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Ed Miliband desperately needs to change Labour image away from being a bunch of middle-class lawyers, barely different from the Conservatives, and back to being the party of the workers[Image: Reuters].

Ed Miliband desperately needs to change Labour image away from being a bunch of middle-class lawyers, barely different from the Conservatives, and back to being the party of the workers[Image: Reuters].

Ed Miliband is talking the talk, but can he walk the walk?

According to the BBC, he’s saying Labour is still the party of working people – but that’s a claim that many may find hard to believe after Emily Thornberry’s incriminatingly insensitive tweet and the revelation that his leadership is likely to ‘parachute’ its preferred candidates into the constituencies of MPs who decide to retire from Parliament in the run-up to the next election.

It seems there may even be a rumour that a senior member of Labour’s health team is about to defect to UKIP.

Here’s Miliband’s problem:

Emily Thornberry, also known as Lady Nugee, now-former shadow attorney general, born in north Surrey to a Visiting Professor of War Studies at King’s College London and a teacher. Barrister. Has spoken on the need for more affordable housing – but her husband, Sir Christopher Nugee QC, had bought ex-social housing stock for over half a million pounds and receives rental income from the property. She’s clearly the wife of a millionaire and her only contact with the working class is professional. What does she know about how working people live?

Let’s look at Labour’s health team:

Liz Kendall, shadow minister for care and older people, attended Watford Grammar School for Girls and Queens’ College, Cambridge. Has worked for two charities and a thinktank before becoming a SPAD (special advisor) to two cabinet ministers. What does she know about working people?

Luciana Berger, shadow minister for public health, educated at Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls, a private school in Elstree, Hertfordshire, the University of Birmingham, ICADE in Madrid and Birkbeck, University of London. Worked for management consultancy Accenture advising FTSE 100 companies including Barclays and BP, as well as the London Stock Exchange, Accenture’s Government Strategy Unit supporting government departments including the Treasury, and became Government and Parliamentary Manager for the National Health Service Confederation. Director of Labour Friends of Israel from 2007-2010. Labour was accused of ‘parachuting’ her in as a candidate for Liverpool Waverley in the 2010 elections. What does she know about working people?

And Labour is likely to ‘parachute’ even more “preferred” candidates into seats that become vacant between now and the election, it seems.

Will any of these “preferred” candidates have had a real job? Are there any ex-factory workers among them? Manual workers of any kind?

Dennis Skinner used to be a miner. His recent ousting from Labour’s National Executive Committee was met with outcry across the party.

Aneurin Bevan also used to be a miner. He went on to become the architect of the National Health Service that the Coalition government is busily breaking up and handing over to Conservative Party donor companies.

If Labour was really the party of working people, it would offer voters the chance to choose working people as their MPs. Instead we see an unending flow of lawyers, advisers and thinktank staffers who’ve never done an honest day’s work in their lives – while working people are sidelined.

That’s the dilemma facing Ed Miliband.

Where are the working people in the party of the workers?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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