If David Miliband Is The Answer, Its A Bloody Stupid Question
Mark Seddon is the former United Nations Correspondent and New York Bureau Chief for Al-Jazeera English TV. He reported from eighteen countries during that time, including North Korea, China, Haiti, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has interviewed, amongst others, Ban Ki-Moon, Lech Walesa, Tony Blair, Hans Blix, Michael Foot, Mia Farrow, and George Clooney. In a journalistic career spanning over twenty years, he has been Editor of Tribune and an elected member of the UK Labour Party's National Executive Committee. He has written for most British newspapers and many magazines, including The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Mail, The Times, The Spectator, New Statesman, Private Eye, British Journalism Review and Country Life Magazine. For a number of years he was a Diarist at the London Evening Standard, and has also reported for, amongst others, the BBC and Sky TV. He lives in Buckingham, England.
It says something about the rather dismal condition of both British politics and journalism, that this week there was an amount of liberal fluttering over a speech at the London School of Economics by former Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who was beaten by his brother for the Labour leadership. Here is Miliband’s thesis; it is that the European left is losing elections on an epic scale because it has lost control of the political argument to a much more adaptive European Right. So far, so good, although some of us were saying this much fifteen years ago. And so far so good, because the New Labour Governments, of which Mr Miliband was such an enthusiastic supporter, largely adopted what the ‘adaptive European Right’ was offering. This was called ‘triangulation’, and in Britain in particular was linked to the ‘Third Way’ nonsense peddled by amongst others, the disgraced Gadaffi enthusiast Anthony Giddens, from the same LSE. The rest of the European Left never quite went the neo con distance that Blair et al took the Labour Party, but with a few honourable exceptions, the political surrender to free market fundamentalism drove many of the social democratic parties to run up the white flag. Working class and middle class voters alike tend to support political parties that support their economic interests.
David Miliband has been applauded by sections of the liberal press – most notably Martin Kettle in The Guardian - essentially for acknowledging the bleeding obvious; that the parties of the European Left are losing three main groups of voters; working class voters in insecure jobs who are fearful of migrant labour; middle income voters, who are scared of losing their standard of living, and younger middle class graduates who are alienated by the compromises of power.
So what to do about it, now that David Miliband has acknowledged that actually voters didn’t particularly like formerly social democratic parties who had in essence sold out. Back to Martin Kettle again in The Guardian; “Miliband’s view is explicit; ‘Only a post New Labour brand of European social democracy, building on success, not a pre New Labour stance can address the weaknesses”.
Yep, you had better read that again. I had to read three or four time before the enormity of Miliband’s sheer vacuity became duly apparent. I kept on thinking that there must somehow be a catch. Surely, someone as brainy as David Miliband, can only have said this because behind it there must be some inner meaning? And how can Martin Kettle attach the epithet 'explicit to this butchery of philosophy and politics?
Sadly not. This it would seem is the rallying cry of the Blairites in exile. And here is David Miliband, Labour’s lost son across the waters in Tribune, and quoted from the same LSE speech; “Labour should fight elections as private sector reformers, in the name of efficiency and not just fairness”.
With such doggerel, the political class and the Westminster beltway press continue to flap and talk to each other in ever diminishing circles. Utterly irrelevant and thoroughly boring, what on earth makes them think that such nonsense will repair the Left or even flog a few more newspapers?
If David Miliband is the answer, it’s a bloody silly question.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
There's a growing understanding that drawing is much more than an art form: it's a powerful tool for learning.
- We often think of drawing as something that takes innate talent, but this kind of thinking stems from our misclassification of drawing as, primarily, an art form rather than a tool for learning.
- Researchers, teachers, and artists are starting to see how drawing can positively impact a wide variety of skills and disciplines.
- Drawing is not an innate gift; rather, it can be taught and developed. Doing so helps people to perceive the world more accurately, remember facts better, and understand their world from a new perspective.
It may be simpler than we thought.
- An analysis of a massive amount of data reveals four new personality types.
- The study is the first to take self-reporting out of the equation.
- The four new types are "average," "reserved," "self-centered," and "role model".
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.