Friday, 15 May 2015

Umunna as leader? No

In his analysis of Labour`s election defeat, Chuka Umunna wrote that the party got its priorities wrong, and that it, presumably under his leadership, "must never give the appearance" that it is relaxed about "inequality, poverty and injustice"(Where Labour went wrong - and what we must do to put it right,10/05/15). This section of his leadership claim was bracketed, as if it was an afterthought. Clearly, an "appearance" to care is all that is needed; the real focus has to winning the support of "aspirational, middle-class" voters, and business.
     The Blairites` emphasis on the middle-class ignores a number of points; Miliband repeatedly argued in favour of more being done for the "squeezed middle", aspiration and ambition are not the preserve of the middle-class, whilst the hemorrhaging of white working class votes to Ukip, SNP and the Greens cost the party dearly. All the Blairite candidates stress that a more pro-business stance has to be adopted, meaning, in all probability, one similar to the that of the Tories. Doubtless, then, they would like to hear lots of meaningless rhetoric condemning tax avoidance as "morally repugnant", but doing next to nothing to reduce the £40bn or so which should be going to the Treasury. Similarly, raising the minimum wage would be a very low priority, so the number of families relying on benefits would continue to rise, whilst government contracts would still be given to firms better known for their refusal to pay the living wage, and their tax avoiding practices, than their efficiency and competence. The financial sector would be allowed to pay obscene salaries and bonuses without fear of extra taxation. A Blairite Labour party would propose no increase in the much avoided corporation tax, even though the current rate is the lowest in the G7, and 18 points lower than in the US.  
  The people of this country do not deserve another party claiming to be pro-business when businesses in the country are anything but pro-people!

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