Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The Miliband Problem

I'm going to call it 'The Miliband Problem' rather than 'The David Miliband Problem', because actually, I think it applies to them both.

I'm actually not a massive hater of either Miliband. All of the jeering and booing to one side, and deep down, I think you probably have two people here who are nice enough at the heart of it. Yes, we disagree about charging social tenants for spare bedrooms, and yes we disagree about whether a 10p tax rate is better than paying no tax at all, but when it comes down to it, the brothers (do you think the plural of Miliband is 'a Miliband'?) are not Mussolini.

So, Sam, what beef do you have with them? Well, it actually comes down to how I judge all politicians, and it also comes down to why I'm a Liberal Democrat. If a politician from any party truly cares about people, and will work until their dying breath to help people, then I won't stand in their way. Do Conservatives do things differently to Liberal Democrats? Yes, but ultimately, we all care with the same heart. We all try and do good.

David Miliband's resignation last week just consolidates for me what I think is wrong right now. It's all about perspective. If ever I was elected to Parliament (insert as many 'ROFLs' and 'LMAOs' here as possible) then I would be there for one reason - to be a voice for the people that I represent who are voiceless. My concern therefore about his resignation, is that the people of his constituency, who bid for housing every week in full knowledge that they won't get it, who wait for six weeks at a time for a mental health referral, the people of his constituency are left without a committed voice in Parliament. Of course, it'll only be a matter of about five weeks until their next Labour MP is elected, but it doesn't excuse the fact that their old MPs 'public service' tailored off pretty quickly as soon as he lost the Labour Leadership.

I'm not saying that I don't sympathise with his personal grievance. I do. It can't have been easy to lose to a brother who clearly is less able than you, and it can't have been easy to lose thanks to the interference of the Unions who show your party up to be some warped semblance of democracy. But, guess what, it isn't easy for the woman who works three part time jobs to try and feed her kids. The only difference is, she doesn't have another option.

What the whole thing boils down to, is the fact that politics should be a calling. The whole thing should not revolve around how many distant familial links you can find to tie yourself to South Shields, it should revolve around how much you can do for local people.

The Miliband Problem, for me, is the fact that our politics has been professionalised and has become a game. Are David and Ed really agitators for their own constituents, or are they just pawns in a wider party political powerplay? The fact that David could resign half way through his time as MP to go and work abroad suggests a real disconnect.

I work in a school, helping students with English. I care about my students, and I wouldn't resign halfway through a term and forget about them. When we reach a point where MPs feel the same way about their constituents, we might be close to making progress.

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