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Ed Miliband's relationship with the far left

EdmilBy Harry Phibbs
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Ed Miliband expresses irritation at being given the label "Red Ed." The Labour leader can reasonably point out that he is not a Communist - he does not want to abolish capitalism or overthrow Parliamentary democracy.

However, while he is not on the far left himself, he does show signs of being exceptionally indulgent to those who are.

There is an abundance of evidence of Commmunist genocide, in its various manifestations over the past century. Considering this evidence, most reasonable people would conclude that Communism was not merely a mistake, but evil.

Mr Miliband is not  part of the faction that condones the mass murder that Communisim brought about. Nor does he deny it took place. Instead Mr Miliband disregards it.

Last year we had Mr Miliband paying tribute to the historian Eric Hobsbawm as a "lovely man." Mr Miliband pitched up, along with Jon Snow, to Mr Hobsbawm's memorial service with The Internationale ringing in his ears.

Interviewed in the Times Literary Supplement in 1994 by Michael Ignatieff, Mr Hobsbawm was asked:

"In 1934, millions of people are dying in the Soviet experiment. If you had known that, would it have made a difference to you at that time? To your commitment? To being a Communist?"

Hobsbawm replied:

"Probably not."

Last year Mr Miliband attended the Durham Miner Gala. The official Facebook page had a picture of a "scab" being hanged. The hosts, the Durham Miners Association are shareholders in the Communist newspaper the Morning Star.

Last year we also saw the refusal of Mr Miliiband to offer a word of criticism towards Ken Livingstone, Labour's candidate for Mayor of London, despite the repeated extremist utterances of Mr Livingstone. This was after the failure to remove Mr Livingstone as a Labour candidate despite him breaking Party rules.

Then last month we learned that Mr Miliband has hired Simon Fletcher as his trade union liaison manager. Mr Fletcher was involved in the far left group Socialist Action several of whom Mr Livingstone brought into City Hall on high salaries.

Why has Mr Miliband hired Mr Fletcher? The Labour blogger Rob Marchant says:

There are two possibilities here: the first is that Miliband recognises that there is a problem, but has simply decided not to try and fight the will of his union colleagues.

The far left’s strong presence in the smaller, non-affiliated unions such as PCS and UCU is well-known; but neither was Livingstone the only example of a powerful figure with an office run by one of its small cliques. Unite’s Len McCluskey employs a chief of staff, Andrew Murray, who is not only not Labour, but one of the few remaining members of the Communist Party of Britain.

The second possibility is that the Labour leadership is merely suffering from a breath-taking naiveté about the risk of embracing the likes of Socialist Action, and simply believes it is part of “Labour’s broad church”. It is not.

The far Left are not even being discreet about their mission to take over the Labour Party.

Len McCluskey, in his comments after the Ralph Miliband lecture at the LSE during the Q&A, was explicit in backing entryism to shift Labour to the Left. Listen to - about 50 minutes into the podcast. He said:

"In Unite we have said we have to reclaim the Labour Party for our values and the way to do that is to involve ourselves at the grassroots of the Labour. In Unite we have a very detailed and sophistictaed political strategy to do just precisely that. To make sure that we have people who have our values are elected into Parliament. So that they know what our values are. We are beginning to make headway so much so that the reactionary forces in the Labour Party are beginning to squeal like pigs."

Ed Miliband grew up in a Communist household. His first job was working for Tony Benn.

Mr Miliband probably now accepts that Marxist ideas are mistaken. He is probably aware of their terrible consequences although he would rather talk about something else. Yet it is one thing to regard adopting Communist policies as electorally ill-advised or to think that implementing them might provide practical difficulties. It is another to recognise Commmunism as morally repugnant. As the equivalent ot its totalitarian twin Nazism. That is too high a hurdle for Mr Miliband.

Of course Mr Miliband is in debt to the unions - without them he would not have been elected Labour leader. Of course the role of the unions as the Labour Party paymasters is important. But I think there is more to it. A personal factor for Ed Milband. Some emotional baggage deriving from his "back story."

As acknowledged at the start of this piece, I do not believe that Mr Miliband is a Communist. But he is soft on Communism and soft on Communists.