Ed shows his hand and launches campaign for Labour crown

Ed Miliband joined his brother David in formally declaring his candidature for the Labour leadership today.

Ed Miliband joined his brother David in formally declaring his candidature for the Labour leadership today. Mr Miliband, speaking at the Fabian SocietyNext Left‘ conference in central London this morning, said he hoped it would be a “fraternal contest“, not just in terms of his family, but of “all the candidates”.

He described the past week as “a depressing week for everyone in the Labour Party and all who believe in a fairer Britain”, imploring the party to face “uncomfortable truths”, that Labour had lost, that it was the “second worst result” for the party in the past 80 years.

He said:

“I am absolutely convinced that if we ask the hard questions as new Labour did in 1994 and the Conservative party did not do after 2005, then we can make sure this is a one-term government and find our place where we want to be: in power, standing up for the people we came into politics to represent.

“But we have to learn the right lessons. We must start by understanding the country we seek to lead again and the reasons why we lost. I will always defend the record of our government because we made this country more prosperous, fairer, greener, more democratic. I am proud to have been part of that government and we should all be proud of what we achieved.

“But there is deep thinking we need to do about what went wrong. But for me there is one central lesson about why we lost. When Labour succeeds it is through a politics always rooted in our a values and always rooted in the lives of the people of Britain. And the truth is that as government wore on we lost that sense of progressive mission and of being in touch with people’s concerns.”

Addressing the issue of immigration, he recalled meeting a constituent who said he was voting BNP because “his friends’ wages were being undercut by immigration from Eastern Europe”:

“Britain’s diversity is an enormous strength: economically, culturally, socially and we should never cease saying it and we should say it more often.

But the truth is that immigration is a class issue. If you want to employ a builder it’s good to have people you can take on at lower cost, but if you are a builder it feels like a threat to your livelihood. And we never had an answer for the people who were worried about it.

“When competition is driving down your wages and your pension rights, saying globalisation is good for you and for the economy as a whole is an example of what I mean about becoming a technocrat. Because it is a good answer for economists but it is no answer for the people of Britain.

“So, for that voter in my constituency, and many others, we need to rediscover our sense of progressive mission.”

On fairness, he said Labour needed to “rethink what it means to make Britain a fairer country”; on the role of the State, he spoke of the need to understand the “wider issues people feel about the state, and their daily frustrations with it”; and on the future, he said the party had “lost sight of our values and of what people expected from us”.

He concluded with the four key lessons he felt Labour needed to learn going into the next few years:

• A new way of thinking about markets;

• A new way of thinking about the State;

• A need to show that Labour gets “what really matters in life, beyond economics”, that “climate change and the environment needs to be central, not an add-on, to our political vision”.

• A new way of doing politics, following the “catastrophic loss of trust over Iraq” and the expenses scandal.

The Miliband brothers are the only contenders to formally declare, though Ed Balls, Andy Burnham, Jon Cruddas and Alistair Darling are yet to say either way, with Jack Straw, Harriet Harman, Alan Johnson and Yvette Cooper all having ruled themselves out.

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23 Responses to “Ed shows his hand and launches campaign for Labour crown”

  1. Marcus A. Roberts

    RT @leftfootfwd: Ed shows his hand and launches campaign for Labour crown http://bit.ly/9XKyyJ

  2. David Taylor

    RT @leftfootfwd: Ed shows his hand and launches campaign for Labour crown: http://bit.ly/9XKyyJ

  3. Samuel Tarry

    RT @DavidTaylor85: RT @leftfootfwd: Ed shows his hand and launches campaign for Labour crown: http://bit.ly/9XKyyJ

  4. Andy

    Interesting – can Ed’s comment regarding Iraq, ““catastrophic loss of trust over Iraq” be construed as a bit of a dig at his brother? David was Foreign Secretary during the Iraq war…

    Although I’d favour David over Ed, I can really see Ed’s campaign gaining momentum. He’s not overtly as close to architects of New Labour as David is – if a change of direction becomes preferable Ed could benefit from that. He’s also not too left to make Labour distinctly unattractive and unelectable. Close call between these two.

    Apart from the possibility of Ed Balls are there any other candidates coming forward? We need a real contest – to not have, and to have it within one family might look a bit weak!

    Be nice to have a real contest outside of the Chuckle Brothers! http://wp.me/pQUG2-3P

  5. Ali Esbati

    RT @leftfootfwd: Ed shows his hand and launches campaign for Labour crown: http://bit.ly/9XKyyJ – @ed_miliband's speech to the #NextLeft conference

  6. gankon

    i’d prefer an open contest and some proper debate

    we’ll need a proper opposition.

    i think dave is too blairite. ed may be a nice choice but he comes across as intellectually lightweight. balls is needed for a proper competition. what about the women? what about someone completely out there like frank field?

    what about darling? he has some gravitas, is intelligent and dignified (considering what he had to cope with).

    anybody able to link or point me to the likely timescales this will happen over?

  7. nullo


    “But the truth is that immigration is a class issue. If you want to employ a builder it’s good to have people you can take on at lower cost, but if you are a builder it feels like a threat to your livelihood. And we never had an answer for the people who were worried about it.

    very good to talk about immigration as a class issue, but then he commits the very mistake he is supposedly trying to correct: saying that to the builder it FEELS like a threat. Now that’s exactly the elitist paternalism that voters are rejecting. It suggests that it is not really a threat, and that the poor builder is just a bit simple and does not understand that it is NOT a threat. So as long as we can explain in simple terms to the simple builder that it is not REALLY a threat even though it looks to him like a threat, then we are going to be all-right (Labour, that is).

    There is a misunderstanding of class here: it is not a class issue because the builder is a bit simple and is not able to distinguish appearance from reality. It is a class issue because the builder is vulnerable and therefore faces the harsh reality of the threat.

  8. Anon E Mouse

    A moderate, reasonable and polite individual. Exactly the opposite of Ed Balls.

    Good candidate for leadership – since the election my opinion of both these Milibands has changed.

    Who from the left will stand I wonder?

  9. gankon

    and i couldn’t stand more of the same. we need some radical policies. not re-nationalisation, but something. just don’t know what

    nice piece in the economist. we may get and Ed, may get a Miliband and we may get both.

  10. Tom Sheppard

    I'm Reading: Ed shows his hand and launches campaign for Labour crown: Ed Miliband joined his brother David in for… http://bit.ly/c3ogPq

  11. tracey

    Two swots and a boor, is this the inspiration Labour needs to take them out of the darkness?

  12. Billy Blofeld

    Ed is correct, however, Labour also has to learn another lesson. The Tory Party had to accept that people saw them as the “nasty party”.

    Well Labour has to wake up and realise it has been practising the “politics of hate”. This means that:

    1. The smearing and bullying of colleagues and opponents has to stop

    2. Policies should be implemented because they are right, not just because they make trouble for the Tories.

    3. Labour has to recognise civil liberties – and halt its urge to control us.

    Also – the bigger problem is that Labour’s reputation for financial management is totally shot to pieces.

  13. gankon

    labour has a long history of practising the politics of hate. smearing people as racist for talking about immigration was only the tip of it. apparently people who wanted a constitutional settlement for the UK that didn’t involve the EU were ‘little Englanders and Xenophobes’.

    people on the right think people on the left are well meaning but naive. people on the left think people on the right are evil. that is the level at which those on the left operate. when you think you are the ‘forces of good’ then anything you do can be justified in those terms. when McBride was doing his black ops, i’m sure he thinks that by some sequence of events he is helping the poor.

    supporting labour is very much a mental illness

  14. Harry Barnes

    Amongst the Milibands I prefer Ralph. His work is really worth reading. His final book published in 1994 was “Socialism for a Sceptical Age”. It was being published after his death and in the forward David and Ed (along with their mother) said “Nothing can make up for the loss we feel, but it is some comfort that the ideas developed by Ralph Miliband in this book will live on.” If only they could emerge as a beacon in the current Labour Leadership Campaign. The first chapter is entitled “The Case Against Capitalism” and the next chapter “Socialist Aspirations”.

  15. gankon

    ralph miliband was an illegal immigrant. he came to this country on false papers and preached his vile marxist hatred in an attempt to subvert OUR country. he should have been hanged

  16. Harry Barnes

    Gankon : And peace and comradeship to you.

  17. gankon

    haha. ok, probably a bit harsh. maybe admonished rather than hanged.

    does piss me off that so many of those born abroad who make this their home do tend to go for the left. a bit like someone inviting you into their home just for you to take a huge shit in the middle of the living room.

    if you want to create a socialist utopia, fuck off and create it somewhere else. we were quite happy

  18. Harry Barnes

    Gankon : I had better return from whence I came – County Durham. Where if you go back 100 years or so my family used to use a midden.

  19. gankon

    i also think David Miliband has some questions to answer about the child trafficking he was involved with. if you’re going to adopt children isn’t it better to do it legally in the country that you write the laws for?

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