Speaking on the subject "Has the future a left?", at the London School of Economics Last week, social theorist Zygmunt Bauman was clear: the left "has sold out to the right" and become "a fake replica of what it was". Does this leave a political void for the Labour party to fill? Arguably by reconnecting with it's socialist roots it may be able to engage with a generation of disillusioned voters.
I met with Tony Benn last week to discuss the role of socialism in the current labour party. He said: "it isn't a socialist party but it has socialism in it - I've been a socialist in the party and it is tricky but I think it's possible. You succeed in mobilising support for what you want done and you'll be popular, and then the Tories will be come along and say it's all a waste of public expenditure, because they realise themselves what a threat democracy is to their privilege."
"I think there is a deep sense of injustice in the society and the abuse of privilege, and that is what keeps socialist ideas alive."
Benn sees the vote as an instrument of the working classes, a tool that can be used to get access the items that cannot be afforded. He spoke proudly of the NHS - 'the most socialist thing we ever did and the most popular' - a service that is now under threat from the current Tory led government. As the public services of this country are dismantled for the profit of the rich, the working class of this country need a tough voice in opposition - a stance that if taken could help to remedy Ed Milliband's image crisis.
Miliband needs to start to seriously challenge the way this country is run, in order to present himself as a great leader. If he believes the coalition government is cutting the deficit too fast, he needs to make a compelling case for this. Condemning strike action and posing no strong opposition to cuts that are crippling UK households will only weaken support. If the reports of this months talks with Tony Blair are anything to go by, the future of Labour is poised to remain firmly in 'the centre ground of British politics' - a future that certainly looks bleak to working class voters and trade union backers alike.
Benn added: "I think that Labour MP's and the Trade Union want is to feel that their interests are represented at a national level. The way they judge a leader is by asking, 'is he speaking for us?'"
Now more than ever, Miliband needs to encourage labour to rekindle it's relationship with the Unions in order to avoid bringing about an end to the party. By putting an end to this conflict, Labour could re-establish a clear policy on class issues, showing that they are firmly on the side of the working class, a move that no doubt will bring with it increased party support and a renewed optimism - in contrast to the cynicism that currently propagates through our society.
"Cynicism is a policy adopted by the right wing media in order to discourage people following the course they believe in" - Tony Benn
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