Labour Leader Announced, Do We Care?

by Beth Cherryman

The Labour leadership contest is finally over – and the trade unions have it.  As Ed Miliband screams at anyone who’ll pretend to listen: ‘I’m staying central’, I really feel it necessary to comment on what a non-event the entire contest has been.

For weeks I hardly heard a word from the candidates (and I thought Cameron’s campaign was poor).  I cannot blame the newspapers for their lack of interest, after all to find a more boring and cautious set of people would be a challenge.

There were no great speeches, no real surprises, and no new ideas.  I thought Diane Abbott might at least liven up the party, but instead she completely disappeared – was that her entry price?  Not that Ms Abbott could be thought of as ‘diverse’, I mean she is a middle-aged Oxbridge graduate.

Indeed, the only subject the media thought necessary to discuss in any real detail was the brothers Miliband.  That’s a statement in itself.

But I suppose it was a forgone conclusion the Labour party leader would be an Oxford educated forty something man – who needs a government that can actually identify with the plight of the individual?  We’re the big society after all.

Although I find it somewhat ironic that the trade unions voted for such a cliché.  I suppose they viewed him as the lesser of the two evils, but surely they do not believe they’ll be granted with any genuine influence over policy.  He’s not exactly a Jimmy Reid by any stretch of the imagination.

What happened to the many voices of democracy?  Perhaps democracy only constitutes many and competing voices by definition, and not so much in reality.  (That would imply simply that no civilisation ever got to be a democracy).  After all, the UK, considered a highly developed country, is currently governed by a set of policies no one actually voted for.

I wonder what the point of having a party system is if each party does not stick to its defining convictions.  Or indeed what the point of having politicians is if they are not moral crusaders, working tirelessly for the good of the country and every citizen.

Most importantly, I wonder what voting in another showboat of a party leader and says about our society.  Is it really the case that we do not truly care who’s in government so long as the country doesn’t implode?  Do we really no longer have a value-system, individual or communal, we feel necessary to defend and advocate?

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