Nomination for most influential left-wing thinker 2010/11: Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband is changing the way the Labour Party thinks about its very purpose - its ends as well as its means. Such a profound shift makes him a candidate for left-wing thinker of the year.

When ‘Red Ed’ won the leadership a year ago voices from the Tory press to the Labour right predicted a return to socialist policies that made the state the be-all and end-all of Labour politics.

But Ed in office has proven very different. The infamous “blank page” proved to be filled up not so much by state solutions to national problems as by an intellectual debate of every hue. Purple and Red books have competed with Blue Labour to influence the party’s fundamental reassessment of the state and its approach to power.

For far from being a traditional parliamentary socialist Ed has proven to be a convener of ideas and forces, a facilitator of movements that make their impact not so much by legislation as by community politics.

From his support of 38 Degrees’ forests campaign to his championing of the struggle against Murdoch, Ed has taken a campaigning approach to policy which draws on the talents of others to achieve change – even in opposition.

Not for Ed the politics of New Labour central diktat, but rather an approach that eclectically draws from such influences as Marc Stears and Maurice Glasman in arguing for a Labour movement based more on personal relationships than the pursuit of public policy targets.

His willingness to build coalitions on an issue-by-issue basis has displeased each of the groups competing over Labour’s future at least once. From backing progressives in the yes to AV campaign to his contined trust in the work of the Fabians, Ed draws on the strengths of  all strands of thinking in the party while being dependent on none. 

However, Ed’s greatest achievements of change from opposition have given Labour the opportunity to both lead, and give voice to, campaigning  forces and individuals in wider society. 

Refounding Labour is a case in point. The flagship change of Clause I moves the purpose of the party from an organisation designed exclusively for the capture of parliamentary power to a movement that wields power at all levels to deliver change for communities and individuals alike.

Equally, Ed’s experiment with a reformed Movement for Change and counsel on party reform from leading US community organiser Arne Graff and party trailblazer Caroline Badley is testament to how bold a break with Labour’s centralising instincts Ed’s leadership represents.

What’s more, the election of radical reforming General Secretary Iain McNicol now provides Ed with the organisational firepower to see his vision made real.

The challenge for Ed now is to shape a new political agenda using the tools of both parliamentary power and the energies of grassroots activism. If he fufils this mission he will not only have changed Britain while in opposition but will have returned Labour to government.

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12 Responses to “Nomination for most influential left-wing thinker 2010/11: Ed Miliband”

  1. Political Planet

    Nomination for most influential left-wing thinker 2010/11: Ed Miliband: Ed Miliband is changing the way the Labo…

  2. Marcus A. Roberts

    ahead of The Big Speech,here's my momination on @leftfootfwd for most influential left-wing thinker 2011: @Ed_miliband

  3. Liz McShane

    ahead of The Big Speech,here's my momination on @leftfootfwd for most influential left-wing thinker 2011: @Ed_miliband

  4. Robert the crip

    I’m sorry for the Fabians to even consider this leader for a left thinker is ridicules, he was part of one of the worse leadership this country has ever known, of course people in Labour will tell you without Brown this world would be different, which is true it might not be in this mess.

    Miliband has done nothing he was brought into New labour and he took over a New Labour labour party, he’s not moved to the left.

    He has attacked most things which made labour a socialist party with his mate Purnell, to even place this wonk in the left or socialist group show how far this party has moved to the right

  5. Robert the crip

    I’ve a question for left foot forward why is it I can only comment after somebody else makes a comment. My computer is brand new working ok when I try to make a comment which nobody else had done so, I just get nothing it opens but the comment box does not appear, once somebody else makes a comment even on twitter I can then make a comment.

    anyone know why.

    Anyone know why.

  6. Dave Citizen

    Robert – I get the same. My guess is that ‘LFF control’ need to open up the comments section in some way. I’ve noticed that over the past few weeks a longer gap is being left before opening up comments on many articles – not sure why this would be unless there’s a desire to somehow control the impact of comments?

  7. Dave Citizen

    On Ed Milliband – I like what I’m hearing but think it’s too early to judge his influence.

  8. Mr. Sensible

    Yes, Robert and Dave, I’ve noticed that as well with comments. Any ideas? I always check LFF in the evening to find out what’s been said that day, but I find no comment thread or form on half the pages, but if I happen to look the following morning I find the threads appear.

    On Ed, some things I agree with him on, some I don’t, but overall I think he’s doing OK.

  9. Anon E Mouse

    I also get this problem but just assumed that some of the control freak moderators on this blog, those who can’t accept that their party lost the last election or aren’t honest enough to admit that Ed Miliband is a weird unelectable loser were making sure that the pro Labour Twitters got in first.

    Mr.Sensible – On what basis can you say Ed Miliband is doing OK considering how unpopular he is personally and how Labour are tanking in the polls?

    If he’s “doing ok” than the Labour Party is truly finished as a political force in this country….

  10. Selohesra

    The first comment always seems to be a trackback or tweet – whatever that is. I therefore assumed that as they were normally to more sympathetic readers they were given a head start in the hope of starting the real comments with some supportive opinions. To be fair to LFF they seem to allow comment from all shades of opinion rather than moderating everything they disagree with.

  11. Mr. Sensible

    Mr Mouse remember we’re probably still 3 odd years out from an election, unfortunately. One poll this weekend had Labour 1 ahead, and I think others have shown that Labour is less toxic than the Tories.

  12. Henry

    Yes, the polls have pretty consistently shown Labour ahead, although there are obviously ups and downs. What’s happened is that half the 2010 LibDem voters have fled and many have come over to Labour. As a result, the Labour vote is up at around 40% against 29% in May last year. Not what I’d call ‘tanking’.

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