Wednesday 16 September 2009

Ed Miliband on the limits to the market

Ed Miliband has probably not found Derek Simpson's premature endorsement of his candidacy in some future Labour leadership contest an entirely unmixed blessing. (And the ability of union bosses to direct or influence how their members vote is very easily overstated; recall that Tony Blair won a majority of union members' votes in the 3-way contest back in 1994).

However, the interesting part of Miliband's speech to the TUC today is how it briefly links the focus on climate change to the"common cause" he believes the climate crisis shares with the financial crisis: markets without proper regulation.

I suspect these highly moderate and common sense remarks about City excess and unregulated markets might just amount to the most explicit social democratic critique of market excess that we have yet heard from a Cabinet minister in the past 12 months. It would be good to be able to take this as one small sign that the government will mount a stronger challenge to the growing sense of a post-crisis return to 'business as usual', very much captured in the media retrospectives one year on, but the proof of that particular pudding will remain very much in the eating.

[UPDATE: Unlike Paul Waugh of The Standard, Next Left has not had advance sight of Ed Balls' article for the New Statesman, under the guest editorship of Ken Livingstone this week. But Waugh's extracts suggests that Balls makes a similar argument more strongly. Perhaps this demonstrates the truth of the old Brownite adage that two Eds are better than one].

Miliband said:

Yesterday the Prime Minister explained how we are tackling the economic crisis.

Today, I want to talk about the climate crisis.

The truth is that the two crises – the economic crisis and the climate crisis - have a lot in common:

The most important thing they have in common is that they can only be tackled with our values

They have a common cause: markets without proper regulation.

A common victim: not the people who caused the crisis, but the people you represent up and down this country

And a common solution: strong and active government that does not leave people to their fates

But to be equal to the crisis, we have to learn the lessons.

We can’t build an economic base on one industry alone. We’ve learnt that.

Huge inequality is bad not just bad for our society – we always knew that – it is also bad for our economy as we have found with unjustified City bonuses. We’ve learnt that.

The challenge to the Conservatives on climate change is partly a challenge about the gap between rhetoric and policy. But it is fundamentally about a different philosophy about the role of government.

You can’t be green if your only vision of the good society is the small state.

And while I am not sure RyanAir will want to use the E. Miliband endorsement in its advertising campaigns, do note that cautious little swerve to avoid explicitly criticising the airline itself.

One Tory council is even boasting about the Ryanair model of public services

What is the Ryanair model?

Lots of queuing and waiting

A bill every time you want something to eat or drink

The many making do with the bare minimum, the few paying extra to get better service.

It works for an airline, but its no way to run a care home or a hospital

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wasn't it EasyJet in Barnet? Good stuff, and how nice it always is to see social democratic rhetoric from our Labour lot, why have we waited so long? Economic stasis tends to veil poverty rather well, downturn highlights what has been lurking underneath the rose tinted specs all along.