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One Nation Labour would look after the rich

John Rentoul

one 223x300 One Nation Labour would look after the richPhilip Collins has a superb column in The Times today (pay wall), which dismantles Ed Miliband’s attempt to substitute a slogan for policy making:

One Nation has a clear meaning in its original Conservative incarnation. To be a One Nation Tory was a retort to the suspicion that, in the battle between the two nations of the rich and the poor that Disraeli identified in Coningsby, most Tories sided with the wealthy. Unless Mr Miliband wants to reassure the electorate that, in his crusade to help the poor, he will be sure to look after the rich, the original meaning does not cross over.

Collins might be talking about the Labour leader’s speech and interview yesterday when he says:

Poetry was once defined as getting a lot said, quickly. Left-wing thought is precisely the opposite. Nothing said, slowly.

And he concludes:

The problem is not the choice of phrase. I like One Nation. It’s exactly the right number of nations. The problem is that the demand for big ideas is triviality dressed as profundity.

Photograph via Robert Philpot, Progress magazine

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  • reformist lickspittle

    Well, might that not be what Ed is basically saying??

    Or, to put it in more concrete terms perhaps – wanting to correct the worst excesses of unbridled neo-liberalism doesn’t make you “anti-business”, “anti-aspiration” or any of the other now totally hollow and empty Blairite buzz-words?

    Get that at least, Collins and Rentoul??

  • Susan G.

    Do you never get bored of this level of nitpicking?

    One Nation Labour really doesn’t need any explanation for anyone who is alive today. It is a signifier of a willingness to try to bridge the gap between the discrepant wealth distribution, and to not have some languishing in the pit of despond as others siphon off untold wealth and park it offshore without making an honest contribution to society. It is a clear statement of implicit contempt; intent and call to action. A need for a more cohesive society based on a fairer distribution of wealth and life chances.

    Mr Collins may not appreciate this poetic rubric; a clever assimilation of thoughts and feelings, but it will resonate with anyone who is not intent on ferreting out the picayune and wilfully ignoring the eminent good sense of the message. How he could dismiss this as trivial speaks to something that is certainly niggling him rather than any sensible criticism. Well, that’s my view. Let the people decide. lol.

  • Pacificweather

    So you don’t think One Nation is an appeal to the Scots?

  • tomdonnelly

    It’ll appeal to the unionists, but not the independents who are past caring for all of the usual reasons. If Miliband does manage a new settlement then it should appeal to anyone who isn’t brain dead.

  • trottitout

    How stupid. This was not an attempt at policy making so why conflate? This is the definition of the societal aims that Miliband wants to achieve. It’s a good one. Get over it: ‘things can only get better’ was always a superficial piece of Cool Britannia that only a Blairite could not have considered embarrassing. lol!

  • trottitout

    Good comment.

  • greggf

    “It (One Nation Labour) is a signifier of a willingness to try to bridge the gap between the discrepant wealth distribution, and to not have some languishing in the pit of despond as others siphon off untold wealth and park it offshore without making an honest contribution to society……..”

    I’m sure you would win a prize for spin Susan, were it available.

  • Ed

    Disraeli’s ‘two nations’ were to be found in Sybil, not Coningsby. If you’re going to produce this kind of pedantic rubbish in place of a proper argument, at least get the pedantry right…


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