Ed 2.0 blogs his way out of trouble

In what could be a sign of things to come, Ed Miliband used social media to take on his critics and defend his position over yesterday's strikes, reports Shamik Das.

In what could be a sign of things to come, Ed Miliband used social media to take on his critics and defend his position over yesterday’s strikes – conveying his thoughts directly to the public, as they are, without having to go through the filter of the print or broadcast media. On Twitter, Facebook and his blog, the Labour leader set out his reasons for his stance, and why he feels striking now, while negotiations are ongoing, is the wrong thing to do.

He wrote:

“I know that teachers and other public servants are worried about their pensions. I also know that on strike today are hard-working people, committed to the children they teach and the communities they serve. I understand their anger about the way the government has acted.

“But this does not alter my view that today’s strikes are a mistake. It is a mistake to resort to disruption at a time when negotiations are still going on. And it is a mistake not just because of the inconvenience caused but also because I firmly believe it will not help to win the argument with the public.”

The reaction amongst commenters, however, has been largely hostile, even allowing for what the Guardian calls the “bile typical of anonymous online comment threads” – though there is no way to tell how representative of Labour or public opinion they are.

Left wing bloggers have also been critical, with Owen Jones calling yesterday a “catastrophe for the Labour leadership”, describing yesterday as “not just the beginning of a whole new phase of popular resistance to the government”, but “the start of a struggle for the heart and soul of the Labour party”, and Labour List editor Mark Ferguson describing Miliband as “just plain wrong” on the strikes.

More impressed with Miliband’s stance, though, are the Guardian’s Patrick Wintour and Nick Watt, who suggest he may have “played a blinder” by opposing the strikes.

They write:

“This was a big moment for Miliband whose name was booed at today’s rally in London, according to my colleague Patrick Wintour. Miliband clearly does not want to make the same mistake as Neil Kinnock who admits he made a grave error when he failed to denounce the less than democratic processes of the NUM which allowed Arthur Scargill to call the year long miner’s strike in 1984-85…

“So those who never quite subscribed to the New Labour view of the world are unhappy. That is one up for Blair who believes that a successful Labour leader should ceaselessly yank the party out of its “comfort zone” and onto the centre ground. It is also a blow for Cameron who wants to portray Miliband as an instinctive leftie.”


“So a good week for the Labour leadership. But the party faces a long journey back to power…”

And that is exactly the point – long-term strategy versus short-term popularity; only time will tell whether Miliband has made the right decision.

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16 Responses to “Ed 2.0 blogs his way out of trouble”

  1. Matthew Sinclair

    RT @leftfootfwd: Ed 2.0 blogs his way out of trouble: http://bit.ly/kMhvaL <- Jumping the shark with glee there

  2. Jeevan Rai

    Bang on the money: long-term strategy rather than short-term popularity. http://t.co/6bRxQgH

  3. Andrew Griffiths

    RT @leftfootfwd: Ed 2.0 blogs his way out of trouble http://t.co/nuNk3O6

  4. Mark Ferguson

    Not sure I agree with @shamikdas – i don't think Ed did "blog his way out of trouble"… http://bit.ly/kMhvaL

  5. bob woods

    Ed 2.0 blogs his way out of trouble: http://bit.ly/kMhvaL – @ShamikDas on @Ed_Miliband's response to his #J30 critics

  6. Twine Prode

    Ed 2.0 blogs his way out of trouble – Left Foot Forward: http://bit.ly/lSBoZj

  7. Ed's Talking Balls

    The highlight of yesterday has to be when Miliband’s autocue got stuck on repeat:


  8. sad

    was sad that Ed Milliband decided to abandon his Tory battered ”children” during yesterday’s strike. Is Ed caught in the centre between Cameron’s desire to portray him as a ”Leftie” and the Unions looking towards their ”father figure Ed ” and seeing him as another of Cameron’s quotes ” an absent father” ?

  9. Oxford Kevin

    My response to Miliband was:

    Why should their be negotiations at all when the public sector pensions are clearly affordable as has been demonstrated, and that what Miliband should be pushing for is the improvement of private sector pension schemes.

    As the poll figures have demonstrated their is clear public support and this really could have been an opportunity for Miliband to have actually affected the framework within which all these discussions take place.


  10. Steve

    It’s about time Ed Miliband seriously thinks about his priorities. Which is more important fending off attacks from the right wing media or getting people organised to replace the shamble of a Government. If the former then he should go now, before he causes any more damage.

  11. fredrick alvarado

    Ed 2.0 blogs his way out of trouble: On Twitter, Facebook and his blog, the Labour leader set out his reasons fo… http://bit.ly/lZJfVT

  12. Johanna Soerensen

    The economies of most western countries have doubled in size in the last 20-30 years. But the wages of the lower 60% have remained the same. The wages of the lowest 25% have decreased. So where has all this wealth gone? The wealthy and the rich and the obscenely rich have gotten much much more wealthy.
    As pensions and healthcare and education and science etc. is mostly financed by taxes of ordinary people there have to be cuts because these ordinary people earn less and you can’t raise taxes that much to make up for the difference. Opposed to that the rich don’t pay taxes. They have good tax counsellors and they hide money in tax heavens and their various sources of income are taxed with much lower rates than an ordinary persons wage.
    Taxes on ordinary wages are between 15% and 35%. But taxes on capital gains which only very rich people have in significant quantities are just 15%. (Numbers from the US tax system).
    If you are an ordinary person earning around 50.000 US-Dollars you pay 35% taxes.
    If you are wealthy and earn more than 100.000 US-Dollars in capital gains (this means you have a fortune of more than 1 mio US Dollars!!!) you pay just 15% taxes on these gains!!!
    1. The rich don’t pay enough taxes.
    2. The poor don’t get a fair share of the GDP.
    3. As a result western governments can’t spend on education, health care, public services or research and science although their countries are richer than ever.

  13. Dave Citizen

    Spot on Johanna – problem is convincing a population that is constantly taught by an elite controlled media that fair shares are for idealists. And if that doesn’t work then try scaring them with the line that they will drive our ‘talented wealth creators’ abroad to create wealth for others.

    How do you convince people to get a grip of themselves?

  14. Leon Wolfson

    Johanna; Well, as a mutualist I feel tax on unearned income should be considerably *higher* than on earned. Oh, I’d keep ISA’s and pensions as good ways to save moderate amounts and for retirement, but for the rest…

  15. john thwaites

    Strike action is the last result, that no one goes into lighty, by condeming strikers are just adding to their stress. at times the only way you can get the employers (in this case the Government) around to understanding the views of it’s workforce is to take strike action.

  16. Look Left – Up to 10 million face starvation in Horn of Africa | Left Foot Forward

    […] for his decision not to support the strikes while negotiations are ongoing, the Labour leader responding online to combat his […]

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