Labour’s problem isn’t Ed Miliband, it’s Labour, Peter Kellner, head of YouGov, wrote yesterday. Voters dislike a party that suffers from a lack of original thinking and political ferment.
He is right. But to think this is all about economics is to underestimate the voters. Most wearily realise there is not a huge amount of blue water between the parties’ policies on tax and spending or any other policy for that matter. To nail the problem Kellner needs to think culture.
The clue is to be found in his polling revelation that no other leading Labour MP would make much difference to the party’s chances – bar Alan Johnson who would boost Labour’s support (but won’t play ball) or David Miliband (who is not in play). The second clue is the fact that neither Ed Balls nor Yvette Cooper would do any better than Miliband – and Cooper would do worse.
Yet neither Kellner – nor anyone else over the last few days – asks why? What is it about this particular trio of its leading lights that has become so unpalatable to the ordinary Labour voter? What do they represent that Johnson and Miliband senior don’t or do less so?
The truth, I suspect, is one that everyone knows but dare not admit. Like the emperor’s new clothes, no one on the left, not even the UNITE union boss Len McCluskey, dare own up to how very unattractive is this new breed of right-on, feminist Marxists who have taken over the people’s party.
The absence of any discussion of the party’s take-over in recent years by its radical feminist flank is a testament to the success of this silent revolution (and the fear its spokesmen have engendered).
It is not just Labour’s Fabian socialist roots that have been forgotten in this feminist putsch but Tony Blair’s post-Clause Four rendition of its original ideals too.
Without apparently any debate in the party, Labour’s largely male socialist past has transmuted into a feminist and feminized future. Today the party obsesses over gender parity and universal childcare; no longer for full (male) employment. Earnings must be the same for women as well as for men – even if women are part-time or occasional workers. Men no longer are deemed to have any extra responsibilities, even if women would like them to. That would be patriarchal and must be stamped out in the new choice-free utopia.
This I believe is what Ed’s leadership problem stems from – the implacable rise of Labour’s monstrous regiment of women, the systematic emasculation and marginalisation of Labour’s men, and their imposition of uniform and prescriptive ‘choices’ for women and children.
It was never more clear than in his moment of crisis when who should Ed turn to but Lucy Powell (Shadow Minister for Children and Childcare and election helpmate). No, not to the one man who might help him get on track, that clever, attractive and amiable ‘all bloke’, Alan Johnson, liked (if I am anything to go by) by men and women alike.
Lucy’s tough talk to put up or shut up to Ed enemies will of course be to no avail. This ‘right-on’ feminist, like her sisters at the Fabian Society, sees “progressive feminist social democracy” as the future. Her ‘feel’ for her male colleagues and for Labour’s grassroots, I suspect, is rather less than her feel for the EU’s feminised bureaucracies.
For what she really cares about is gender equality. The ‘motherhood’ penalty must be eliminated at all costs. Women’s true freedom can only be realised through economic independence. Conveniently she believes that such ‘equalising’ of “gender participation in the labour market could result in a net gain of 10 per cent of GDP by 2030 in the UK alone”.
I for one don’t believe that an economic policy designed to enhance further women’s economic power “by extending paid childcare and providing flexible care options to incentivise mothers’ return to the labour market” is a turn on for voters.
Yet this is the agenda that Ed Miliband, Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper have all uncritically signed up to. When the New Statesman derided Mr. Miliband for being a Hampstead socialist, it had it wrong. It should have derided him for being an out of touch feminist Marxist.
Possibly more than either of his predecessors he is in hock to this agenda. No wonder only Yvette Cooper would be even more unpopular as Labour leader.
Why would a self-respecting Labour bloke vote for this? Agree or disagree with the Fabian’s original nationalisation goals, nationalising men was not one of them. The goal was full male employment.
This is why Ed’s unpopularity is about more than him being a geek. Under his leadership the full on horror of the feminist diktat – Harman, Cooper, Flint and the rest of the monstrous brigade – has come to fruition. Men have been banished to the margins. Neither their needs nor their role is represented. In a feminist democracy, they must accept equal childcare duties or resign themselves to being no more than a sperm donor
No wonder Labour has lost touch with its core vote. Where is debate about the dramatically declining rate of male employment, the decline in male social mobility or indeed the huge social costs of the fatherless families that ‘progressive’ feminist diktats have engineered – all of which have come to pass over the last 30 years? Nowhere.
So yes, Peter Kellner, you are right theoretically to say that unless the party offers not just a new leader but a new form of social democracy suited to tough times, getting rid of Miliband alone will make little difference.
But, a new form of social democracy suited to tough times will only work if freed from the economically, socially and psychologically stultifying Marxist feminism that has taken over the party.