Speech for David Miliband event

The Dear Leader has requested that his speech from David Miliband’s launch for the Living Wage Campaign at the University of Birmingham from the 28th October be published:

Hello and welcome to Birmingham University Labour Students launch of the Living Wage Campaign with David Miliband. I’m Daniel and I’m Chair of Birmingham University Labour Students.

Many of us in this room are members of National Labour Students, and I hope many others are soon to become members. I believe that National Labour Students are a really important wing of the Labour Party; in mobilising for Labour at elections, hosting national events and workshops, but most importantly National Labour Students proud history of campaigning, against the extortionate rise in tuition fees, in the liberation campaigns, fighting for the rights of women, disabled students, LGBT students and BAME students, rights that other students may take for granted. And now in the Living Wage Campaign, taking place on campuses across the country in Kent, Cambridge, Leeds and Leicester, and today starting here in Birmingham.

The Living Wage is the minimum hourly rate someone has to earn to afford everyday basics like housing, food, childcare. A wage as the name suggests, that you can live on, not merely exist.

In London the current rate is £8.30 an hour. In Birmingham the current rate is £7.20.  £7.20 is a target that is not only morally right, but financially achievable.

I am proud to be a member of a party who when in office introduced the National Minimum Wage. This was a huge step. The Tories said it was economically unsound. It wasn’t. The Tories said it would cost jobs. It didn’t. The same arguments are made against the Living Wage.

It is great to see in the room…

Now, I know David doesn’t need much of an introduction. David was elected to Parliament for South Shields in 2001, and in 2006 was Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs where he oversaw the Climate Change Bill, before becoming the Foreign Secretary in 2007. But more important than that, Political Top Trumps gives him a ‘fanciability’ of 84.

Boys and Girls, David Miliband.

Old news

Right this had to be cleared up. As you probably know the Telegraph recently published leaked documents on Ed Balls’ role in the Gordon Brown’s camps attempt to oust Blair. It seems from the documents that Balls was a primary agitator in the attempts to demand a leaving date from Blair and presenting Brown as a Prime Minister in waiting……..well is any of this new? Of course not! Will it effect his ability to do his job as Shadow Chancellor? Again, of course not! Will it mean Balls will follow a similar path to his former master, Brown and attempt to oust Ed Miliband? Of course not as unlike Blair and Brown, Balls and Miliband actually ran against each other in the leadership election which was conclusively resolved (if you exclude disgruntled sore-loser supporters of David Miliband). And frankly, Labour is far beyond the petty squabbles of the Blair-Brown and is a largely united force unlike after losing power in the 1950s and 1980s. So all of this is totally irrelevant, we have moved on.

There’s also accusations that Balls alongside Brown ignored warnings and continued spending increases well above inflation and so further created a deficit before the crash of 2008. Come off it! These claims were directed around the year of 2006….when Balls was merely a back-bench MP. Of course you have to remember this is coming from the Telegraph and these claims have jumped on by particularly Michael Gove. This is all very well, but Gove fails to mention that Gideon was committed rigorously to Labour’s spending plans up until the 2008 crash and that on the eve of the 2008 crash Brown had a lower deficit than he had inherited back in 1997 as Chancellor.


A congratulations is in order

Justine and Ed Miliband

Now sorry for the lack of blogging lately, we have all been massively pre-occupied with exams and the like. I myself will commence normal blogging levels after the 3rd June or so.

But anyway, I’m sure everyone in BULS and the wider political spectrum wishes Ed and Justine the very best in their marriage and wish that they have a long and happy life together.


Labour now has the Balls

Chris Riddell 23 January 2011

Now, I’m not going to focus on Alan Johnson, Suzy has already dealt with that, but I just like to say he’ll be surely missed from the front-line politics.

Anyway, we move onto Johnson’s successor, Ed Balls. Now to many Tories, they will regard this as a late Christmas present. The well oiled Tory party machine has already been making well-directed attacks towards Gordon Brown’s former chief economic’s adviser and playing at his past which was so intertwined with the Blair-Brown feud. Yes, Balls was a major figure during the feuds, but as a wise Baboon once said “Oh yes, de past can hurt. But the way I see it you can either run from it, or learn from it.” (the wise Baboon being Rafiki from the Lion King……..BULS draws wisdom from many walks of life). Yes, Balls’ part in the feud was far from his finest hour and many of the economic policies did contribute to the financial crisis (will come back to the latter part later). But, this is a time for Balls in particular to shape his own image and reputation. As Shadow Chancellor, with his deep knowledge of economics, he will be able to establish at least a broad thinking idea of Labour’s alternative and most likely rip Gideon to shreds in the process (I particularly like the idea of the latter).

With growth beginning to slow, inflation and unemployment rising, there has been no better time to be an “attack dog”. But the Tory-led Coalition is quick point out the failures of economic policy Labour made. We did make great progress under ‘New’ Labour, but we also made grave mistakes. But, to counter the Tory-party machine, we do need strong responses in order as well as humility about our record. When Cameron (or indeed anyone) criticises Labour failing to regulate the banks, quote back Gideon and Cameron’s years of calling for further de-regulation. And when Cameron claims Labour’s spending caused the deficit, don’t forget to remind them that Conservative spending policies before the 2008 crash would have rigidly stuck to Labour’s. The Tory-lead Coalition’s deceit cannot last forever and hopefully, Ed Balls can dispel the rhetoric as soon as.


The People’s Ed

I’m sat in the main auditorium at this year’s Labour Conference at Manchester Central waiting for Ed Miliband to come out and do his first question and answer session as leader of the Labour party. I look around me and it’s not the sight I expected to see. Coming to conference as a new member, I guess I didn’t know really what to expect, in truth, but I got the impression that it wasn’t the place for ordinary members to come to: everyone is in suits! And there was certainly nobody I could see below the age of 25 – quite odd considering I’d been invited by Young Labour as a new member to come along and meet Ed Miliband at some point during the day.

I ignored this feeling and shortly Ed made his way onto the stage with comedian, actor, mad man (for running 43 marathons in 50 days) Eddie Izzard! Now I’d found out were all the young members are, they were all on stage sat behind Ed and Ed. And this turned out to be the theme of the session. It was about grassroots labour for Mili E.

I’m aware that there has been some criticism of Ed in last month or so (and not just from the usual right-wing press may I say!) focused on his lack of voice and of a true alternative to the coalitions devastating cuts. At conference, however, I could tell he knew what he was doing. He understands the task in hand and has a rough idea of how to succeed in it. What he might be lacking is the specific ideas.

And this isn’t a bad thing. I’ll tell you why…

After the Q&A, Ed came along to a room to the side of the hall where 100 new young members had gathered. Also there was the general secretary, Ray Collins. After a short speech by Ed, he dug straight in and wanted to hear our opinions. That simple. He wanted us to highlight the issues young members have. A lot was discussed and as each idea was discussed it felt like real progress was happening right there.

We need a leader that listens. We need a party that listens. Because I think listening became the main factor in the election defeat. Gordon just wasn’t able to listen. If your government doesn’t listen then you aren’t going to vote for them again. Nick and Dave fooled people by saying that they were going to listen to them. People bought it. But now it appears they lied about this (shock much?).

We need members that can shape this party and determine which way it goes. If everything goes to plan, we will win the next general election. It won’t just be Ed that wins the next general election, it will be the unity of the members.

We need to join together and throw out the ‘new labour’ arguments. Every one of us has a slightly different view on past affairs and even current ones. We are never going to agree on everything but let’s agree on the values we share: the ones that protect every member of society; the ones that insure fairness! Because that’s why I joined the party in May.

I don’t think this branding of ‘Red Ed’ is going to stick. I’m personally hoping he’s going to become ‘The People’s Ed’. The leader that actually listens. And I think that’s all we need him to be. Because we can do the rest…

And if it does all start at grassroots level, then it all starts at BULS as well!

I know I’m ready for the fight, are you?

Oliver Cosentino, BULS Member


In defence of Harriet Harman

Harriet Harman

“OH SHUT UP!!” are the words I shouted at my laptop screen upon seeing this article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11719438. No, not at Harriet Harman, but at the ludicrously stupid Labour MPs, calling on her to resign after the events of former MP and Minister, Woolas’ expulsion from the Commons.

Harman disowned Woolas for an extremely good reason, he lied, not only that but knowingly, directly to his own constituents whose votes he was trying to win over. If we are trying to represent the true “new” politics, it’s vital that we do not tolerate the “old” and all the negativity and petty points scoring that came with it. Woolas’ decision was his own and yes the Tories may have lied and exaggerated themselves (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11614602), but as the old saying goes, two wrongs don’t make a right. We certainly do not have to stoop to their level.


The first of many to come…

Ed Miliband at his debut PM's questions

When David Cameron (DC) and Nick Clegg (Cleggy) first had their first press conference in the No. 10 garden last May, they urged the reporters there and the wider public that this is the new politics, “co-operation in the national interest.” which no one can deny is not a good thing. But, a new politics that breaks with the past is a politics that leaves behind the petty point scoring and squabbling of the House of Commons that has plagued most notably PMQs since the late 1960s and particularly since the 1980s.

This is something DC failed to demonstrate today in (Ed Miliband’s very first) PMQs as the Coalition’s new politics often very much looked, sounded and seemed like the old. After five years of complaining that his predecessors did NOT answer the vast majority of his questions, DC seemed very unable to answer Ed Miliband’s questions on Child Benefit. What seemed to happen in the end was DC questioning Miliband on his own policies to which quite rightly he didn’t answer to (to simple fact that this is Prime Ministers Questions) instead brilliantly replying “I may be new to this game, but if I remember rightly it’s my job to ask the questions.”.

Ed Miliband was at least trying to break this mould, let’s only hope the Coalition follows suit.