An Unnecessary Role

embracing false choices

Ed Miliband’s local government speech bears repeating

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No-one will vote for us if we cannot laugh ourselves sick at the unfortunate Ed Miliband robo-interview from late last week. It was awkward, weird and deeply unnerving to watch this otherwise intelligent man struggle to say anything about the major political issue of the week, and my heart breaks for the poor sod of a press officer who was in the room at the time. The only sane response is mirth, and Ed needs to brush the dirt off his shoulder and move on.

That said, it was particularly disappointing that it overshadowed a pretty good speech by Miliband to the LGA conference in Birmingham. This isn’t the easiest audience to pitch to, remember. While there was a good number of Labour councillors in town this year, there were far more Tories, complete with a smattering of Lib Dems and a significant number of senior officers and other local government types. Facing neither a partisan audience, nor one of ‘voters’, Miliband had the challenge of sending Labour councillors home happy whilst saying something significant about local government to his wider audience.

You can read his speech here. I think it’s successful, outlining the beginnings of a local government policy for Labour that both promotes a more healthy relationship between the centre and local councils and emphasises the importance of democratic local leadership. Caroline Flint is one of the quiet stars of the shadow Cabinet, mastering her brief whilst still being able to talk about it in plain English, and managing a complex relationship with the diverse Labour local government family. If these Doncaster consituency neighbours can work together in the coming years I am tentatively optimistic that Labour might have something real to say about local democracy at the next election.

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Written by samelliot

July 5, 2011 at 9:00 am

Posted in Labour, Localism

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