Today was my first day in Wapping. Moving there from Green Lanes was something of a culture shock. Gone were the less-than-salubrious kebab shops, the ubiquitous fried chicken places selling sumptuous heart attacks and the 95p store. In their place, riverside bars, Fitness First and a Waitrose. Walking into the supermarket earlier today, I realised the moment I saw the price tags how much I was going to miss Iceland’s delicious £1.50 pizzas. Little did I know how much more of a shock I was about to receive when I approached the newspaper stand to see David Miliband’s apeish mug on the cover of the Independent on Sunday, apparently poised to replace his brother as Labour leader.
My first thought as my eyes rolled into my skull was that we’ve seen it all before and that the last thing Labour needs, if it is to capitalise on the country’s growing anger over cuts and fees and pull in thousands of righteously betrayed Lib Dem voters, is a return to the vapid infighting of the Blair-Brown years, tearing itself apart over nothing that mattered in any way at all.
I soon realised I was wrong, however. The last thing the Labour Party needs is David Miliband. David Miliband is a vacuous turd shat out by the arse of New Labour as its muscles slackened in death. He offers nothing but a pretty speech, a few well scripted words and a smattering of charisma his brother lacks. Fundamentally, he offers nothing new. Labour needs to reconnect with its ideological roots. It needs to offer a true alternative to the Coalition as it slashes corporate taxes and public services. It needs to forge a distinct identity that could make mainstream party politics interesting to a switched-off electorate rather than chase the centre ground as the Tories drag it rightwards, or the ghost of a dead political movement based on sacrificing ideas for image.
Is Ed the right man for the job? Possibly not. But David is not the answer to Labour’s woes. If he is manouvered ino leadership, then Labour will have learnt nothing from the Blair years. Labour must never again sacrifice ideology for a media-friendly face and action for a little casual charm.