By Judith Orr
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Labour leader Ed Miliband shifts further to right

This article is over 11 years, 10 months old
Welfare benefits give people a "false sense of security", Labour leader Ed Miliband announced last week.
Issue 2285

Welfare benefits give people a “false sense of security”, Labour leader Ed Miliband announced last week.

He was trying once again to relaunch his strategy for the party.

Miliband argued that Labour should accept that, when it came to the next general election in 2015, there would be “less money around”.

This is a further step away from any attempt to confront the Tory agenda of austerity and maintaining capitalism.

Instead he talks about promoting “responsible capitalism” and making “difficult choices”.

Ed Miliband won the Labour Party leadership on the back of trade union votes. But any illusions that he would stand up for working class people are evaporating.

He has shown himself to be weak and unwilling to stand up to the Tories. One-time allies are lining up against him.

Even Maurice Glasman, founder of “Blue Labour” and seen as Miliband’s guru, said he had “no strategy and little energy”.

Labour’s weakness is rooted in its acceptance that the deficit has to be brought down by public spending cuts—the only debate is how fast and deep these cuts will be.

Internal party debates about the way forward for Labour are dominated by the idea that it has to prove itself fit to run the country. This means opposing strikes and enforcing austerity.

But it does not at all reflect the concerns and struggles of those at the frontline of the government’s attacks.

With the Tories inflicting such pain on millions of working class people, Labour should be riding high in the polls. But they are trailing behind the Tories.

The May local elections are looming.

There are serious doubts about whether Labour can make gains, or win back the powerful and symbolic London mayor position.

If Labour doesn’t deliver in May then Miliband’s leadership may well be challenged. But none of the alternatives to him inside Labour are offering anything different.

The only people who are offering a serious challenge to the Tories’ assault are the workers who are striking for their futures.

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