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Ed Miliband

Cooking the Books: Labour is All Capitalist Now

In his column in the Times (24 January) former Blair speech-writer Philip Collins recounted how he had met a ‘nameless plutocrat’ in Davos this year who had told him that Labour, despite its protestations to the contrary, was anti-business and that Miliband was indulging in ‘intellectual Marxism’. How ungrateful and how weird is the idea some people have of Marxism.

Collins commented:

‘Mr Miliband does think Marx is a better prophet of capitalism than those who cannot see beyond their own profits. Quite right too. Business people believe in competition just so long as they are benefiting from it. They soon realise competition means somebody else might take their winnings. Echoing Adam Smith on the conspiracies that businessmen practised against the public, Marx pointed out capitalism’s inexorable tendency towards monopoly. Competition, in other words, producers its own grave-diggers.’

Cooking the Books: Ed, Ralph and Karl

One result of the nasty attack by the Daily Mail (1 October) on Ed Miliband’s father, Ralph, has been a revival of discussion about Marx and Marxism. They described him a ‘lifelong, unreconstructed Marxist who craved a workers’ revolution’ Absurdly, they also claimed that

‘his son’s own Marxist values can be seen all too clearly in his plans for state seizures of private land held by builders and for fixing energy prices by government diktat.’

But there is nothing Marxist or socialist about taxing land values or price controls. The first was a 19th century radical Liberal demand aimed at weakening the landed aristocracy which then still stood in the way of complete capitalist class control of the state, and all sorts of governments have resorted to price controls.

Greasy Pole: Kinnock in the News Again

Greasy Pole

Anyone who suffers from a sense of being unvalued, or disregarded, might find some relief in the recent experience of Neil Kinnock. Or rather the Noble Baron Kinnock of Bedwellty, previously Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party and of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, European Commissioner, Chairman of the British Council...and lifelong supporter of Cardiff City Football Club, recently promoted to the Premier Division and infamous for the aggressive, disruptive behaviour of its fans. In September he went to watch Cardiff play Fulham at Craven Cottage. Although a seasoned football follower like Kinnock should have known better, he chose to sit with his family among the Fulham supporters. In the twelfth minute Cardiff scored a goal which had Kinnock, in his own words, 'wildly ...

Unions Should End the Link With Labour

In a bid to stop the Tories and the media painting Labour as a ‘class-based anti-cuts party’ (which planet are they living on?) Ed Miliband has proposed to weaken the links between Labour and the unions. This has been long overdue, but from a trade union point of view.

Trade unions were originally set up by groups of workers to bargain collectively, as a single unit, with their employer over their wages and working conditions. Today, it is true, they have become bureaucratic organisations run by highly-paid full-timers but workers are still better off with them than without them. They do provide some protection against arbitrary acts by employers and they are able to push up wages in a boom and stop them falling too far in a slump. Everyone should join one. They are the only protection workers have under capitalism.

Trade union consciousness

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