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Miliband is not yet the man to build the ‘good society’

7 January 2011

1:45 PM

7 January 2011

1:45 PM

Neal Lawson¹s Comment is Free blog-post/essay/manifesto on the ‘good society‘ is causing a flurry of interest in Labour circles. The head of Labour leftish pressure group
Compass has been banging on about this for four years now. Borrowed ultimately from Aristotle, this re-heated utopianism is a tempting route for post-socialists tired of the compromises of the
Blair years.

Neal Lawson is a passionate man, who can claim with some justification to have been developing Labour¹s version of the ‘big society’ for some time.

Here is Neal at his emotional, tub-thumping best:

‘To take back some semblance of control, we can’t start from a position of trying to humanise a turbo-consumer society whose every premise, process and principle is about not being human.
What place can there be for people if what matters most is profit? What hope is there for compassion in a world of endless competition? When the rewards of those at the top crush every hope
beneath them, and the ruthless logic of the market tramples all over our planet, how can we hope to find any meaningful sense of control and therefore freedom in our lives?’

As Neal points out, Ed Miliband has started talking about the ‘good society’ too. Indeed, this is the nearest the Labour leader has come so far to a big idea. But therein lies Labour¹s

This should be inspiring. But why is that when I see the headline on the Guardian piece: ‘Ed Miliband can help us believe in a better world again,’ I find it hard not stifle a snigger.

I have always applauded Neal Lawson¹s attempts to move the debate in the Labour Party back towards questions of principle. But Ed Miliband has yet to prove he is the man to lead that drive.

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