Miliband’s on the hunt – but he desperately lacks a clarion call

In today’s New Statesman, David Miliband has released a new essay on building Britain a social democratic future. It’s disappointing.

Miliband’s focus on Labour’s electoral strategy neglects a more urgent and, for progressives, a more difficult question: What’s the point of the progressive project anymore?

Against the backdrop of mass bankruptcies and near-bankruptiies – and, consequently, the bankruptcy of supply side economic policies – could there be an easier, more ripe time for progressive parties to articulate the dangers of unregulated finance and, more importantly, an agenda for remedying the follies wreaked by the unchecked financial sector? Yet, instead of piercing analysis and a compelling vision, Milliband rifles his only almost-zinger towards the not even low-hanging so much as long since plucked, Mr. Roy Hattersley.

“But in his article, liberty, rights, social justice and equality are listed as a range of desirable values, when the issue is how to resolve clashes between values, not whether you can make a list of them.”

A passable criticism – if you’re on the high school debate team. Less so if you’re attempting to re-imagine and inspire the realignment of middle and working Britain’s political passions.

Having set his bar so low, I politely await the underwhelming all-too-easy grand finale he’s obviously teed-up. Instead, New New Labour serves up this:

“…we are enjoined … to put power as well as wealth and opportunity in the hands of the many, not the few.”

Got that? And that abstract nothing-speak was one of his more impassioned sentences.

At a time when, as Miliband concedes himself, Europe has 24 out of 27 left-leaning parties out of power despite the FT running a Capitalism in Crisis series while one populist GOP presidential candidate is attacking his Republican colleague as a “Vulture Capitalist”, the question, while it still retains some relevance, must be: Progressives: Is this all?

Where’s the progressive critique for the new century? Is there none?

Discover more from Slugger O'Toole

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

We are reader supported. Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger. While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated.