Henry G Manson looks to next week’s strike
In the 5 months since the last round of industrial action in June Ed Miliband has had ample opportunity to develop a stance of the forthcoming strikes over pensions. There was plenty of choice. This was a chance for Labour to develop an alternative policy or to defend the past reforms from a Labour government that made public sector pensions more affordable.
The Labour leader could have tackled some of the myths swirling around of ‘gold-plated’ pensions which for many are just Â£6,000 a year for a lifetime of service and contributions. Ed could have been really bold and apologised for Gordon Brown’s raid on private sector pensions and then developed his party’s own plans on how they will substantially improve the lot in the private sector alongside defending those in the public sector. Instead there’s nothing. The cupboard is bare.
During this 5 month period Ed Miliband’s stance has not developed. Last night on Channel 4 News he was repeating the ‘get round the negotiating table’ line with industrial action now just days away.
On Wednesday the music is going to stop. The Labour leader is going to have to say and do so much more. As the Guardian highlighted some Shadow Cabinet members ‘regard greater clarity almost as important as the actual position.’
Ed cannot wish away difficult decisions. For a man supposedly aspiring to be Prime Minister one day, the lack of decisive decision-making and leadership is there for all to see by MPs, party members, supporters the country and off course trade unionists.
Unless Ed raises his game in these important coming days then events may turn against him in 2012 quicker than some of us had previously thought.