The Labour Party pulls down the final curtain – on itself!
Yesterday, the Electoral College of the Labour Party announced the outcome of its leadership election. “Red Ed” Miliband was elected by the barest majority of 50.65% to 49.35% over his brother David Miliband.
Ed Miliband was not the first preference of Labour Members of Parliament. He was not the first preference of Labour Party members. But, he was the first preference of trade unions infuriated by what they perceived as their betrayal by Tony Blair’s New Labour. He won the elimination contest by picking up a majority of second preference votes as other left-wing candidates were successively eliminated from consideration.
David and Ed Miliband were the progeny of Ralph Miliband, whose parents had fled westwards to escape anti-semitism in continental Europe. Ralph Miliband was a committed Marxist who, in 1940, swore an oath of allegiance to Karl Marx and his philosophy at the foot of his London grave, and who, under the mentorship of Harold Laski, dedicated his entire life and scholarship to Marxist-Leninist political science.
David Miliband broke away and saw the beckoning capitalist lights, as he joined Tony Blair in the New Labour venture that kept the Party in power throughout the period 1997-2010. His younger brother, Ed, lurked in the lower levels of the Party, much more in his father’s intellectual shadow, staking his career on the fortunes of Gordon Brown, and enjoying watermelon (green outside, red inside) cabinet status as Climate Change Secretary. Ed’s leadership campaign focused on returning Labour to its socialist roots, focusing policy on the “unshakable principles” of economic equality and of reinstating the traditional powers of the trade unions.
So we now know where the Labour Party is headed: leftwards into political oblivion – at least if postwar history remains in any way relevant, and as long as the Conservative-Liberal coalition government does not lose its nerve. This is a remarkably generous gift by the Labour Electoral College to the economic advancement of the United Kingdom. Rarely do we witness such an unselfish act of seppuku outside the confines of Samurai warriors in the Land of the Rising Sun. Rare as this process of self- disembowelling may be, the British people should ring the bells across the nation to give thanks to Divine Providence for effecting this remarkable political sacrifice.
An earlier version of this post appeared on Charles Rowley’s blog.