The General Election defeat shell-shocked the Labour Party and left us with a lot of thinking and reflecting to do as to why we lost and lost so badly. Its right for the party to look into and investigate the scale of that defeat and the reasoning behind it, but is it right for the blame to lie solely and squarely at Ed Miliband’s door?
Candidates for Leadership of the party have been very quickly trying to distance themselves from Ed Miliband’s policies and his term of leadership despite them serving in his shadow cabinet holding important portfolios. I am sickened by the attacks on him and his policies from within the Labour party. Simply saying we need to learn lessons and move forward is one thing, publicly criticising Ed Miliband is totally another and it plays into the hands of the Conservative party and fuels further attacks that a blame game has begun in an infighting divided Labour Party.
Ed Miliband became leader after Labour had slumped to its worst defeat since 1983, he could have taken office and simply led Labour in opposition with the view that the Conservatives would win the next general election by default, with the view that one term governments were a thing of the past, he didn’t do that, instead he came into the leadership at a torrid time vowing to unite the Labour party and pledging to stand up for ordinary hardworking people and families who he said very early on would be forced to suffer the brunt of the coalition governments austerity programme. As time went on and in budget after budget he was proved absolutely right.
I believe the Labour Party shouldn’t ponder over “whether we chose the wrong brother”, because for five years we had a good leader who got stronger and stronger in the role and on May the 8th we lost a formidable leader. Ed Miliband was right to stand up against employers exploiting their employees and employing them on zero hours contracts and undercutting their wages. Ed Miliband was right to lead calls to scrap the cruel and vindictive bedroom tax which has resulted in people committing suicide, he was right to have policies to tackle inequality and make Britain and fairer country for all.
Ed Miliband had policies that went to the heart of Labours roots and spoke very loudly of Labours beliefs, beliefs of fairness, equality and beliefs of social justice. The problem was not the policies, the problem we faced was how we presented those policies to the population at large and the problem was also constant and personal, scathing and vicious attacks on Ed Miliband from the day he took on the leadership and the attacks on Labour’s economic record when in government, that was to be a lie from the Conservative Party that we would never nail.
Lets be clear Labour presided over good times on the economy, the boom years, low interest and inflation rates and indeed Gordon Brown was described as an ‘iron chancellor’, the financial crash in 2008 was not Labours fault for how it was handling the economy, the crash was not exclusive to Britain, it was a global crash which every major economy in the world had to deal with and tribute should be payed to Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling for preventing the recession turning into a depression. The crash was caused by banks and large multi-national businesses, doing what they do best, being greedy and not investing for the future. The Labour government had begun to get public spending under control which was initially supported by the Conservatives until they realised they risked sounding a lot like Labour in front of the general British public so they withdrew their support for Labour’s economic policy and began throwing rocks at the government as they tried to rescue the economy and industry. The economic crisis forced the Conservatives to show their hands and instead they showed they had no hearts.
Leading up to the 2015 General election the Conservatives knew Labour had good polices that were far better than theirs and would resonate more with the British people so rather than engaging in policy assassination which was a battle they knew they would lose they resorted instead to character assassination and party assassination, taking every opportunity to disgrace Ed Miliband personally and the Labour party in general for being in government in 2008 when the financial crash engulfed the world. Rather than spell out their policies to the British people and put forward a compelling case as to why Britian should elect a continuing majority Conservative Government, the Conservative party chose to spread scaremongering lies and myths, that Labour would form a government on the 'coattails’ of the SNP, that Ed Miliband was someone who had stabbed his own brother in the back for Leadership of the Labour party and wouldn’t think twice before stabbing the country in the back and that the crash was Labours fault and Labour’s fault alone. All of these lies, untruths and basic scaremongering in the most personal and negatively fought General election in history on the part of the Conservative Party.
Ed Miliband may have accepted his responsibility for the defeat as leader of the Labour party, but the fault does not lie squarely at Ed Miliband’s door, it lies I believe with the shadow cabinet and all of whom were closely linked to campaigns across the country for not combating the lies and myths that were spread about our party and our leader.
We had a positive and compelling case to take to the country and we did that although we didn’t do it as well as the Conservative party did with their lies, untruths and myths.
I call for an immediate end to the attacks and criticism of Ed Miliband and his leadership from within the Labour party and the candidates for leadership. Ed Miliband is a man of decency, integrity and principle and he has a lot to offer the Labour Party in future. I thank him on behalf of the whole Labour movement for his commitment and service to our party as leader.
As a labour party we should move forward without infighting as a united progressive movement, united behind one aim, a majority Labour government for the sake of our United Kingdom in 2020. For as long as there is a Labour movement the poor and most
vulnerable in our country will never stand alone, they will always have a voice and be it in
Government or in opposition that voice shall never die.
Usman Ahmed, June 11th 2015 ©
Usman was recently elected as councillor for Leegomery ward on Hadley District council in May 2015.