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مشاهدة النسخة كاملة : Labour still has a long way to go, says Ed Miliband

09-26-2011, 12:21 AM
http://hits.guardian.co.uk/b/ss/guardiangu-feeds/1/H.22.2/14249?ns=guardian&pageName=Ed+Miliband%3A+Labour+is+on+the+way+back% 3AArticle%3A1638329&ch=Politics&c3=GU.co.uk&c4=Labour+conference+2011%2CEd+Miliband%2CPolitics %2CLabour+conference%2CLabour%2CUK+news%2CEconomic +policy%2CTax+and+spending%2CUnions+%28UK%29&c5=Personal+Finance%2CUnclassified%2CCredit+Crunch %2CNot+commercially+useful&c6=Helene+Mulholland&c7=11-Sep-25&c8=1638329&c9=Article&c10=&c11=Politics&c13=&c25=&c30=content&h2=GU%2FPolitics%2FLabour+conference+2011
As delegates gather for conference, leader admits past failures of own party but also urges Cameron to 'show some leadership'

Ed Miliband has urged David Cameron to "show some leadership" over Britain's ailing economy but conceded he has a "long way to go" to convince people to vote Labour at the next general election.

Speaking as Labour delegates gather in Liverpool for the opening day of their five-day annual party conference, he told The Andrew Marr Show: "When you lose an election, and we had our second worst result since we were founded in 1910, it takes time for people to tune back in to you."

He went on: "We are a party on the way back. There's a long way to go and I, more than anyone, know the scale of task. But, you know what's most important? I know who I am and I know where I want to take this country and that's what I'm going to be talking about this week."

All eyes will be on Miliband as he marks a year as Labour leader by proving to members that he has a strategy for the party.

In a bid to woo students and parents worried about tuition fees following the controversial move by government to allow fees to rise up to a maximum of £9,000, the Labour leader unveiled a new policy which would see tuition fees held to a maximum £6,000 a year (http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/sep/24/labour-tuition-fees-cut-miliband).

The party is also drawing up plans for a national system of purchasing energy (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/sep/23/labour-aim-rail-energy-prices) and a ban on train companies hiking prices in a push to help households in the throes of a "quiet crisis" as they face higher bills, squeezed wages and irresponsible profiteering.

The Labour leader will also continue to argue for a temporary cut in VAT to boost economic growth.

Miliband gave a round of interviews as the latest polling gave his leadership mixed reviews a year to the day after he was elected party leader.

A YouGov poll for centre-left thinktank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) suggests the damage done to Labour following its bruising last few years in power may be reparable. The poll found 70% of respondents would be prepared to vote Labour, compared with 64% for the Liberal Democrats and 58% for the Conservatives.

However, a BPIX poll for the Mail on Sunday suggested the majority of voters believed the Labour leader's older brother, David, should have been picked to lead the party.

Asked if Labour should have picked the former foreign secretary, voters said "yes"' by a margin of more than four to one. Within the Labour voter cohort, a total of 39% also believed David Miliband should have been leader, with just 13% of activists saying the incumbent was the right man for the job.

But in figures likely to cheer the younger Miliband, the poll also gave succour to Labour's claim that the government is introducing spending cuts "too far and too fast" as nearly one in two say the chancellor, George Osborne, should scale back he cuts, against 37% who think he should stay on course.

Miliband used the Andrew Marr interview to urge David Cameron to "start showing some leadership" over Britain's ailing economy on the grounds that the coalition's austerity measures were "not working".

He said Cameron had "nothing to say" about would be different in the next year.

While cuts had to be made, growth had become the "missing ingredient" in the government's plans, said Miliband as he cautioned against leaving the economy "flat on its back".

The best way of cutting the deficit was by growing the economy to ensure that people were in work, paying taxes and off benefits, he said.

"As Keynes said, as the conditions change you change course and he should change course. That's what he has got to do. As a first step we say cut VAT. Keep to a plan to cut the deficit over four years but do it with growth because that's the only way you are going to achieve what you need to achieve. You can't leave an economy flat on its back."

He went on: "I think we've seen a big change over the last year, which is a year ago there was a contested argument about whether the government strategy should work. It's not working, it's not working for Britain because unemployment is going up, and it's not working even to cut the deficit because unless you grow the economy you can't cut your deficit."

He added: "There is an absence of leadership and I say to the prime minister 'put the politics aside, start showing some leadership'."

Aware of the pressure on his own leadership to garner credibility on the economy, he admitted that Labour in power "didn't do enough to change the ethic of our economy". The Labour leader also admitted the party got things wrong on immigration, particularly the accession of Poland and the other eastern European states to the European Union.

On the economy, he said that while "financial services is going to be very important for us in the years to come" the government has to demonstrate a commitment to other industries.

"We have got a fast buck economy; we've got to move to a different sort of economy," he said.

Asked about the welfare system, he said he was quite happy to say that people who cheat the welfare system "are doing the wrong thing", as he vowed to show "zero tolerance of waste" of taxpayers' money.

But he said the government's welfare changes were taking action not against the people who were abusing they system, but against those against people who have paid in all their lives – those "who've done the right thing and are then finding out the safety net is being eaten away even further from them".

On his high-profile pledge to cap tuition fees (http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/sep/24/labour-tuition-fees-cut-miliband), Miliband insisted the policy was "fully costed". The money would come from reversing a corporation tax cut for banks.

Miliband said the policy would not form part of the party's manifesto at the 2015 general election but was a policy that would be implemented by a Labour government if a general election was called now.

"We are very committed to it, the election's three-and-a-half years away, if we can do more by the time of the election we will," said Miliband. "But this is an important first step."

The first day of the party conference will see delegates vote on a package of internal reforms championed by the leader and approved on Saturday by Labour's ruling national executive committee.

The changes include non-member "registered supporters" being given voting rights in future leadership elections (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/sep/25/labour-non-members-vote-leadership), if they reach 50,000 in number.

Also agreed by the NEC was a review of conference voting arrangements and the weight given to union votes – proposals will be brought forward by next March.

Miliband said the union vote was a "complicated set of issues" but the registered supporters move showed a commitment to "open up as a party".

Labour conference 2011 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/labour-conference-2011)
Ed Miliband (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/edmiliband)
Labour conference (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/labourconference)
Labour (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/labour)
Economic policy (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/economy)
Tax and spending (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/taxandspending)
Trade unions (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/tradeunions)

Hélène Mulholland (http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/helenemulholland)

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أكثر... (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/sep/25/ed-miliband-labour-way-back)