Posted Under: Labour,Liberal Democrats,News,Parliament,Public Sector,Tories,Trade Unions
With the Labour Party conference in full swing, socialists and trade unionists will be seizing on every word spoken from the podium, looking for signs of what kind of government Miliband might lead. But one Old Labour MP who was in government with Wilson and Callaghan, and again with Blair as Minister of State for the Environment, is optimistic that we may be about to see the first real Labour government since 1979.
Since 1979, Meacher, tells me, we have been ruled exclusively by Conservative policies – 18 years under Thatcher and “little Major”, and 13 years under Blair and Brown. And now again we have an aggressive Tory government.
“I think there’s just a glimmer of hope that we might have a genuine Labour government after 2015,” Meacher says. “Miliband is moving the party in the right direction.”
The problem for Miliband, Meacher says, is that he’s surrounded by Blairites because “Blair cloned the party in his own image”.
“And that’s one of Blair’s abiding achievements,” says Meacher. “Because it’s very difficult to move a party where the majority in it are in another camp. But I feel instinctively that’s what Miliband wants to do. It’s the best hope for Britain.”
So Miliband is moving the party to the left. And with talk of predistribution, repealing the NHS Bill, and a building programme to lift the country out of failed austerity, there are hopeful signs.
But with Unite leader Len McCluskey attacking Miliband for supporting the public sector pay freeze, and with Miliband declaring “there is no future for this party as one sectional interest of society”, it’s clear Blair’s project of entrenching Thatcherite values in the once workers’ party will not be unravelled overnight and the unions who allowed Ed to beat his brother will have to make their case louder and clearer than ever before if they are to save Labour from itself.