This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Edward Miliband: The UK Labor Party”s New Torchbearer of Hope

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Pradyut Hande:

They say desperate times often witness the emergence of an unlikely leader… a leade

r who treads a path of careful calibration and calculated adventure in equal measure… a leader, who inspires his loyal legion of followers, re-instills self belief and fills them with the insatiable hunger to scale the acme of success.

The UK Labor Party, currently Her Majesty’s Opposition, has battled the tumultuous tides of capriciousness and dwindling popularity that have ravaged its decadent hull over the last few years. The New Labor Government that remained in power from 1997-2010 undeniably had its moments of glory under the sun but on the whole, its tenure turned out to the proverbial mixed bag. Under the talismanic helmsmanship of Tony Blair; the New Labor Government began laying the foundations of a vibrant contemporary UK ready to tackle the omnipresent and ever-escalating challenges of the 21st century. Some of the noteworthy initial acts of the Tony Blair Government included the establishment of the national minimum wage, the devolution of power to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the re-creation of a city-wide government body for London – the Greater London Authority – with its own elected Mayor. However, all their good deeds appeared to have withered away in the face of a raging surge of widespread negative public sentiment when the Government decided to support the then incumbent George W. Bush American administration in their “illegal war” on Iraq. Soon thereafter, unsuccessfully grappling with declining political support and myriad external factors; Tony Blair stepped down as the leader of the New Labor Government in 2007.

Blair was replaced by his trusted Chancellor, Gordon Brown. Although the party experienced a brief rise in the polls after this, its popularity soon slumped to its lowest level since the days of Michael Foot (Leader of the Labor Party: 1980-83). In May 2008, Labor suffered heavy defeats in the London mayoral election, local elections and the loss in the Crewe and Nantwich by-election, culminating in the party registering its worst ever opinion poll result since records began in 1943, of 23%, with many citing Brown’s leadership as a key factor. Amidst this morbid background, the decrepit Labor Government stood precariously on unstable ground…its ouster was imminent. In the 2010 general election on 6 May, Labor with 29.0% of the votes won the second largest number of seats (258). The Conservatives with 36.5% of the votes won the largest number of seats (307), but no party had an overall majority, implying that Labor could have still remained in power if they had managed to form a coalition with at least one minority party. On 10 May 2010, after talks to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats irreparably broke down, Gordon Brown announced his intention to stand down as Leader before the Labor Party Conference but a day later resigned as both Prime Minister and Party Leader. Harriet Herman, the Deputy Leader took charge as his temporary replacement. Shunted out of power, devoid of strong leadership, battling financial constraints and an obfuscated long term vision; the Labor Party’s fall from grace was complete. Was there a way out of this political quagmire?

Now, after a four month contest for the coveted (many would argue otherwise!) position of the Leader of the Labor Party; Edward Miliband has been elected and entrusted with the responsibility. Miliband’s ascendancy to the Leader’s position is an incredible story by itself! The 40-year-old, former Energy Secretary narrowly edged out his older brother, David who served as Foreign Secretary in the last Labor government, by the most miniscule of margins of 50.65% of votes cast to 49.35%. Ed Miliband largely owes his victory to his popularity with the powerful trade union body that comprises one-third of the Electoral College. On the other hand, David Miliband who has often been viewed as a centrist figure whose relations with the trade unions were often strained failed to muster up the requisite percentage of votes even though he enjoyed greater support from the Labor MPs and members who comprise the remaining two-thirds of the Electoral College. Ed Miliband’s spectacular rise gains even more significance given the fact that his older sibling has been an MP for 4 years longer than him and was widely regarded as the “Leader-in-the wings” during the floundering tenure of Gordon Brown.

Edward Miliband has his work clearly cut out for him. His election may have come as the proverbial bolt from the blue for many quarters, but there are an equal number of supporters who believe he could usher in a brand new era for the Labor Party through his dynamic leadership. The incumbent Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government may have breathed a sigh of relief given the fact that they wouldn’t be facing David Miliband, but ought not to take the younger sibling lightly. Ed Miliband has already raised a few eyebrows during his victory speech and clearly does not espouse the brand of socialism that rendered his party unelectable when it last entered opposition in 1979. Backed by an astute clique of experienced advisors, Miliband ought to lay out clear-cut goals/objectives/potential policies with regards to key issues such as healthcare, public service reform, large fiscal deficits and foreign policy. He may not have the experience but he certainly has the oratory, motivational and managerial skills that would undoubtedly hold him in good stead. It now remains to be seen whether Edward Miliband can provide the stable and strong element of leadership that could breathe new life into the Labor Party.

The writer is a Correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.

Image courtesy:

You must be to comment.

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By shakeel ahmad

By Sudipta Mishra

By Shruti Gupta

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below