Comment: Miliband’s support for the mansion tax marks return of Labour as a genuine alternative

Blogger Salman Shaheen welcomes Labour's pledge to bring back the 10p tax rate paid for by a mansion tax on properties worth more than £2million.

I grew up in a household that had voted Labour since time immemorial, but aside from a second preference vote for Ken Livingstone in last year’s London mayoral elections, I have never voted Labour in my life.

I came of political age at the height of the Iraq war and the worst betrayals of the Blair government of all the Old Labour values my family had long held dear.

In 2005, I backed RESPECT, in 2010 I voted Green. What was the point, I thought, of tactical voting to keep the Tories out if New Labour offered little in the way of a genuine ideological alternative to Conservative neoliberalism?

As George Monbiot once told me: “As much as I dislike and am disgusted with the Tories, I think you have to vote for what you think is right. And if you cling onto something bad for fear of something worse, no one will end up with the government they want.”

I continue to believe that people should vote positively, not negatively for the devil they know. After all, a two party state is only twice as good as a dictatorship.

But Ed Miliband’s speech in Bedford today has convinced me that at last Labour may be reclaiming its radical roots and offering a return to a more genuine, ideology-based politics that has not been seen since the Thatcher years.

Miliband’s support for reinstating the 10p tax rate funded through a mansion tax is a clear break from Tory plundering of the poor and tax breaks for the richest individuals and biggest corporations, showing how the economy can be fixed by redistribution, raising up the bottom and the middle of society, not crushing it.

Other policy suggestions are also welcome developments to raise living standards: breaking the stranglehold of the big six energy suppliers; stopping the train company price rip-offs on the most popular routes; introduce new rules to stop unfair bank charges; and cap interest on payday loans.

Conservative austerity is failing the country and Miliband has seized his moment to offer a genuine alternative. It may not be everything an Old Labourite might want, but it is a promising start.

If these policies make it into the Labour manifesto, I may yet return to the fold.

Left Foot Forward will look at the opposing view of the issue later today.

As you’re here, we have something to ask you. What we do here to deliver real news is more important than ever. But there’s a problem: we need readers like you to chip in to help us survive. We deliver progressive, independent media, that challenges the right’s hateful rhetoric. Together we can find the stories that get lost.

We’re not bankrolled by billionaire donors, but rely on readers chipping in whatever they can afford to protect our independence. What we do isn’t free, and we run on a shoestring. Can you help by chipping in as little as £1 a week to help us survive? Whatever you can donate, we’re so grateful - and we will ensure your money goes as far as possible to deliver hard-hitting news.

12 Responses to “Comment: Miliband’s support for the mansion tax marks return of Labour as a genuine alternative”

  1. treborc

    Good for you, sadly he did little to get me all hot, he does not look like a leader to me, he does not sound like a leader to me., and sadly I do not believe him or trust him yet, I will wait until closer to the next election and see them policies before I fall in line. I spent 44 years in the party leaving in 2010. But then again I’m disabled so for me welfare is the main issues and I have seen or heard nothing except cuts work shy scroungers.

  2. Brian S.

    I sometimes voted for labour before they became ‘New’ – but never since. If Ed was talking about re-nationalisation of the railroads and public utilities instead of pathetically trying to control the private companies who virtually got them as a gift from us, I would be more impressed than Salman apparently is.

  3. robertcp

    Salman, you are clearly a natural Labour voter who was alienated by the awfulness of New Labour. It is nice to have a party to vote for again!

  4. Conrad

    In agreement with you here, it’s all well and good having a mansion tax, but it feels like window dressing, I have yet to see a real master plan that is worthy of their roots yet, and this is now becoming some sort of 50 year problem, i keep on seeing a lot of good smaller ideas but nothing that cannot be undone by a vaguely ambitious Tory government.

  5. Mick

    Milliband taking Labour back to how it was in the ’80s? Will it be writing a new ‘longest suicide note in history’?

Comments are closed.