David Miliband attacks Blair, Brown . . . and his brother, Ed?

Some so-far unreported extracts from tonight’s speech.

Below are some extracts that haven't been trailed from David Miliband's major leadership campaign speech this evening.

On Blair and Brown:

Tony and Gordon did great things. Really great things. But I know that in Tony's time, he did not focus on income inequalities, stopped devolution at Scotland and Wales when we should have carried it on and too often defined himself against the party, not against the Tories.

Gordon was wrong about the 10p rate and wrong-footed in debates about the role of the state and the importance of crime and security as Labour issues. Both of them underestimated the extent to which the problems of the British economy had not been resolved by the 1980s.

Interpretation: this is a significant break from Blair -- though some who want David to go further will be disappointed that he does not mention Iraq -- but it is worth noting that the line about Blair defining himself against Labour is the same as that which Ed Miliband has been saying for some time.

On why Miliband is standing and why doing so "requires clarity about the conditions for success and a reconciliation with the chance of failure", as well as his "absolute determination to protect those that you do love":

This is the sense of responsibility that motivates me. It brought me into the Labour Party 27 years ago, idealistic and open-minded, when our prospects seemed bleak. It made me support John Smith in the search for new ideas after 1992. It made me run for parliament in 2001. It made me turn down a big job in world politics last November. And it has made me stand for the leadership of our party today.

Still idealistic and open-minded about what we can achieve together.

It is a big decision to stand for the leadership. It requires clarity about the conditions for success and a reconciliation with the chance of failure. It asks a lot of the people you love; and an absolute determination to protect those that you do love.

For me, it is about understanding the time and place to take responsibility. Now is such a time.

Interpretation: David is emphasising that he is ready in a way he hasn't been before (when he was urged to challenge Brown), but this could be seen as questioning whether Ed is ready, and the passage about the impact of standing -- including on the people you love -- could also be seen, rightly or wrongly, as a dig at Ed.

On why his politics are about so much more than "dinner parties":

I was born in 1965.

It was a time of recovery but also vulnerability. For my family, the shadow of the Holocaust was still much, much stronger than it seems today.

London, that "Mansion House of Liberty", to quote John Milton, this great city, did not give us dinner parties; it gave us life.

Leeds, where I spent a formative part of my childhood and my dad was a teacher of politics, did not give us political theory; it gave us the middle-class Middle Britain security that comes from being part of a strong community, where you put in but you got out, too.

Labour helped shape that postwar period of security and opportunity. And a strong, renewed, reorganised Labour Party is vital to the future of our country today.

Interpretation: perhaps the most powerful passage, this totally rebuts the slur from the Milibands' rivals that they are merely "dinner-party" politicians.

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
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Leaving the cleaning to someone else makes you happier? Men have known that for centuries

Research says avoiding housework is good for wellbeing, but women have rarely had the option.

If you want to be happy, there is apparently a trick: offload the shitwork onto somebody else. Hire cleaner. Get your groceries delivered. Have someone else launder your sheets. These are the findings published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, but it’s also been the foundation of our economy since before we had economics. Who does the offloading? Men. Who does the shitwork? Women.

Over the last 40 years, female employment has risen to almost match the male rate, but inside the home, labour sticks stubbornly to old patterns: men self-report doing eight hours of housework a week, while women slog away for 13. When it comes to caring for family members, the difference is even more stark: men do ten hours, and women 23.

For your average heterosexual couple with kids, that means women spend 18 extra hours every week going to the shops, doing the laundry, laying out uniform, doing the school run, loading dishwashers, organising doctors' appointments, going to baby groups, picking things up, cooking meals, applying for tax credits, checking in on elderly parents, scrubbing pots, washing floors, combing out nits, dusting, folding laundry, etcetera etcetera et-tedious-cetera.

Split down the middle, that’s nine hours of unpaid work that men just sit back and let women take on. It’s not that men don’t need to eat, or that they don’t feel the cold cringe of horror when bare foot meets dropped food on a sticky kitchen floor. As Katrine Marçal pointed out in Who Cooked Adam Smiths Dinner?, men’s participation in the labour market has always relied on a woman in the background to service his needs. As far as the majority of men are concerned, domestic work is Someone Else’s Problem.

And though one of the study authors expressed surprise at how few people spend their money on time-saving services given the substantial effect on happiness, it surely isn’t that mysterious. The male half of the population has the option to recruit a wife or girlfriend who’ll do all this for free, while the female half faces harsh judgement for bringing cover in. Got a cleaner? Shouldn’t you be doing it yourself rather than outsourcing it to another woman? The fact that men have even more definitively shrugged off the housework gets little notice. Dirt apparently belongs to girls.

From infancy up, chores are coded pink. Looking on the Toys “R” Us website, I see you can buy a Disney Princess My First Kitchen (fuchsia, of course), which is one in the eye for royal privilege. Suck it up, Snow White: you don’t get out of the housekeeping just because your prince has come. Shop the blue aisle and you’ll find the Just Like Home Workshop Deluxe Carry Case Workbench – and this, precisely, is the difference between masculine and feminine work. Masculine work is productive: it makes something, and that something is valuable. Feminine work is reproductive: a cleaned toilet doesn’t stay clean, the used plates stack up in the sink.

The worst part of this con is that women are presumed to take on the shitwork because we want to. Because our natures dictate that there is a satisfaction in wiping an arse with a woman’s hand that men could never feel and money could never match. That fiction is used to justify not only women picking up the slack at home, but also employers paying less for what is seen as traditional “women’s work” – the caring, cleaning roles.

It took a six-year legal battle to secure compensation for the women Birmingham council underpaid for care work over decades. “Don’t get me wrong, the men do work hard, but we did work hard,” said one of the women who brought the action. “And I couldn’t see a lot of them doing what we do. Would they empty a commode, wash somebody down covered in mess, go into a house full of maggots and clean it up? But I’ll tell you what, I would have gone and done a dustman’s job for the day.”

If women are paid less, they’re more financially dependent on the men they live with. If you’re financially dependent, you can’t walk out over your unfair housework burden. No wonder the settlement of shitwork has been so hard to budge. The dream, of course, is that one day men will sack up and start to look after themselves and their own children. Till then, of course women should buy happiness if they can. There’s no guilt in hiring a cleaner – housework is work, so why shouldn’t someone get paid for it? One proviso: every week, spend just a little of the time you’ve purchased plotting how you’ll overthrow patriarchy for good.

Sarah Ditum is a journalist who writes regularly for the Guardian, New Statesman and others. Her website is here.