At last the crisis of British democracy is addressed by a party leader: ED MILIBAND

Champion of democracy: Ed Miliband told the country he wants Parliament to provide what the people want, signalling a return to the principles of democratic government that have been abandoned by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Champion of democracy: Ed Miliband told the country he wants Parliament to provide what the people want, signalling that Labour plans to return to the principles of democratic government that have been abandoned by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Hopefully the naysayers among Vox Political‘s readership will have a little more respect for Mr Miliband after today.

He is the first – and so far, the only – leader of a mainstream British political party to have correctly identified the biggest problem facing our democracy at this time:

The fact that people aren’t bothering to vote.

Here’s what he said, in his response to the Queen’s Speech:

“The custom of these debates is to address our opponents across the despatch box in this House, but today on its own that would be inadequate to the challenge we face.

“There is an even bigger opponent to address in this Queen’s Speech debate – the belief among many members of the public that this House cannot achieve anything at all. Any party in it.

“About 10 per cent of people entitled to vote, voted for UKIP in the recent elections. But – as significant – over 60 per cent did not vote at all.

“And whatever side we sit on, we will all have heard it on the doorstep: ‘You’re all the same, you’re in it for yourself, it doesn’t matter who I vote for.’

“Of course, that’s not new, but there is a depth and a scale of disenchantment which we ignore at our peril – disenchantment that goes beyond one party, beyond one government.

There is no bigger issue for our country and our democracy.

“So, the test for this legislative programme, the last before the general election, is to show that it responds – to the scale of the discontent and the need for answers.

“In this election, we heard concerns about the way the EU works and the need for reform. We heard deep-rooted concerns about immigration and the need to make changes. But I believe there is an even deeper reason for this discontent.

“Fundamentally, too many people in our country feel Britain doesn’t work for them and hasn’t done so for a long time:

“In the jobs they do and whether their hard work is rewarded.

“In the prospects for their children and whether they will lead a better life than their parents, including whether they will be able to afford a home of their own.

“And in the pressures communities face.

“Above all, whether the work and effort people put in is reflected in them sharing fairly in the wealth of this country.

“The Governor of the Bank of England gave a remarkable speech last week saying inequality was now one of the biggest challenges in our country. We should all be judged on how we respond to this question, right as well as left.

“There are measures we support in this Queen’s Speech including tackling modern slavery, an Ombudsman for our Armed Forces and recall.

“But the big question for this Queen’s Speech is whether it just offers more of the same or whether it offers a new direction, so we can genuinely say it works for all and not just a few at the top.”

Yes – exactly. Yes!

Within the last couple of days, I was saying on the Vox Facebook page that Labour needs to recognise the threat posed by UKIP in the context of disenchantment with democracy: With so few people voting, the door is thrown open to loony extremist right-wing parties.

The only solution is for the mainstream parties to ensure they know exactly what the people will support and offer the electorate what we want, rather than what they want to push on us.

With this speech, Mr Miliband has made it clear that he gets it, and that he is listening.

As the only leader who does – and is – this should put him well ahead by next May.

All he has to do is deliver what he has promised.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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59 thoughts on “At last the crisis of British democracy is addressed by a party leader: ED MILIBAND

  1. uppitymonkey

    I doubt it will be as low in the general election, but I don’t see how any future government could be respected with such low turn outs.
    Apathy is the real threat to us.

  2. kittysjones

    Reblogged this on kittysjones and commented:
    I have always maintained that Ed Miliband is a thoroughly decent Leader, with integrity, and that labour are the only truly democratic mainstream party. They consult with the public,and I know from my own lobbying experiences that Labour respond reflectively and positively to campaigning.

  3. marje

    ed milliband is correct in saying this . it is exactly how we all feel that we have lost our democracy and governments only make rules and legislation which betters them – for instance – they all have shares in private health clinics and they also have shares in the fracking business. its all for there own benefit and sod the rest of us. we are just peasants to them.

  4. Ratty

    Oh good, he gets it. But will he get what to do about it? Or will he continue with nu-Tory.

  5. Methusalada

    Real change is not made by words alone ,I want to see some real action put in to place by this young Ed Miliband not promises or party manifesto’s .The UK & Wales has 60% of it’s people totally disenchanted by false politics & phoney politicians ruled by non elected financial backers. When I see him purging the money gamblers from his own party along with their paid for lackey MP’s & MEP’s. I shall then know this boy has grown up and means business. The real business of humanity for 99% of the people of the UK & Wales.

    1. Ulysses

      Here here…
      It was new Labour that destroyed my faith in politics, and this lot buried it 6 feet under, let’s see if we get any action to match the words, finally after 30 years of this Neoliberalists liars paradise

    1. Mike Sivier

      Why are you trying to convince my readers that Labour and the Greens believe in Tory-style austerity and ‘welfare reform’ when that isn’t true?

      Also I have edited your comment severely, yet again. The comment column is for comments about the article – it’s not for you to write a self-promoting article for yourself.

  6. dezz101

    Pretty biased article here Vox. It’s not as though we haven’t heard the same stuff before. I’m tired of hearing our grievances parroted back at a camera to win political points and change NOTHING. Democracy is failing us because it has been twisted and warped into a shape that no longer fits the definition. In fairness it never really has in practice but as we’ve raised the standards we’ve drawn the cracks in the system into sharper focus. The electorate feel disconnected from the process because they are. The technology exists now for us to make our views known on this global platform so why is representative democracy even necessary any more?

  7. ben

    the only leader. oh, apart from caroline lucas from that nonexistent green party. a party whose policies are still light years ahead of labour’s, unfortunately. or whose policies would be if they only existed.

  8. Ian

    Does he get it? I don’t think so. He’s just like the rest. What he’s done with this response is simply tell people what he knows they want to hear so as to get votes. The fact Labour has stated they will not roll back the austerity cuts shows they are no different.

  9. Bryn miller

    He hasn’t listened to a great many people who want a referendum on the EU. All parties should grant the people this. Let’s have one and get it over with one way or the other. Then we can all move on.

    1. Mike Sivier

      How much does the general public really know about the workings of the EU and the UK’s place in it? Not a lot, I reckon. So how are we supposed to make an educated decision?

      1. Ulysses

        Then surely it’s the politicians job-politicians of all flavours, to educate us…
        I know enough to know that leaving the EU would be a disaster for the remains of the UK economy

  10. Mitch Mitchell

    It is one speech, He would need to do a lot more than that. Like go back to real Labour values. Take up the torch for the working man again. Start working for Britain instead of the US, Give up the neocon and take back up with the unions. And that is just the start. This country needs to go forward into the future without the US and it’s disastrous empire building and warmongering policies. Put Blair in the dock for war crimes and undo the last 10 years or more of mess ups and then we might have a chance at having a start point. IMHO.

    1. Mike Sivier

      I’ve said that Miliband needs to follow through on the promise that his speech offers, so am I to take it that you agree with me and that this is a step in the right direction?

      1. Ulysses

        Absolutely, but it’s also our position to make sure the Labour party understand that we believe the Liam Byrne types have no place within it, and we will not tolerate let alone vote for a party containing such Tory lite infiltrators

  11. Guy Ropes

    It’s remarkable that as soon as a voter changes his vote to UKIP they are branded as loonies. Even past never-to-return Labour voters. Cameron made the same mistake; nut cases, fruit cakes and closet racists. He’s had to change his tune because “they” have in the past voted Tory or Labour (possibly Lib Dem). The only reason that Miliband has responded in the way he has, is that he can appreciate that he has to sound as if he’s going to do something different. Maybe Cameron will do something different. If any of these snake oil salesman were the real deal, they would have addressed the following: ‘re-call provisions’. This – it’s obvious – is a decision that will be made to work by Parliamentarians for Parliamentarians. The people will not get a look in. If proof were required, one only had to listen to the female Tory spokeswoman trying to defend it on Radio 4. It is not democratic. Slavery? There is enough legislation on the books to deal with this – that’s why people are already being prosecuted for such behaviour. This is snake oil large. The suggestion that this is a zombie Parliament is correct. There is plenty of legislation waiting to be concluded and which could have been dealt with in the “free week” that MPs granted themselves prior to the break. Source? Watch the Lords debates shortly before the House rose. Spit at me when I’m wrong – naff all worthwhile will happen in Parliament before the next election which is included in this list of nothingness – except perhaps the plastic bag bit. Will they leave enough bags so that we can each put one over our heads before we’re asked to indulge in ‘the democratic process’ once again?

    1. Mike Sivier

      You agree with Miliband and Labour on the Coalition government’s legislative programme – it was Miliband who called it a “zombie Parliament” – yet you lump him in with the “snake oil salesmen”. Why?
      For my money, the worst purveyor of snake oil this country has seen recently – at least in politics – is Nigel Farage.

  12. Barry Davies

    The trouble with people not voting is that it opens the door to the looney left wing. The reason people are disconnected is that all our laws are being made by an unelected committee in Brussells, along with the echr, and the other european courts, and our votes count for nothing.

    1. Mike Sivier

      I know there’s no point trying to reason with you, Barry, so I’ll leave your comment for others to marvel at.
      (“ALL our laws are being made by an UNELECTED committee(?) in Brussels”? All? Unelected? So the UK didn’t just elect 20-odd Kippers into that Brussels committee? Mad as a snake…)

  13. Thomas M

    I’m sure a safe way of Internet voting or even phone voting could be made, but it suits this government to stop most of the young from voting.

  14. cattunes

    The crisis in British democracy is the narrow differential between the parties. It’s all classic neo liberal outlooks packaged to appear somewhat different to each other. Until we have a genuinely broad political choice people will not be motivated to vote.

    1. Mike Sivier

      That is what we should hope Mr Miliband is going to address. The best way to do that is to talk about it everywhere. I hope people are writing letters to the local press about this; I want to hear them on radio phone-ins.
      Are you going to take part in this?

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  16. Mike Sivier

    [A comment by elentari98 has been trashed due to religious/racial prejudice and factual inaccuracy. Not only is this sort of comment likely to stir up hatred contrary to the Public Order Act 1986, but it is also likely to lead to legal action for libel. May I remind everyone to keep their comments accurate; if you’re going to make wild accusations, support them with evidence.]

  17. Guy Ropes

    Zak Goldsmith has courage. He has exposed the ‘recall’ provisions for what they are. He has spoken out against his party’s shenanigans. Is it just that the MSM only repeat Tory pronouncements – or has no-one in Labour or the Lib Dems seen fit to publicly challenge this snake-oil charter? I couldn’t give a carrot who exposes the rottenness of Parliament or what party they’re from. If they’re transparent they get my support. Mr Goldsmith also supported the move to investigate past allegations of sex offences against children. It seems that a pattern is emerging regards his behaviour. (I applaud it). Yes, and Tom Watson too can also be applauded. Does Miliband support the brave 7 in their endeavours? I think he should tell us. I’ve seen no such unequivocal support mentioned in the MSM. If I’m wrong, I apologise.

    1. Mike Sivier

      I agree with your comments about Zac Goldsmith – in fact I’ve already praised him for his principled position.
      You should not be so quick to question Labour and Ed Miliband’s position on some of the planned legislation; they may support the principle of recall while hoping to change the detail.
      The overall impression I get from your comment is that you are trying to nitpick in order to raise suspicion about Labour in a time when that party’s popularity could be on the rise again.

  18. Guy Ropes

    Mike, I think that as some of your subscribers have already commented, no one should believe any politicians promises until they deliver. The Queen’s speech yesterday was not ‘a new chapter’ so to speak. Labour – as the only current Westminster opposition – could, quite frankly, have had a field day at the coalition’s expense in the last 4 years (whoever was leading). I see no evidence of that – in fact their inaction could almost be considered as collusion. They have largely sat on their hands – and I appreciate that they may not get the best ride from the MSM.

    1. Mike Sivier

      The problem with your premise is that, if nobody believes a politician’s promises, then that politician will never get the chance to deliver on them – they simply wouldn’t get the support.
      So that idea is nonsense.
      Again you spout the myth that Labour has been sitting on its hands for the last four years. If you have any sense about you at all, you will know that isn’t true. You say you appreciate that Labour has been ill-treated by the mainstream media but you appear to have been brainwashed all the same, by Tory lackeys like the BBC.

  19. eddie

    ‘… yet you lump him in with the “snake oil salesmen”. Why?”

    Because he’s still for austerity, and punishing the poor for the crimes of the rich, but with a smile rather than a sneer on your face is still the same. Austerity is snake oil, and the fraudulent case for it has been thoroughly exposed
    Unless milliband is going to end it and replace it with keynesian stimulus, paid for by properly redistributive taxation, then he’s a tory.

      1. eddie

        Sounds a bit good. So far I’ve rear up to #31 on tuition fees and this seems a good place to point out the problem with labour policy proposals here.
        The response to introducing tuition fees should not be simply to pledge a slight reduction. The policy should be to not only eliminate them entirely, but to compensate those who who’ve paid them up to now, fully and with interest, wnd to put in place measures to punish those who in future seek to reintroduce them.
        Its the same with the top rate if income tax. Not good enough to just return them to the already too low 50% figure. Should be closer to 70% with special measures to recoup the lost revenue from it being too low.
        With the closing loopholes? Similarly it’s bolting the stable door eith no effort to get the horse back.

      2. Mike Sivier

        While I don’t disagree with you, I do think this is better than anything that’s out there, and with Ed Miliband admitting he’s willing to listen to the public, there’s no reason not to make your thoughts public – not only in blogs like this, but on Labour’s ‘Your Britain’ website or even in direct correspondence with the Labour leader.
        Why not?

  20. eddie

    Oh, and the very careful wording on the one about NHS ‘reforms’ is worth notem They will reverse some measures the tories put in place to accelerate the privatisation of the NHS. There are, of course, no plans to reverse the privatisation of the NHS by repealing what was done by new labour under bliar. It’s nowhere near good enough.

  21. beastrabban

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    Milliband recognises that current voter apathy and the perceived lack of difference between the parties Is putting people off voting, as they see no point in it. I suspect Cameron also knows this. Hence his loud backing for recent attempts to encourage kids to develop a greater interest in politics. But in Cameron’s case, it’s very definitely half-hearted. He has blocked proposals to make voting easier and more accessible by stating that voting is too important not to make people make the effort of physically getting out and going to a voting booth. And the proposed Tory/ Tory Democrat reforms of the registration process will likely leave even more people not registered to vote. So Cameron makes noises about countering voter apathy, but in reality doesn’t want wider participation in politics. Which is what you’d expect from the party of the aristocratic elite.

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  23. Stephen Eblet

    This is hilarious. It was 13 years of labour that eroded democracy in this country. Ever increasing surveillance and monitoring of the people came with labour and the Torys have simply continued the trend. Polititians don’t govern for the people any more, they order us around constantly and tell us what is best, even down to the food wew eat now. I actually like Ed Milliband. He’s a nice guy. I’d like him as my next door neighbour, but it won’t be Ed who leads anyway. It will be the party spin doctors and the hangers on around him. Democracy in the UK is dead and I haven’t got a clue what can restore it amongst the apathy of the people here.

    1. Mike Sivier

      It’s a point of view, I suppose.
      I disagree – the surveillance society was brought in by the last full Conservative government.

      For example, in his introduction to a serialisation of ‘V for Vendetta’ in 1988, creator Alan Moore pointed out that riot police vans “have rotating video cameras mounted on top”. Allow me to reiterate that he was writing in 1988.

      Your comment about spin doctors running the Labour Party – as with so many assertions made by anti-Labour commenters here – is not supported by evidence.

      Bring it; we’ll look at it and decide for ourselves.

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