- Wednesday, 18 July 2012
- Written by Terry McPartlan
Ed will be promoting a new plan. Here’s what today’s Labour Party press release says about it:
“The Labour Party is launching a new drive to get individuals with a background in business to seek selection as candidates including for Parliamentary and council seats, Ed Miliband will announce at the party’s Annual Business Reception tomorrow evening (Tuesday 17 July). More than five hundred representatives of the business world are due to attend the event, which is being held at the Chartered Accountants Hall of the ICAEW in the City of London. A special stream of the party’s Future Candidates Programme will be launched for applicants with business backgrounds. This will involve matching applicants with a mentor who is a senior Labour representative, for example an MP. This will complement the representatives of business already in Labour’s ranks in Parliament and elsewhere. Every member of Labour’s shadow Business, Innovation and Skills team in the House of Commons has worked in business or run their own firm. Potential applicants do not need to be Labour Party members to apply, but they should share Labour values and be willing to join if selected to take part in the programme.”
Strangely enough this proposal didn’t feature in the leader’s speech at the Miners Gala. Many Labour Party members and supporters will find it very difficult to see what values these worthies will bring to the Party. Certainly it is likely that they will be very different to the values of compassion, solidarity and social justice that Ed was telling us all about on Saturday.
It’s no surprise that the right wing of the Labour Party promote so called business values. That after all is the logic of Blairism which tried unsuccessfully to break the link between Labour and the organised working class. It would be very convenient for the bosses to have two big parties to rely on as in the USA. However that is not the case.
The problem for the Labour Leadership, however, is that Labour can’t be all things to all men. The crisis in the economy and the austerity is polarizing opinion. Without a socialist programme Labour will be caught between the twin grindstones of the capitalists and the working class. You only have to look at the role of PASOK in Greece to see where that process might end.
Rather than trying to recruit businessmen to be Labour MPs and Councillors, why wasn’t there a huge recruitment drive at Saturdays’s Gala attended by more than 100,000 workers and their families. Why not go to the workers districts of the big cities and towns and recruit the genuine working class fighters, the women on the estates who understand the real impact of the austerity on the old, the sick and the young and the men and women female shop stewards in the factories, schools and hospitals to the party? They represent the working people of Britain every day and armed with a socialist programme they can change the world.