Thursday, 7 May 2015

Russell Brand, Ed Miliband & Critical Thinking

From an e-mail from Trevor Hoyle
RUSSELL Brand urges voters to vote Labour.  This is what Brand said:
“One thing I agree very sincerely with Ed on is that politics doesn’t rain down on us, it comes from below… movements putting pressure on governments. We don’t know what the limitations of a Labour Administration are going to be but we have just heard the leader of the Labour Party saying that he welcomes and wants pressure from below… what I heard Ed Miliband say is ‘If we speak, he will listen’…. what’s important is this bloke will be in parliament and I think this bloke will listen to us.”
However, when it comes to Ed Miliband and the Labour Party, Brand throws any critical thinking out the window. With this in mind it is worth recalling Miliband’s actions on some issues that are of concern to millions of people across Britain, issues that campaigners have been pressing the Labour Party – trying to apply “pressure from below” in Miliband’s parlance – to act the right, humane way on.
  • --- In January 2015 Miliband voted for the Government’s Charter for Budget Responsibility, which included plans to slash public spending by a further £30 billion.
  • --- In November 2014 The Guardian reported “The Labour front bench has accepted over £600,000 of research help from the multinational accountancy company PricewaterhouseCoopers to help form policy on tax, business and welfare… The support to shadow ministers including Ed Balls, Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt comes after the Guardian revealed PwC’s role in establishing potentially favourable tax structures for hundreds of companies around the world – including many British businesses – in Luxembourg.”
  • --- In March 2014 Miliband supported a national cap on benefit spending which limited each household to a maximum of £26,000 in benefits, a policy Save the Children said would push 345,000 children into poverty in four years.
  • --- In March 2013 Miliband abstained from a parliamentary vote on a bill that would prevent 250,000 “exploited” jobseekers from receiving £130m in rebates.
  • --- Miliband backed the 13-year war in Afghanistan, the disastrous 2011 intervention in Libya and the on-going bombing of ISIS in Iraq.
  • --- Miliband supports the retention of Trident nuclear weapons, which the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament estimates will cost around £100 billion over its 40 year lifetime.
On these issues Miliband did not welcome, listen to or act on pressure from below. Rather he ignored the voices of protest and concern.
As Brand has been influenced by Noam Chomsky, let’s leave the American dissident thinker with the final word. Speaking about Obama in 2009 Chomsky reiterated Galeano’s truism, explaining“It is wise to attend to deeds, not rhetoric” because “deeds commonly tell a different story.”

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