press will taunt Ed Miliband on this ground, claiming that he is a creature of the trade unions whose backing swung it for him on the very final round. At his first PMQs - and afterwards - Cameron will note that Ed Miliband won fewer MPs and regular party members than his brother.

Stockholm

A lot of the pundits think that David Miliband lost narrowly because of the news that he has backed by Blair and Lord Mandelson.

DaveW

Ladbrokes immediately boosted the odds of Conservatives getting a majority next time ...

Fidel

The Guardian wrote:
David Cameron and the hostile press will taunt Ed Miliband on this ground, claiming that he is a creature of the trade unions whose backing swung it for him on the very final round. At his first PMQs - and afterwards - Cameron will note that Ed Miliband won fewer MPs and regular party members than his brother.

Hopefully Labour will decide to back real electoral reform along with the Liberals. That way Miliband could remind Cameron occasionally that his Tory Government only has 23.4 percent of eligible voter support under them.

Lord Palmerston

[url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/9024954.stm]What influence did Ralph Miliband have on his sons?[/url]

Quote:
Robin Blackburn believes their father would have been pleased by what his sons have achieved - and yet horrified at the same time.

"On the one hand I think he would have been very proud and amazed - on the other hand I think he would have been appalled by the politics of Labour, and it should be said even the politics of this Labour leadership contest at the moment, which seems to be completely bereft of ideas or direction," he says.

In a lifetime teaching at the LSE, at Leeds University and in America, Ralph Miliband built up a loyal following of former students who were inspired by his teaching.

Yet Mr Blackburn says, with some irony, that neither son can be classed as a Milibandite.

And one can't help suspecting that in Highgate Cemetery this weekend, around 5pm when the leadership result is declared, a small bit of soil will be quietly disturbed.

DaveW

the tabloids call him Ed the Red

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3153370/Ed-Miliband-is-Labour-leader.html

 

broadsheets not panicking, just edgy:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/neilobrien1/100055466/ed-needs-to-get-real-about-the-deficit-and-dump-his-unafordable-promises-otherwise-his-leadership-is-doomed/

 

So much for the good news, here's the bad news.

Firstly he has positioned himself as the more Left-wing choice. And the manner of his election, based on the votes of the trade union section, will reinforce the "Red Ed" narrative. David was winning for the first three rounds. Can you imagine if David Cameron had been elected leader without the majority support of Tory MPs and members? Yikes.

Ed will have to fight, fight and fight again, if he is to push himself back into the centre ground where elections are won. He needs to do something big to shift the way he is seen immediately, before it's too late.

Even more importantly, Ed now faces a series of crucial decisions about the debt and public spending, which he must not dither about. These early choices will determine how well Labour is faring in three years time.

 

Wilf Day

I think it's healthy for the younger generation, ignorant of the gravity of the Holocaust, to have, as a potential British Prime Minister, a man whose 75-year-old mother is a Holocaust survivor.

She somehow escaped the Holocaust at age 9 along with her own mother, after her grandparents were killed by the Nazis in 1943. Her father was not so lucky.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/family/7730052/The-miraculous-escape-of-Marion-Miliband.html

Stockholm

It wasn't mentioned much in the campaign, but this is also a step forward for diversity. Ed Miliband is the Labour Party's first Jewish leader and also its first openly atheist leader (joining Australia's Julia Gillard as an open atheist political figure). After Tony Blair and his sanctimonious high church Anglican moralism, followed by his conversion to Catholocism and then Gordon Brown the priggish "son of the manse" preachers son - what a breath of fresh air to hav e a leader who isn't dripping with religious hooey!!!

Wilf Day

She was just 8 years old when her father was killed by the Nazis, but somehow she survived and eventually found sanctuary in Britain. Now her son leads the Labour Party.

George Victor

Let us hope that labour support in Britain is more than labour leadership's support and actually represents ballots in the boxes.  That would be an amazing departure from recent history...in fact going back to the immediate post war.

a lonely worker

A couple of comments about the corporate media coverage:

 

- It takes a lot of nerve for the Guardian to turn Ed's vitory into a sign that this means he has to embrace the Blairists back in the fold. His voctory was a rejection of Blairism and it is THEY who have to accept the results and abandon their "New Labour" thirdwayisms.

 

- It takes even more nerve for the Murdoch owning Scum News chain to compare the democracy of labour's system to that of their beloved cons where money, corporate connections and peerages rule the day. Just once it would nice to read the influence the management unions (such as Employers Associations) have on the voting numbers through their member delegates.

 

All in all whenever the corporate media worries about the election of a "red", it gives me hope that maybe Ed will move the party back to its working class roots.

 

Finally I'm getting tired of this social democrat myth that they are elected to represent "everyone's interests". Today Carole James was turning herself into a pretzel with the CFIB trying to get their support.

 

The fact is the owning class' priorities are different from the working class'. Their candidates have absolutely no problem representing their interests. Social Democrats on the other hand get elected through their base and then spend their years in power under a delusion that if they act reasonably with business they will support them. These delusions fly out the window the moment a Rob ford shows up allowing them to pull out their knives again to take back power from a disillusioned working class.

 

The corporate media will never back real socialist change. That's a fact but its also a fact people will support a government that also stands up for real socialist principles alot stronger than they will for a neo-lib social democrat who's only election rally is they won't brutalise the working class as savagely as a right wing government.

 

Until the left starts offering REAL change from destructive capitalism, the right will continue to be the place to park angry votes for people who have given up on the system. For this reason its no accident that fascism is raising its ugly head in the countries where the left have lost the plot.

 

Hopefully Ed's election will turn the tide in the UK but I'm not hopeful that Ed can withstand the corporatist pressure tactics to play nice and tow the neo-lib line.

WingNut

OH GOOD! How soon before we go to war again?

Doug

I suppose there is some risk of going too far left leaving the middle class fearing for its wallets but it's really overstated. New Labour got so far from sanity on various issues that there's plenty of room to get to a position that's more progressive and still electable.

JKR

I'm happy Ed won but I wish he had won the majority of party members.

It will be interesting to see if Ed now supports the AV referendum as he needed AV to win the leadership contest on the forth ballot.

David was way ahead on the first ballot. Under FPTP David would have won.

 

Labour Leadership Election: Data

Wilf Day

JKR wrote:
he needed AV to win the leadership contest on the fourth ballot.

David was way ahead on the first ballot. Under FPTP David would have won.

AV makes sense to choose one person for party leader or president. No one uses FPTP to choose a party leader. It's either AV or multi-round balloting.

The UK referendum is on using AV to elect a parliament. It will do nothing to make the overall result proportional so that every vote counts. Different question altogether.

JKR

Wilf Day wrote:

AV makes sense to choose one person for party leader or president. No one uses FPTP to choose a party leader. It's either AV or multi-round balloting.

The UK referendum is on using AV to elect a parliament. It will do nothing to make the overall result proportional so that every vote counts. Different question altogether.

But proportional representation is not on the ballot. It's AV vs FPTP.  AV may not be perfect but it is far superior to FPTP, a system that is suited only to elections limited to two candidates and one winner.

What are the arguments for FPTP over AV?

If FPTP is superior to AV, why don't any political parties use it to elect their own representatives? They all use preferential systems.

Stockholm

I agree - if the choice is between AV and the FPTP status quo - AV wins hands down. Imagine how wonderful elections would be in canada is we NEVER hade to concern oursleves with "strategic voting" and "vote splitting" and we could cheerfully fill in a ballot NDP - 1, Green - 2, Liberal - 3, various independents and fringe candidates 4, 5 and 6 and put the Totries always dead last!! We would all be free to express oursleves however we want with how we would fill in our ballots safe in the knowledge that the only thing that matters is ALWAYS RANK THE TORY DEAD LAST!

In any case, even if your long term aim is to have proportional representation - I think that if people vote NO to a reform of the system as mild and weak as AV - it will be seen as NO to ever changing the system again. We have to get people to say YES to something and hopefully that will open the door to furthjer reforms down the road.

Wilf Day

Stockholm wrote:
ALWAYS RANK THE TORY DEAD LAST!

Yes, in the last federal election many Quebec voters would have done just that. And the Liberals second last.

Result: the Bloc takes Papineau from Justin Trudeau, Brossard-La Prairie from Alexandra Mendès, maybe even LaSalle-Emard from the Liberal, and possibly even Honoré-Mercier. And eight of the ten Tory seats.

AV is good for "Anyone but . . . (whoever)" voters. But the result can be unintended.

Wilf Day

JKR wrote:
What are the arguments for FPTP over AV?

In Canada, AV would generally produce even less proportional results than FPTP.

Centrist

Stockholm wrote:
I agree - if the choice is between AV and the FPTP status quo - AV wins hands down.

Are you sure about that?

Quote:
In Manitoba and Alberta, where AV was used for 15 elections over three decades, second choices changed the outcome only 2 per cent of the time.

[Source: Harold Jansen, The Political Consequences of the Alternative Vote: Lessons from Western Canada, Canadian Journal of Political Science, September 2004, p. 666.]

And the one time that BC used AV, during the 1952 provincial election, AV made the final result less progressive:

BC 1952 election FPTP:

CCF - 21

Labour - 1 (Tom Uphill)

SC - 14

Lib - 9

PC - 3

BC 1952 election After AV:

CCF - 18 (-3)

Labour - 1 (same)

SC - 19 (+5)

Lib - 6 (-3)

PC - 4 (+1)

 

 

Stockholm

I'm not interested in what system is more or less "progressive" as in what system favours the left. I'm concerned with what is more fair to the voter. If a majority of people in BC in 1952 felt strongly that they wanted "anyone but CCF" and they filled out their ballots accordingly - then people got the government they wanted. In this day and age, i think that the 'anyone but Tory" segment would be much larger than the anyone but anything else segment. 

JKR

Wilf Day wrote:

JKR wrote:
What are the arguments for FPTP over AV?

In Canada, AV would generally produce even less proportional results than FPTP.

Sometimes FPTP produces more proportional results but at other times AV produces more proportional results. One system is not consistently more proportional then the other. With our current political configuration where the Conservatives have a modest lead over the Liberals and there are 4 centre-left parties, FPTP is less proportional then AV. Of course that would change if the Liberals equalled or went ahead of the Conservatives in popular support. Them FPTP would tend to be more proportional.

So AV and FPTP are equally disproportional. In the UK most of the people against AV are criticizing it on the grounds that it is too proportional and will lead to more hung parliaments then FPTP would.

Looking back at the last 8 federal elections in Canada, FPTP would have been more proportional then AV in the elections in 1993, 1997, 2000, and 2004, but AV would likely have been more proportional then FPTP in 1984, 1988, 2006, and 2008. So each system at times would be more proportional then the other.

Both systems are equally disproportional because they are meant to be that way. The purpose of these systems is to provide single-party majority governments.

But there are many important differnces between AV and FPTP that make AV the superior system. One key difference is that FPTP doesn't just reduce the representation small parties have in parliaments, FPTP puts pressure on small parties to withdraw from the political process altogether. This can be seen by what would have happened if the Labour leadership election had been run using FPTP. In this case, candidates like Ed Balls, Andy Burnham, Diane Abbott would likely have withdrawn before the final vote in order to prevent vote-splitting. AV allowed all the candidates to stay on the ballot. A far more democratic result.

Within the last decade in Canada, FPTP destroyed the Reform Party and the PC Party, by forcing them to merge. They would still be with us if we had AV.  How's that for democracy?

With the Conservatives winning elections with a little more then 1/3rd of the vote via vote-splitting, there is mounting pressure on the NDP, Liberals, and Greens to not compete with each other in certain ridings or even to merge. Once again FPTP's tendency to reduce political choice rears its ugly head, AV does not reduce political choice in this way eventhough it reduces political representation like FPTP does.

So AV is not nearly as good as proportional representation, but is is much better then FPTP.

In a ballot between AV and FPTP, would anyone actually vote for FPTP? And if so, why?

Wilf Day

JKR wrote:
In a ballot between AV and FPTP, would anyone actually vote for FPTP? And if so, why?

At the Ontario provincial level, in 2003 AV would have shrunk both the NDP caucus and the PC caucus to below the level for official party status. If you like one-party legislatures, you'll love AV. That's why the McGuinty government, some of whom wanted AV, held back from skewing the Citizens' Assembly process towards a partisan outcome, and ran an honest CA process, in which only 3 of 103 CA members preferred AV. (They then let the CAS process die in the referendum, but that's a different story.)

At  the federal level, in 2008 AV would have resulted in more Liberal MPs from Ontario and Quebec, even more Bloc MPs from Quebec, fewer Conservative and NDP MPs from Ontario and Quebec, and hardly any change in the West.

Yes, I'd prefer FPTP, if I had to make such a worthless choice. 

Stockholm

We have no way of know what would have happened under AV since it would change the whole way in which elections are fought. In Australia, parties tend to try to be "nicer" to each other because they need each others second preferences and at the local level you get anomalies like Liberal voters preferencing the Green ahead of Labour in Melbourne - even though the Australians Greens are far to the left of Labour.

I thik that any electoral system that gives the voter MORE choice and ability to cast a more nuanced ballot - can only be a good thing. If instead of just making one "x" on a ballot, I get to rank all the candidates from highest to lowest - then i as a voter suddenly have a much richer and more varied way to express myself.

In my experience in Ontario in 2007, there was only one argument in favour of MMP that had the slightest impact on people and that was the idea that it would give the voter MORE CHOICE. They could vote for their favourite local candidate AND vote for their favourite party. Two votes instead of one!! Its such a powerful argument - pity that proponents of PR tend almost never to use it. Instead they get bogged down in this quicksand of what is fair or unfair to PARTIES. No one cares about what's fair to parties. people care about what represents value to them as voters.

In any referendum on electoral reform, my vote always goes for whatever option gives me as a voter MORE CHOICE. and AV gives me more choice than classic FPTP. End of story.

Caissa

This would be NB's most interesting FPTP result last night. First column total votes second column percentage. First and last place candidates are currently Saint John Councillors.

PC
Carl Killen
1,334
30.66
Elected

LIB
Ed Doherty
1,325
30.45
 

NDP
Wayne Dryer
1,202
27.63
 

IND
John Campbell
253
5.81
 

GRN
Patty Higgins
237
5.45

edmundoconnor

Hmmm. If I ever move back, I might just have to consider Labour (even though I have trouble with its trenchant stance on unionism).

JKR

Wilf Day wrote:

At the Ontario provincial level, in 2003 AV would have shrunk both the NDP caucus and the PC caucus to below the level for official party status. If you like one-party legislatures, you'll love AV.

The 2003 election saw droves of NDP leaning voters vote Liberal just to end the nightmare of Harris's "common sense revolution." Using FPTP, the NDP ended up with just 9 seats!  If the 1993 election was held using AV, more people would have felt free to vote NDP without the fear of allowing the "common-sense revolution" to continue via vote-splitting.  And the Conservatives would have maintained official party status under AV in 1993. They were well ahead in enough seats that a switch to AV would not have cost them official party-status.

This fear of one-party AV legislatures is overdone. Australia has AV and they have not had more of a problem with one-party legislatures then we in Canada have had under FPTP. And in Australia people can vote with their consciences for what ever party they want without fear of vote-splitting. We can't say the same in Canada. Because so many people in Canada don't vote sincerely it is impossible to accurately predict what an AV election would look like using a FPTP election as a basis for predicting.

Here in Canada, FPTP already produces it's fair share of one party legislatures. There are many jurisdictions where the Conservatives win riding after riding where the NDP, Liberals, and Greens, split the vote and sometimes fail to win any seats and lose official party status. How many Liberal or Conservative shutouts or near shutouts have occurred in the Atlantic provinces? Many people in Alberta have spent their entire lives knowing nothing else then one Party government.

If Reform and the PC"s hadn't"t merged the federal Liberals would still have a lock on one-party government. But the right decided to play along with the FPTP rules and now the shoe is on the other foot whereby the NDP, Liberals, and Greens are the ones now being pushed toward a shotgun FPTP marriage. So if you like parties dissolving themselves or merging with other parties to prevent vote-splitting, then you love FPTP. The graveyard of FPTP in Canada is littered with political parties that have been unnecessarily eradicated to end vote-splitting. 

It seems to me that some PR supporters support FPTP over AV because they are concerned that if AV were ever established the prospects for PR would be reduced, much in the same way supporters of MMP supported FPTP against STV in BC because they felt STV"s establishment would preclude MMP. So too many MMP supporters like Carole James ended up supporting FPTP, even though it is worse then STV. The argument by MMP supporters that STV isn't real PR hindered BC-STV's chances in the referendum.

If the UK adopts AV, moving to the proportional AV+ will be more likely.  But if the people in the UK vote for FPTP, electoral reform will likely be set back as FPTP will be seen as the best system that doesn't even require the modest changes that AV would have provided.

Jacob Richter

El Miliband is a neoliberal.

The British left proper needs to get its act together and affiliate with the continental left: a party like Die Linke affiliated with the Party of the European Left and opposed to the Labour party.

DaveW

OK, but assuming their aim is to gather support of more than 5 per cent of the British electorate?

George Victor

Perhaps 6 or 7 per cent?  In the cities.  On a frosty Friday.

Jacob Richter

DaveW wrote:
OK, but assuming their aim is to gather support of more than 5 per cent of the British electorate?

On a broader note, everyone should know that structural reform and paradigm shifts - two very specific forms of "change" - are a result of principled opposition and not governance.  Without the former, the latter cannot exist.

thorin_bane

Av in canada would end in liberals winning out. I know cons will vote for anything other than the NDP in ontario Though not in BC. I would imagine 140 seat permanancy for liberal or higher. Why else would that be why Dion said he would like it. It favours centrist parties in canada ,a lot.

JKR

New Labour leader, Ed Miliband, to campaign for the Alternative Vote  in the upcoming referendum set for May 5th, 2011.

Vote reformers welcome Miliband's commitment to push for AV

Quote:

Britain's political reformers have backed Ed Miliband's commitment to campaign for a change in Westminster's archaic electoral system.

Commenting on the new Labour leader's first address in that capacity to his party's conference, the director of Unlock Democracy, Peter Facey declared: "We warmly welcome Ed Miliband's speech, particularly his support for the Alternative Vote (AV) system in the upcoming referendum."

He continued: "We have heard warm words from new leaders before. However, we now have real optimism that words will finally lead to action.:

"All three party leaders agree on an elected House of Lords. All three agree in localism and devolving powers to local councils," said Facey. "Now two out of the three leaders agree that the Alternative Vote is a better voting system than First Past the Post."

The Unlock Democracy director continued: "Over the past few years trust in our politics has been badly damaged and strong leadership is needed if it is to be restored. This speech is a good start and we trust the Labour Party will join him in his wholehearted support for reform and vote Yes in the upcoming referendum."

Reformers would prefer a proportional voting system such as STV (Single Transferable Vote), but believe that AV can be used effectively as a staging post for change.

Campaigner and singer Billy Bragg also welcomed Miliband's commitment, and made a video to encourage grassroots activists to get behind the AV vote.

Labour's new leader identified political reform and civil liberties as two policy areas where the party needed to modernise in order not to lose a march on their opponents.

Many senior Labour figures have been holding out against electoral reform, but Miliband wants to draw them in a different, more positive direction.

Greens and Liberal Democrats are also set to campaign for a change in the voting system for Westminster, but the Conservatives will oppose it.

The nationalist parties in Scotland and Wale will favour reform too, but are reluctant to get drawn into defining arguments about the UK system, preferring to concentrate on issues in their own country and their respective cases for independent governance.

DaveW

Jacob Richter wrote:

DaveW wrote:
OK, but assuming their aim is to gather support of more than 5 per cent of the British electorate? ...

On a broader note, everyone should know that structural reform and paradigm shifts - two very specific forms of "change" - are a result of principled opposition and not governance.  Without the former, the latter cannot exist.

well, but without the votes, no MPs exist to govern that way ....

Cueball Cueball's picture

You mean political gridlock is achieved by the public surrendering personal responsibility on to political representatives, who in turn surrender their own personal responsibility to the moribund "public opinion" of the surrendered public.

DaveW

uh no,

I mean elections are held and far left groupings generally get 3-5 per cent of the votes, hence have no seats where decisions are made...

Jacob Richter

Knock, knock: Die Linke, Japanese Communist Party, Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela.

Cueball Cueball's picture

DaveW wrote:

uh no,

I mean elections are held and far left groupings generally get 3-5 per cent of the votes, hence have no seats where decisions are made...

The argument is circular, as I tried to point out. But I am not surprised, since a large number of people have been fully indoctrinated into accepting the logic of the circular argument.