Friday, 24 June 2011

It'll always be next year

Various local papers are reporting that Ed Miliband MP will no longer be attending the Miners' Gala this year. An un-named spokesman for Miliband is quoted as giving two reasons.

  • He doesn't want to share a platform with Trades Union leader Bob Crow
  • "diary pressures"

He also says that "Ed has said he will come next year."

I predict, very confidently, that he won't come next year either. Nor any other year.

On the "diary pressures" side, the date of the Miners' Gala is hardly a secret. If he's too busy to make it this year - after saying back in March that he would come - the same pressures will probably exist next year, too. (Well, unless he gets replaced as leader, but I expect he won't come then either)

On the "not wanting to share a platform with people who disagree with Labour" side, he's going to be somewhat out of luck at the Miners' Gala in most years. Perhaps if Labour (nationally, rather than the local party) actually cared any more about places like Durham and the people who live and (try to) work there, he wouldn't have so many people criticising his leadership because of it.

Miliband's spokesman denies that it's because of the unpopularity among wealthy Londoners of Bob Crow1, but it's not a very convincing denial. His earlier speech on "responsibility" showed that he was going for the same upper-middle class swing voters as New Labour: refusing to attend the Miners' Gala because it might play badly with the Telegraph would be part of the same strategy.

Meanwhile, the promise of "next year" is a perfect analogue of the way Labour treats the needs of non-default people. Maybe next year, when there's more time in Parliament and the right-wing have stopped opposing it. (And if you don't re-elect us, there won't be a next year, and you definitely won't get it).


1: Bob Crow in many respects has one of the easiest (which is not the same as easy) Union jobs in the country. The workers he represents carry out a task that is worth millions of pounds a day to London's economy (or at least, when they go on strike, that's what it's claimed to cost), and have sufficient training that they can't easily be replaced. Getting them a reasonable share in those millions is therefore a much easier job than some other Union leaders have.

Of course, it does make him very unpopular with the rich people who think those millions should belong to them. Edit: As Simon Farnsworth points out in comments, I should have explicitly mentioned that those are not the only people who Crow is unpopular with, and I didn't intend to claim that Crow is right either. Crow should be able to get a good deal for his members without aiding other employers in their attacks on their workers.