Breaking: Now Ed Miliband hits back hard against his brother

A “new generation” is needed to move beyond the “New Labour comfort zone”, says leadership contender

Ed Miliband will tomorrow issue his clearest political attack yet on his brother, David, calling on Labour to provide a "mandate for change" so that a "new generation" can lead the party out of its "New Labour comfort zone".

In a speech being distributed to as many party members as possible tomorrow, the younger Miliband brother will unashamedly draw stark dividing lines with the bookies' favourite, David, who is being portrayed by Ed's campaign as the party's "establishment" candidate.

The Ed Miliband camp said that tomorrow's speech "will say that the leadership election has come down to a big defining decision: whether to linger in the New Labour comfort zone and try one more heave for power, or to change to a new generation of leadership, beyond New Labour". It will seek to portray the fight between Ed and David Miliband as being between "change and continuity", respectively.

The "one more heave" reference is ironical, as it was frequently used by party modernisers who accused traditionalists of refusing to compromise with the electorate. In recent days, David Miliband has said that the party must escape from its "comfort zone" and appeal beyond its "core vote".

But on Tuesday Ed Miliband's team hit back, saying it was the "New Labour comfort zone" that must be shed. Tensions between the brothers' camps have heightened in recent days.

Ed Balls will also deliver a key campaign speech tomorrow in which he will say that the choice between a "head" candidate and a "heart" candidate is "false", and claim to be the "head-and-heart" candidate.

In his speech, Ed Miliband will say: "We must have the courage to change, the confidence to know that our values, when applied to the challenges of Britain in the modern world, can reconnect with those who have turned their backs on New Labour."

He will add: "We lost the last election but nobody won. The reason: neither New Labour nor Cameron's Tories had good enough answers to the challenges facing people in this country.

"I say to the Labour Party: 'I am not just seeking your votes. I am seeking a mandate to change -- to refound our party in ways which will reach out to those who have lost trust in us.'

"We must reach out to those who believe we have become cynical about our politics with our belief that it's politics which can bring people together to change Britain. We must reach out to the squeezed middle, those who find themselves working harder for longer for less, with a commitment to a new economy on the side of working people, rewarding businesses [which] invest in their staff and are committed to fair pay. And we must reach out to those who believe we became too casual about the liberties of individuals.

"Whenever a political party has become stuck in its ways there are always those who will fight to stay with what they know. The past can be a powerful anchor. Labour now faces a big, defining choice: whether to linger in the comfort zone of New Labour or whether to change, reach out to those who have lost trust in our party. Only change can win."

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
Felipe Araujo
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Hull revisited: What happens when a Brexit stronghold becomes City of Culture?

We report from Hull, to find out if you can replace the kind of nostalgia that led to a Leave vote with cultural investment.

At 75 metres long, the offshore wind turbine blade erected across Queen Victoria Square, in the heart of Hull, is a sculpture intended to mark a new chapter in the city’s history. For the next 12 months, Hull, a city of more than a quarter of a million people in the northeast of England, will be the UK’s City of Culture.

The 28-tonne blade hails from the local Siemens plant. The German technology company employs around 1,000 people in the area, making it Hull’s biggest single employer.

Seen up close in this context – laid dormant in the middle of a town square instead of spinning up in the air generating energy – the structure is meant to remind passersby of a giant sea creature. It is also, I’m told, an allusion to Hull’s rich maritime history.


All photos: Felipe Araujo

Nostalgia is a big thing in this part of the country. At one point, Hull was the UK’s third largest port but technology and privatisation drastically changed that. The battle over cod fishing with Iceland in the waters of the North Sea 40 years ago has also dealt a major blow to a region with a long and proud trawling tradition.

People here still talk about a bygone era when the fishing industry provided jobs for everyone and there was enough money to go around.

Fast forward to 2017, and the country’s new capital of culture is the same city that voted 67 per cent in favour of leaving the EU last June. Its new-found prestige, it seems, is not enough to erase years of neglect by a political class “too busy for commoners like us”, as one resident puts it.

“More than a message to Brussels, it [the Brexit vote] was a message to Westminster,” Paul Leeson-Taylor, a filmmaker born and bred in Hull, tells me. “For the first time in a long time people in Hull felt like they had the chance to change something, and they took it.”

But while speaking to people on the high street and hanging out with locals at the Community Boxing Club in Orchard Park, one of the city’s most deprived areas, there is one word that consistently popped up in conversation – more than any specific policy from Westminster or the much-hated rules “dictated” by Brussels. Foreigners.

According to official figures, Hull’s population is 89.1 per cent white British. Still, immigration is big on people’s minds here.

During my two-day stay in the city, I find myself being the only black person in most places I visit – I’m certainly the only black guy at the boxing club. So when someone begins a sentence with “I’m not racist but…”, I know a tirade on immigrants is about to ensue.

“There are just too many of them,” Nick Beach, an estate agent whose Polish clientele is a big part of his business, tells me as he is about to teach a boxing class to local children. Beach was born in Shepherd’s Bush, in West London, but has been living in Hull for the last 20 years.

“When I go down there these days and go into Westfield shopping centre, it is very rare you get an English person serving you now,” he says. “I just find it disappointing that you go into your capital city and you are a minority there.”

These are the much-discussed “left behind”, a white working-class community that has gained particular prominence in a time of Brexit and Donald Trump. Under economic pressure and facing social change, they want to have their say in running a country they claim to no longer recognise.

For Professor Simon Lee, a senior politics lecturer at the University of Hull, immigration is only a superficial layer when it comes to explaining the resentment I witness here. For him, the loss of the empire 70 years ago is still something that as a country Britain hasn’t come to terms with.

“The reason for us to be together as a United Kingdom has gone, so what is the project?”

As destiny would have it, a foreign company will now play a major role on Hull’s economic future, at least in the short term. In the wake of the Brexit vote, there were widespread fears Siemens would pull out of the region and take its factory elsewhere. With the massive blade looming large in the background, Jason Speedy, director of the blade factory in Hull, assures me that isn’t the case.

“The Brexit decision has made no difference. We have made our investment decision, so Siemens, together with the Association of British Ports, has put in £310m. It’s all full steam ahead.”

As Hull becomes the country’s cultural hub for the next few months, the hope is that its residents stop looking back and start looking forward.

For Professor Lee, though, until there is a complete change in the power structures that run the country, the north-south divide will remain – with or without the EU. “The way you kill nostalgia is to have something new,” he said. “The reason why people here are nostalgic is because there is nothing to replace it with.”

Felipe Araujo is a freelance journalist based in London. He writes about race, culture and sports. He covered the Rio Olympics and Paralympics on the ground for the New Statesman. He tweets @felipethejourno.