LABOUR IS LOSING BRITAIN; in a Hugely Significant Intervention, the Labour Peer Who Was Ed Miliband's Closest Mentor Issues a Grim Verdict on His Party's Election Meltdown

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), May 25, 2014 | Go to article overview

LABOUR IS LOSING BRITAIN; in a Hugely Significant Intervention, the Labour Peer Who Was Ed Miliband's Closest Mentor Issues a Grim Verdict on His Party's Election Meltdown


Byline: LORD GLASMAN

TONIGHT'S European election results will leave no doubt as to the temper of the people of Britain.

Nigel Farage has benefited from a huge surge in support from the angry and disaffected, which has shaken the underpinnings of the three-party system. This is difficult for me to accept.

However, UKIP has done us all a service in one key respect: it has forced the elites to confront the flaws in our democracy.

The EU has expanded and grown and people need to be given a choice.

There are many things still to cherish - in this cynical age we frequently can't see the miracles in front of our eyes.

We should value our special inheritance of democracy and liberty that are the birthright of all who are born in the UK.

We are a great self-governing nation and a beacon to the world.

We have managed to keep a monarchy but limited the power of the king.

We have a national church but are tolerant of all faiths.

We are an open nation which has preserved our traditions.

We are Britain and not Russia.

And, as a staunch Labour supporter, I would include my party as one of those things to cherish.

But - and it pains me to say this - I have come to the conclusion that Labour is in danger of losing the battle. Let me explain.

ALL my relatives left behind in Russia, Poland, Romania and the Ukraine were killed by the Nazis. But Britain saved our lives and gave us life. It gave us more. It gave us the freedom to follow our religion and a democracy where we could build a common life with others. It opened its doors to our work and dreams. My mum left school at 13 and went to work in a factory. All four of her children went to state schools and university.

I was drawn towards the Labour Movement, which was created in reaction to the fact that the country was run by the rich who kicked people off their land and let them languish in terrible conditions in the new cities.

The working people of England, Scotland and Wales did not pursue bloodshed, revolution and hate but came together so they could house each other and feed each other.

The Labour Movement healed the rupture between immigrants and locals, Catholic and Protestant, religious and secular in all our cities and built a movement that was shared between them. That was unusual too.

Above all, it asked that the voice and interests of working people be heard, that they were also part of the nation and should have a seat at the top table.

Working people wanted to be recognised as an essential part of the nation, and not simply the plaything of their bosses and their rulers. Labour pursued this for 100 years with a gentle stubborn persistence.

But - and it is a big but - the cohesive world which the movement helped to create has now fallen apart.

People are isolated and lonely, and feel both dispossessed of their inheritance and abandoned by their rulers. It is no surprise, therefore, that so many core Labour voters - people who work and are members of a real village, not the global one, who love their country and their family - feel abandoned and neglected by the party that was established by their forebears.

That is why it is not just the Conservatives who are bleeding support to UKIP. The votes for Mr Farage, both in English and Welsh council elections and the European elections, should serve as a sombre reminder to my party's leadership that the people of Britain have not lost their desire to govern themselves - and still feel the basic urge to turn their individual fate into a shared destiny through our historic democracy. …

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LABOUR IS LOSING BRITAIN; in a Hugely Significant Intervention, the Labour Peer Who Was Ed Miliband's Closest Mentor Issues a Grim Verdict on His Party's Election Meltdown
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