Since joining the Labour Party in 2013, I have always stood behind Ed Miliband and his leadership; indeed, it was a good part of the reason I joined in the first place. It’s been a tiring time mainly consisting of getting annoyed at Dan Hodges columns and explaining to my parents why they were wrong every time they said ‘David would be better’. However, I believe Labour’s campaign going into this election has more than vindicated my support for Ed.
It would be easy to cry, ‘Ah! But Labour still aren’t on course for a majority. How can you say he’s a good leader?’ but those who say this are neglecting the circumstances in which Labour are fighting this election. We have lost one of our core areas to the SNP, lost votes to the Greens on the left and UKIP on the right. The economy is growing, unemployment is falling and we have large sections of the press absolutely hellbent on throwing whatever mud they can at Labour every day of the week. When you take all that into account alongside the fact that voters tend to swing back to the incumbent government in the weeks before Election Day, the fact that Labour still frequently polls ahead of the Tories is pretty impressive.
There are some who will look at this situation and argue that this proves that they are right about Ed. ‘He should more left-wing to stop voters going to the Greens!’, ‘How can a Labour leader lose Scotland!’, ‘Why can’t he address the concerns of ordinary people voting for UKIP?’ But these criticisms, although easy and tempting, ignore the fact that Miliband’s premiership has been underlined by a very careful balancing act, in which he has all too often been damned if he did and damned if he didn’t.
Yes Ed could be a bit more radical in his pledges and perhaps stop some seepage on the left, but Labourites know perfectly well that any such moves would come with cries of economic incompetence and ‘Red Ed’, from the Tories and Tory Press. Likewise, Labour’s attempt to brand itself as a party more concerned about immigration have, unfairly, led to loud accusations of racism from the left. In Scotland, Labour were faced with campaigning with Better Together and being hated as the ‘Westminster establishment’, or refusing to and being condemned by the ‘Westminster establishment’ as being unpatriotic and partisan.
Yet despite all this, under Miliband’s leadership Labour have managed to come up with a manifesto that paves the way for Britain to become a Social Democratic nation. The NHS will be bolstered, wages for the lowest-paid will rise, the assault on the welfare state will be halted and tax will be made fairer. While there is room for more radicalism I am a Fabian, and as such believe that it is only through gradual change that true progressive shifts can be achieved.
So there we have it. I was a Milifan long before it was cool, and will continue snapchatting pictures of ‘Ed Milibae’ to my ever-suffering friends. Don’t let anyone tell you that a comp-educated Jewish atheist born of an immigrant Marxist academic is part of ‘The old boys’ club’ and don’t let anyone tell you that a man who wants to make Britain work for the people in it hates our nation. Labour made the right choice in 2010, and if the country makes the right choice on May 7th, we will begin to see just how positive a choice it was.