Miliband to visit Bradford and “learn lessons”

30th March, 2012 11:26 am

Ed Miliband has said that he will visit Bradford West to “learn lessons” from last night’s defeat. He also stressed that “we need to be engaged and rooted in every community of this country” – something which was clearly not the case in Bradford.

“It was an incredibly disappointing result for Labour in Bradford West and I am determined that we learn lessons of what happened. I’m going to lead that. I’m going to be going back to the constituency in the coming weeks to talk to people there about why this result happened.”

“Clearly there were local factors, but I also say only four out of 10 people voted for the three mainstream political parties. We’ve got to understand the reasons why that happened in Bradford.

“Above all it reinforces for me something that I’ve emphasised throughout my leadership which is that we need to be engaged and rooted in every community of this country.”

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  • Really good statment I thought, struck the right tone. We have to accept the loss isn’t good, but let’s not shout disaster, it’s a result of local relations and issues.

    • Paul_Wesson

      No, international relations and issues.  Look at Galloway’s leaflet to the mosques.  He concentrated on Islam, Pakistan, wars in predominantly Muslim countries.  His tweets after the election mentioned Palestine and Iraq.

      •  Haha yeah coz it’s not like the Labour party has ever courted the Muslim block vote or anything, oh no, it’s not like they back all the local bigwigs, religious leaders and businessmen in the muslim community in a desperate cycle of cronyism and neglect.

        Muslim voters in Bradford West are sick of the way Labour do business, and then expect them to vote Labour at every election. This should be a stark warning.

      • Paul: I agree.

        Labour really have got to rethink our foreign policy. How have the Friends of Israel become so influential? Why aren’t we offering support to the Palestinian cause? Why no wholesale rejection of the interventionist approach? Who really thinks Afghanistan can be described as anything than a disaster?

  • KonradBaxter

    ““It was an incredibly disappointing result ”

    Good to see this acceptance of reality.

    “I’m going to lead that. ”

    Is this a good idea? Surely he needs to lead the whole Party and tackle the government (many, many ways to attack them at the moment) , not get involved in an autopsy. If his leadership is part of the problem will this be reported back to him if he’s leading the investigation? Delegate.

  • “we need to be engaged and rooted in every community of this country” – does this mean a change from the obsession (understandable but damaging) with marginal seats? I do hope so.

  • Kingoldby

    ” We’ve got to understand the reasons why that happened in Bradford.”To do that requires the intellectual honesty to look at the consequences of mass immigration and a deliberately policy of retarding intergration.Or else we could just imply that anyone who raises such issues is a bigot and refuse to discuss them, then act surprised when more than half the electorate votes for non ‘mainstream’ parties.

    • jonathanmorse

      Because they’ll vote for their own party, not ours?

  • Makem73

    Galloway spoke about what the people on the ground wanted to hear, he spoke about things that matter, not just the anti war stance, he connected at a grass root level. The labour party in many areas are led by execs who are so out of touch, firmly grounded in the days of the pits, ship yards and manufacturing heartlands, they dont really connect with the young or even the middle age range groups, the labour beliefs are still there, we are just sick of being preached to by dinosaurs. I look at some of those representing me and I attend the local labour meetings, but the question I always come away asking is “are these people a true representation of my community” and the answer is very often no. I respect them for who they are and for what has been achieved, but the hearts of communities have changed. My community 20 years ago was a thriving mining community, staunch labour at every election, now I would bet less the 20% of any connection with the former pit, this new generation need a new ID, representing the future and not the past, it needs reps who are connected into the new possibities.

    • Robert_Crosby

      Like him or loathe him, voters appear to think that Galloway has something to say to them.  He provides a sharp contrast to some of the “androids” that the other parties (us included) have often found themselves fielding.  It never used to be like this and we need to start dropping a few of the careerists in favour of sincere people who can convince voters that their priority is to work hard for THEM.

      • jonathanmorse

        I believe that the PLP, called the Parliamentary Labour Party but I call it the Professional Labour Party, full of careerists and sons of true lefties and ex-trade union leaders see Labour as existing to get them into safe seats, not to get a party elected to govern, and that they made sure they got Ed M whatever the Tories say about the union vote, because there’s no risk he’ll get them elected. As long as they’re in opposition they can enjoy the perks of a safe seat without having to keep quiet if the party is in power and as the price of being in power being just a little too Blairish. For some reason a local got elected so they didn’t come to back him up. Better next time one of their own is picked to win the seat.

        • Robert_Crosby

          I think that’s rubbish.  You can’t change much if you don’t have power.  David Miliband lost because too many people felt he was too comfortable in the company of the wrong sort of people.  There was as much of a machine running inside most of the Labour family urging members to vote for him as the ONLY viable candidate as there has been in the media promulgating the Coalition’s message that cutting the deficit is the ONLY thing that matters.

          The gap between the Milibands (in terms of support amongst ordinary Party members) was narrowing as the election got closer.  I voted for Ed.  I don’t think he has made anywhere like as much of an impact as he could and should have done – probably because he is being advised poorly in the same way that Brown was.  If Ed Miliband stands down, then we need to look long and hard at what we expect of a leader.  I don’t see David Miliband as a viable proposition under any circumstances.  Ed Balls doesn’t cut it for me either.

          Voters want people with something to say and who are prepared to answer questions instead of swatting them away with tedious platitudes.  I believe that someone such as John Mann (thankfully already popular in his constituency) could have taken Galloway on and defeated him.  Mann is hardly considered ‘hard Left’.  He’s solid Labour, honest, consistent and he speaks language that people who want to vote for us understand.

    • Very interesting. I especially like the way you recognise that the “dinosaurs” deserve some respect for who they are while making the point that they are no longer necessarily representing communities as they are.

      Too often people get personal and slag others off when they disagree with them. I think we should always try to show respect to others even when we may privately think they are stuck in a time-warp.

      To deal with our problems we surely need a strengthening of bonds along the whole chain of community-CLPs-centre. Many of those bonds are clearly very weak at the moment, and that is the case across the political spectrum, not just in Labour. The painstaking job of building up connections in local communities and strengthening CLP and council governance and practices will be long and painstaking but there is surely no other option.

      • Makem73

        There is no option, we have to refresh the local groups, if we do not re-connect the future is looking pretty bleak, it is not about breaking the  stranglehold of the old guard (although many will see it as this) its about moving with the ever evolving community. We need to know what it is that makes a community tick, we need to know what will get fresh blood into the meetings, we need to modernise by incorporating the core values. The history of the labour party is important, but for many of today’s  labour members they don’t remember the pits, factories, industries and shipyards that laid the foundations for much of what we take for granted now, wages, holidays, health & safety etc.   We need to start building a new heritage for future generations, a legacy based on today’s issues and problems, one that connects this and near future generations, tackling the issues of today, even if some of the are considered near to the knuckle.  I talk to my son about politics, he does not understand that my interest stems from the 3 day week, miners strikes and fuel shortages, this is not taught in schools, its because we lived through it, so how do we expect them to connect. He has the core values but he wants to see the party tackle things that matter to him,  there needs to be a healthy mix of young and old.
         I also think the issue of who represents us is important, in this day and age, they want to see somebody talking that speaks from experiences not the text book, uni graduates who don’t represent council estates stand out for all the wrong reasons, and as more and more struggle to make ends meet, somebody preaching with that upper crust appearance will turn people off. My son looks at Ed and asks the same question, what does he really know about North Doncaster, the place he represents, my son grew up here, works here, lives here and shops here, but he does not connect with any of those he see’s on TV. If this generation does not see a reason to become involved what is the future ??    

  • caronia

    Sorry Ed,
    Your heart may be in the right place,but you look like a kid playing at politics.
    As with most of the new generation of politicians,straight out of Uni after doing a degree in PPE,then either a researcher or ‘special advisor’,  ZERO experience of ‘real work’ and then you expect to tell the rest of us how you might improve our lives !!
    Also,I can’t believe the crass stunt you pulled the other day with Rachel Reeves and Ed Ball by ordering pasties in an outlet of Greggs. What the hell were you hoping to achieve by doing that ?
    Sorry fella, you WILL never be a labour Prime Minister.

    • jonathanmorse

      Yet John Prescott is doing something similiar today.

      I hope he changes party rules, so that if you are a party member of a member of an afiliate or pay political subs to a union you have the right to vote but only get the one vote, then offer himself up for re-election. He might get re-elected, and won’t have the union link holding him down, or we might elect someone more credible.

      Personally I think giving the MP’s a third of the vote means that those MP’s who like their safe seats but don’t like keeping their mouth shut when we’re trying to be elecable, who are only there because of their union or family or MP connections, are likely to prefer a loser like Ed to keep them in the freedom of opposition.

  • Robert_Crosby

    I think I can predict how the inquest is likely to go?  

    I suspect that some will have wanted to support Respect’s anti-war stance.  Others may argue – with good reason – that we have become obsessed with middle-class voters (I acknowledge that I my background is probably middle-class for most people, although my parents both had working-class backgrounds) and do not concern ourselves enough these days with the concerns of “ordinary people”.  This includes being scared stiff publicly to defend even the concept of belonging to a trade union.

    Can anyone really see the Blairite “glitteratzi” contingent in the Shadow accepting that we should act on any of these concerns?… No, I can’t either.  The Blairites cannot provide the solution to our meltdown last night.

    • jonathanmorse

      Blair believed in ‘whatworks’, and he won 3 elections. Are you confusing ‘Blairite’ glitteratzi with the right of the party glitteratzi?

      • Robert_Crosby

        That philosophy served him well earlier but one look at his book reveals how he has latterly lost it on all sorts of issues – his diatribe against Brown, Balls and even Estelle Morris for daring to raise concerns regarding academy schools illustrates that amply.

        Whether they are ‘Blairite’, ‘right-wing’ or whatever, I think we all understand who we’re talking about here?

  • Politique

    I really do  think you need to visit your own constituency and regular to avoid another Michael Portillo Moment. No policies, no good advisors, no idea. Time for a new leader and shadow cabinet

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    I”m not a betting person, but I am willing to publicly say that I believe the results of the Labour post-mortem will result in much of the blame being placed upon a small group of senior CLP figures in Bradford West who will be deemed guilty of letting personal and family considerations overrule fundamental approaches to the constituency, to be followed by a clear-out and the spin that this was a one-off, and that Labour have tackled the issue.  Re-connecting with the core vote, etc.  

    Bradford West CLP have embarrassed the Labour Party too much to expect any loyalty or support from Victoria Street.

    In addition, some very quiet behind the scenes surveys conducted by Victoria Street of all other CLPs that look similar to Bradford West.  A “freshening” of CLPs and activists in a number of constituencies, possibly also in the Glasgow area as well:  nepotism and cronyism don’t probably have any ethnic distinction.

    • TomFairfax

       Hi Jaime,
      I would be pleasantly surprised if you were wrong about the post mortem.

    • There have been pretty appalling and moribund local parties in the past as well – in the past Liverpool seats were controlled by a similar Irish Catholic group who used to inform prospective members that they were ‘full up’!

      But I do think that there needs to be an reconsideration of some of the foreign policy stances we continue to hold

  • TomFairfax

    Go on. Someone name the local factors that don’t reflect badly on us.

    I have a colleague, just retired, not poor, but a Muslim. It’s difficult to convey his anger with the party that decided on the illegal war with Iraq. This is with someone, clearly middle class and well educated.

     GC was pushing at an unlocked door that wasn’t even on the latch, and it appears, with no one on the other side even trying to stop him opening it except by wishful thinking.

  • caronia

    Following on from a comment I made yesterday, I’ve just taken a quick look at the makeup up of the shadow cabinet on Wikipedia, and I was not in the least surprised to note that it is made up almost entirely of graduates. I have no problem with graduates,but where are the people who have worked at ‘real jobs’ in the shadow cabinet, men and women who might have spent some time earning a crust in the real world getting dirt under their fingernails and having to feel the cold wind of recession as so many ordinary Labour supporters have to to do.
    I’m sure many Labour voters  are put off by this ‘political elite’ who don’t seem to have any affinity with the lives of the majority of Labour supporters. 
    George Galloway has been quick to pick up on this,and it’s all very well for Ed Miliband to say he’ll ‘learn lessons’,maybe he should have been getting inside the heads of his supporters to find out about their hopes and dreams rather than depending on Westminster based focus groups or pulling publicity stunts in Gregg’s The Bakers.

  • Pingback: The Muslim Vote Should Not Be Underestimated | 1st Ethical Charitable Trust()


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