Milibandism “can no longer be indulged”, says shadow minister

Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband left behind a legacy of “avoidable self-immolation”, with consequences that go beyond a single “catastrophic election defeat”, and ideas that “can no longer be indulged”, according to Labour MP Jamie Reed. In a scathing article for today’s Independent on Sunday, the shadow health minister says the former leader must take his share of the responsibility for the doldrums the party now finds itself in.

Reed, a Burnham supporter, says the wholesale rejection of New Labour was a central principle of Miliband’s, but that it meant having to distance the party from its achievements in power. He says this came from Miliband’s “legitimate” desire to shape Labour in his own image:

“Inexplicably, this led Ed to define the Labour Party that he led in contrast and opposition to the most successful Labour government ever. This approach wasn’t cosmetic, tactical or even strategic. It was one of profound principle: that New Labour and, by definition, its achievements should be jettisoned. An unwise move in its own terms, but when placed in the context of the electoral and political realities of the time, this appears idiotic at best, suicidal at worst.”

The Copeland MP writes that “the consequences persist beyond our catastrophic election defeat.” He contrasts the failure of Labour to convince the electorate on the party’s economic credibility to the fact that even Greece’s Government has compromised on the issue:

“At a time when even Syriza has accepted the suffocating economic realities of our time, Ed’s fabulism can no longer be indulged.”

It has led, Reed contends, to a party unable to come to terms with the scale and reasons for its defeat:

“This isn’t simply a refusal to compromise with the electorate; it’s a refusal to compromise with reality.”

Comparisons to Syriza may be appropriate. Reports suggest that Miliband believes Labour lost because they took a too moderate platform at a time when more radical populist leftism was on the rise across Europe. According to The Times on Friday, Miliband is not particularly self-critical in private, believing that ‘bigger forces than his own strategic, managerial or political failures were responsible for the defeat’. Sam Coates reported:

‘Mr Miliband told one acquaintance that he believes it was a symptom of the popularity of more left-wing movements in Europe, with voters more attracted to the likes of Syriza and Podemas, the Greek and Spanish far-left groups than to his party’s more tempered ideology.

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