Firstly he opposed the Iraq war (for the right reasons) unlike his brother who voted for the invasion that has now lasted for nearly 10 years. While liberal intervention has its place, the war began for the sole reason that Saddam Hussein was believed to be in possession of weapons of mass destruction -the wrong reasons- and NOT for humanitarian aid. Hans Blix had asked for more time to find these weapons that have still not been located. The basis turned out to be incorrect and caused a massive loss of trust from Labour supporters; both those who supported the war and from those who opposed the war from the offset (I am one of the latter and campaigned with the Socialist Workers’ Party, of which I am a former member, in protests etc).
He managed to secure an agreement in Copenhagen with regard to climate change control and ways to reduce carbon emissions. He has also been public in his defence of climate-change research after the revelation that the finding that the disappearance of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 was a mistake.
“I think science is improved when criticised and improved when opened up. What I think is profoundly irresponsible is to suggest that one fact that was wrong about a glacier undermines the overall picture on climate change.” – Ed Milliband to the BBC
He has promised to maintain public services and give more autonomy within local government, offering more female representation within the those councils. The promise to fight the coalition’s plans to rig the constituency boundaries to suit their own ends. Ed plans to improve crime prevention and call a halt on the excessive stop-and-search measures and ID cards. Why does the government need to know who we are and where we are other than to maintain efficient tax records? Ed prioritises values over alliances. This is not to undermine the value of loyalty but sometimes dissent is a good thing when it comes to criticising ‘unpopular’ new ideas. Allowing women and black people the vote and equal rights were also unpopular new ideas at one time.
The campaign for a Living Wage of more than £7 per hour is the heart of Ed’s campaign to become leader of the labour Party. I have had some opposition to this myself but I do have 5 good reasons for being in favour of this campaign. Over 450 councillors are in favour of this campaign
“Research for our campaign by the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that companies paying below the Living Wage effectively cost the taxpayer between £5.9bn and £6.3bn a year — because low-paid employees can top up their income with tax credits and benefits, while the Treasury also receives less in tax revenue from those on low pay.”
- Higher wages will mean that those on income support will no longer require the income support benefits.
- In turn less will be paid out to those who will then be in otherwise financially solvent circumstances.
- The new ‘higher’ earners will also pay more tax and therefore contribute more tax to pay for the services we all use and rely on. They will also have more income to spend on necessities.
- The public purse should not be used to subsidise the meagre wages paid by unscrupulous employers who would happily pay their employees even less than minimum wage if they could get away with it to look after their bottom lines while they award their executives massive bonuses.
- There is not only a financial efficacy in granting those in work the dignity of being able to provide for their families without government assistance but a strong moral reason too; to fiscally and psychologically empower the work force. The attitude that if employees don’t like the wages the job pays, they should get another job neither inspires the conscientious self-motivation that the Conservatives insist it does (in the face of the physical evidence to the contrary), or any loyalty to the employer. What it does is allow employers to undervalue their work force. As far as I am concerned, either keeping people who are already on minimum wage also dependant on the state or even retracting that assistance, is an insidious form of slavery which is frankly unforgivable.
“…57% of children living in poverty do so despite having at least one member of their household in work. Endemic low pay and working poverty continue to blight the lives of millions of ordinary working people across Britain.”
He is in favour of maintaining the 5op tax rate for those who earn more than £150,000 a year indefinitely whereas his brother is in favour of reducing it at some point. The directors’ organisation are in opposition to this as they claim this will mean high earners will move abroad and that the higher rate may tempt large corporations to move to countries where tax rates are lower. (The minimum wage was also opposed on the grounds that it would supposedly increase unemployment rates rather than protect the pay levels of low-skilled workers). Commitment to the High Pay Commission to regulate and the halt to abuses in executive pay is tied in with the living wage in order to narrow the unfair, vastly excessive and arbitrary gap between the highest and lowest paid within large corporations.
On tuition fees, Ed is in favour of scrapping them in favour of a graduate tax.
“As fees rise further, less well-off as well as part-time students will be even less likely to apply to more expensive universities and so damage their opportunities.” Ed Milliband to The Guardian on Comment is Free.
A graduate tax would be paid back as a deduction from their pay over 20 years as a percentage in-line with their ability to pay. The emergency budget will result in the stagnation of our universities and will ultimately produce further rises in fees as fewer students can afford to fill those places left after the coalition cut 10,000 earlier this year. Further education will again become a commodity of which only the rich and privileged can afford, thus forcing out culture back into the dark ages. We, as a society, cannot afford to allow education to become a market. A rise in fees will stunt the prospects of those less well off and will result in some universities charging more to the further detriment of their opportunities. The funds collected by a rise in tuition fees will not be used to fund universities but to plug the gaps in essential public services caused by the coalition’s savage cuts. The current system (including grants) ties students to the income of their parents while in all other aspects they are considered independent adults.
He is correct in his approach of reforming the party away from New Labour and refuting Tony Blair’s claim that the fatal move was to veer from New Labour’s politics even slightly. I feel that it was actually the inflexible reluctance to fully move away and act in response to changing circumstances that led to the electorate becoming disenchanted with the party. Ed is correct in admitting the mistakes of party New Labour that began so well by pouring the funding and resources back into education and the NHS that the previous Conservative government had cut back on, and setting up the National Minimum Wage, but ended up defending banker’s bonuses after tax funding had been used to bail out failing banks that had lent irresponsibly; rather than paying back the money which had been loaned to them (much to my disgust); ignoring party members and showing visible embarrassment of their trade union links.
My Other preferences for Labour Leader
- David Milliband
- Ed Balls
- Diane Abbott
- Andy Burnham
Other posts (in no particular order).
Labour Party Treasurer
- Diana Holland
National Executive Committee
- Johanna Baxter
- Ann Black
- Oona King
- Susan Press
- Christine Shawcroft
- Julian Ware-Lane
- Russell Cartwright
- Katie Curtis
- Jenny Holland
- Tariq Sadiq
NPF Youth Representatives
- Sam Goodby
- Labour Leadership, Candidate booklet