Frank Field, a working class Tory if ever there was one, is reported as saying it is ‘difficult to overestimate how significant today’s speech is.’ In reality Ed Miliband’s lecture on social responsibility this afternoon was as unremarkable as one might have expected.
He said his party will ‘listen’ to the people. Oh dear, not again. It was the New Labour government of which he was a part (lest we forget) that started this whole participatory, localising, ’empowering’ rhetoric. How much longer do we have to listen to this mantra? How about, Mr Miliband, actually having something to say. Something that might save us from the monster that the Big Society is becoming.
With Cameron’s compassionate/cutting Tories running the show (more or less) there is no let up from this meaningless drivel. I almost wish for the return of the ‘no such thing as society’ Tories. At least they stirred things up a bit. Far from making the case for social responsibility Miliband only confirms once more that the political class like nothing more than to delegate their responsibility to govern, to come up with policy ideas, etc etc.
The very notion of taking responsibility assumes that people are capable of autonomously doing as they will. That they don’t need nudging in this and that direction away from benefits and anti-social behaviour, or towards jobs and the good/Big Society. There is little between their … well, we can hardly call them visions can we? Except, claims Miliband, New-New Labour aren’t like the stick-wielding Tories, they’ll just dangle carrots in front of us irresponsible plebs. Oh, thanks.