Posts Tagged ‘Peter Oborne’

Forget the Tories: take the time to read Ed Miliband’s speech for yourself

03/10/2011, 03:30:14 PM

by Michael Dugher

As Ed Miliband made his way out of the conference hall after his speech in Liverpool last week, for some of the assembled political journalists, glumly “kettled” in a far corner of the conference centre, the story had already been written: Ed Miliband had “lurched to the left” with an address that was “anti-business”. Neither the conference nor the speech remotely warranted such a depressingly predictable narrative. But for some of the (Conservative-supporting) press, the facts must not get in the way of a good (or lazy) story.

By contrast, and by coincidence, as I made my way out of the hall in Liverpool, I bumped into two very senior business figures. One is a longstanding Labour supporter, who has made millions in private industry. The other has only recently joined the party, having retired from business after decades of running multi-million pound commercial enterprises. Both thought the speech was very good. They enthused about not only its thoughtfulness, but in particular its emphasis on the importance of business as a “wealth creator”, a line used repeatedly in Ed Miliband’s speech.

I too was struck by what I regarded as a firmly “pro-business” message the speech (the words “pro-business” were used no less than five times).  He rightly held out the example of Rolls Royce as a great British company and he contrasted the behaviour of its chief executive, Sir John Rose, with that of former bank chief, Sir Fred Goodwin. Also, as Labour continues to berate the government for its lack of any industrial strategy, I was pleased that Ed mentioned UK train manufacturer, Bombardier, as well as the defence giant, BAE Systems, with workers from both companies still reeling from recent announcements of large scale redundancies. He recognised the importance of financial services to Britain, but praised those companies that “train, invest, invent and sell”. Indeed, he said: “The vast majority of our businesses have the right values and do the right thing”.


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