Posts Tagged ‘wealth’

Miliband’s bridge building with business should be applauded

01/07/2014, 08:15:02 AM

by Jonathan Todd

The case for augmenting Labour’s cost of living campaigning is almost as old as this campaigning. The advantages accruing to Labour from this campaigning are challenged by those that accumulate to the Conservatives from the more general economic improvement. This improvement encourages optimism among businesses, which some feel Labour threatens.

Labour needs to reassure these businesses and the voters who work for them that Labour poses no such threat. That, as Pat McFadden and Alan Milburn have both put it, Labour is as concerned with generating wealth as with distributing it. It is, as Chuka Umunna is quoted in a recent FT article headlined ‘Labour seeks to reposition as pro-business party’, a fairly academic decision how you can cut the pie more fairly if you haven’t increased the size of the pie first.

That Umunna is clearly right, while business fears that this is not understood by Labour, makes the repositioning heralded by the FT welcome. We are now in what The Sunday Times described as “a week long campaign to mend fences with business leaders”. No matter what big policy announcements this week may bring, Labour should not expect that they alone will secure business support.

Fifty small press releases matter more than a big policy announcement, as the ex party adviser Steve Van Riel recently observed. If Labour wants better relations with business, and I’m pleased that we do, we shouldn’t think that these can be cemented in a week, no matter how big our policy announcements. Such relations require diligent cultivation over the long-term. Which the activities of this week should be a staging post on.

It is to be hoped that Ed Miliband and his shadow cabinet are up for this. Because there will be those in our party who will implore them not to be. Similar protestations, as Uncut has noted, have blunted moves to the centre on welfare. Concerted efforts to win business support would be another move to the centre, which is valuable enough that Miliband should be prepared to endure internal criticisms.


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Ed Miliband’s money problem

17/09/2012, 09:40:20 AM

by Atul Hatwal

There he goes again. In Ed Miliband’s interview with the Telegraph on Saturday, the Labour leader was at it once more, opining on the right, and wrong, sort of wealth. Answering the question, is it good to be rich, his answer was “yes, if you make it the hard way.”

This instinctive response is revealing. Ed Miliband did not preface his response with some words celebrating ambition, or empathising with peoples’ aspiration to earn more, he cut straight to verdict.

His phraseology framed the conditions where the Labour leader found wealth to be tolerable. This does not suggest an intrinsic comfort with making money – something quite important to most voters.

Miliband sensed the dissonant note and moved to contextualise his statement in the interview: “It’s not for me to pass moral judgment. It’s the Jimmy Carr point; what are the rules?”

The clarification at least shifts the focus from moral judgement on the behaviour of wealthy individuals who have not broken any law. But the benefit of this refinement was then wasted when Miliband did not elaborate on which rules are to be changed.

Without defining the positive action that the party will take, Miliband’s, and so Labour’s position, is one of impotent moralising about the system.

We might as well just be blaming “the man.”


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