Congratulations Ed!

I didn’t have a vote in the UK Labour leadership election, despite currently being a member of two trade unions. I’ve never bothered to re-join the party after they threw all of us Labour students out in the sixties (when I suspect the main attraction for me was getting to know Barbara Castle) and I didn’t vote Labour at the last election.

© 2009 Peter Marshall
Ed Miliband meets his critics

In fact I don’t really think it’s sensible to have politicians at all, not in the way that we do – career politicians like all of the current party leaders and I think all of the candidates for the Labour post. I’m not quite sure how my ideal system would work, but it would certainly involve politicians having had lengthy experience of working in the world before being allowed to run the system.

But over the years I’ve been photographing events I’ve met and photographed quite a few politicians, and there are some I’ve admired and others I certainly wouldn’t trust to run a scout troop let alone a country.

Ed Miliband is one who surprised me last year when he came out from his ministry and argued seriously with protesters outside over the government’s energy policy and the choices he had to make. I wrote about it at the time both here on >Re:PHOTO and with more pictures on My London Diary.

I’ve photographed many protests outside government and company offices over the years, and this is the only occasion I can remember where the guy in charge has actually come out, invited questions, listened to them carefully and tried to answer as best he could, giving them around a quarter of an hour of his time, rather obviously to the dismay of his staff.

I didn’t agree with much of what he said, and he didn’t have real answers to many of the problems, but his attitude impressed me. Had I had a vote, he would have been my first choice.

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