Peter Hoskin

Miliband stamps out an English battleground

Miliband stamps out an English battleground
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Well, CoffeeHousers, I've read David Miliband's article for the latest New Statesman so that you don't have to.  And let me tell you: it's classic Miliband the Elder.  Sure, the central theme - how Labour can reconnect in the English heartlands - is perceptive enough, and it runs through a few home truths which Miliband's opponents have avoided thus far.  But what could have been a passionate rallying cry ends up reading a little cool and dreary. I mean, "Labour needs a revived politics of Englishness rooted in a radical and democratic account of nationhood"?  Maybe so, but only the wonkiest of wonks will be nodding along enthusiastically.

Nevertheless, one passage did jump out at me.  When discussing what can be done to restore Labour's presence in England, Miliband says:

"An 'English Parliament' is not the answer. We must strengthen the civic pride and economic resilience of English towns and cities. This is how the sense of identity, belonging and place of the many Englands can be better embedded and expressed. Labour needs to work with the grain of local and institutional affiliations - from army regiments to hospitals, from fire services to local authorities."

* Including a tax cut for companies starting up in struggling areas, one of the most quietly radical proposals in the Budget.