Some questions for Mr Miliband

It was bound to be Ed, as this site has said throughout the contest. I send him congratulations on his victory.

The task ahead is to answer some of the country’s questions about what went wrong in the last five years. Why, for example, did Labour’s very own system for regulating banks and other financial institutions get it so wrong, allowing such growth of risk and credit up to 2007? Why did they then get it wrong the other way, forcing such a tough pace of contraction that even Northern Rock, their favourite bank, got into difficulty? Why did they commit such huge sums of taxpayers money to rescue by buying shares and underwriting, when a more sensible money policy and lender of last resort actions coupled with sales of assets would have been a cheaper way of avoiding deposit losses for taxpayers?

They also need to answer how they managed to spend so much in the pubic sector, and borrow so much, without obtaining the big improvements in public services people wanted? How did they preside over 5 million people out of work and on benefit even at the height of the boom? Why did all the spending and borrowing fail to keep the economy going as they promised?

The test for Mr Miliband is whether he is indeed Red Ed, keen just to argue for more public spending and borrowing come what may, or whether he will develop a reform agenda. Will he recognise that the Labour model went wrong? That many voters want something different and better? That Labour needs to have a message for people of enterprise and for savers as well?

It will be interesting to watch how it develops. I expect Mr Miliband to seek to move back from the left now he has won the leadership. The government should not underestimate him. He is a modern politician who has risen without trace and has put little of his views on the record. It will get more competitive from here – only Mr Balls has shown much aggression so far from the Opposition benches, making it easier for Ministers.

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21 Comments

  1. A.Sedgwick
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    You couldn't make it up. The man who called serious AGW sceptics flat earthers, who has done nothing outside politics, as with many other political leaders, has the opportunity to be Prime Minister reflects the dire state of our democracy and political honesty.

  2. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    The hope with Ed Milliband is there he will take a less pro Federal European line than his brother David would have done. If so, that will be good for the country but also a threat to the Conservative Party if we do not counter it.

    The Conservative Party needs above all else to get its European Policy right in the next manifesto and to make it THE issue in the next General Election campaign. Nothing less than the repeal of the Lisbon, Nice, Amsterdam and Maastricht treaties will do. NONE of these treaties has been approved by referendum.

    The Federalists have already sprung their trap in the Lisbon Treaty. Yes, the electorates of Member States can get control over the unelected European Commission – but only at the federal level via the European Parliament. This institution was the great gainer in the Lisbon Treaty, and if you tune in to Euronews or to the BBC World News Eoropean programme, it is clear that MEPs are already flexing their muscles. All of a sudden, their opinions matter.

  3. Iain Gill
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Apparently Ed has been saying immigration IS out of control, and that it's not racist to question what's going on

    If the conservatives are not careful their spin and lack of action on this will be very vulnerable to someone who gets behind the public mood

  4. Alan Jutson
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Ed may not be thinking what went wrong with Browns policies, as he seems to be a supporter of many of them, but rather what went wrong with the spin machine.

    If Ed thinks the spin machine needs more oil, he will surely fail, If he alters policy thoughts he may get closer to real power.

  5. Peter Stroud
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    But on which side will he be if public sector unions strike over government cuts?

  6. Norman
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    'He is a modern politician who has risen without trace and has put little of his views on the record.'

    They would indeed be foolish to write him off. The last leader who fits that description is now Prime Minister (and I don't mean that in a disparaging way, just matter of fact).

  7. JimF
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    1 He will seek to distance himself from the mistakes of the past in a populist way as did Cameron vis a vis Thatcher.
    2 His strong point is that he is clever, a moralist and a thinker. He is in the mould of a young Brown but with a communication gene. Or an English Kinnock who lost his windbag.
    3 His weak point is that he could be portrayed as an academic with no real world experience. Has he ever come across real people in need, as Brown did at a young age, worked behind a till as a young lad, or on a production line, or in the sales and marketing department of a major Company. Has he ever run a business, done the end of month accounts, hired and fired? No,nothing, rien, nada.
    Also, he hasn't the empathy of a Blair, which Cameron can also display on a good day. And that might finally be his downfall.

  8. forthurst
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Does Ed, as his brother Dave, like to spend quality time in Israel consorting with relatives who live in an illegal West bank settlement?

  9. Nick
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    22 billion loss on the banks as far as I can tell. Ignoring the interest payments that are a state secret.

    1. Why is the interest and guarantee payments a state secret?

    The real question, what about the government debts of 5,000 billion plus.

    2. Why are you worried about the banks, and ignore the state debts?

    It's a distraction. It's misdirection. Look at the nasty banks, don't look at the mess government has made

  10. Simon
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    The Labour party need to move on and the first thing any Labour leader has to do is acknowledge that mistakes were made .

    This is something Ed Balls has been unable to manage , indeed he is still in denial and unrepentent about the scorched earth policy he advocated . The country is in a state of crisis and all Ed Ball's wants to do is make life difficult for the coalition at the countries expense .

    The country needs an opposition which is going to engage constructively . I hope Ed Milliband does not disappoint .

    • Posted September 27, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Alas a Socialist is a Socialist, is a Socialist! You can't teach, even younger dogs, new tricks when "tax and spend" goes through them like Brighton Rock!

  11. THE ESSEX GIRLS
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Our friends at ESSEX VOTERS VOICE ran some interesting group discussions recently with 2010 Labour voters and some who defected from the party last May.

    The clear message from both sets was that Labour won't regain power – and amongst the defectors will not regain their votes – until they 'Face the Issues', the term that came from several group participants.

    The questions that JR poses above would clearly make a good start and it's hoped – not only by us but these voters clearly – that the commentators discard the easy questions on 'Brotherly love' and 'Red Ed' in favour of these more urgent and searching ones.

  12. Posted September 26, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    If, as has been reported, brother David gets the Shadow Chancellor job then you could be asking the wrong brother. I get the feeling that neither Miliband understands the economics in any great detail, but at least David would have to learn and learn fast.

  13. doppelganger
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    John

    The caravan has moved on. The Tories had their chance, an open goal, and missed it care of Cameron. The Tories lost their spine a long time ago. After thirteen years of useless opposition and failing to win the election they deemed a coalition with the Lib Dems a suitable alternative. By doing so they let Labour off the hook for their awful misrule. Cameron will not be PM after the next election.

  14. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I think we should start to keep an eye on young Ed Miliband and especially keep an eye on who his new friends might be. In order to get elected as the next Prime Minister he will have to gain support from the News Media (for positive stories promoting his policies) and he will have to do deals with various people who will supply the finances to launch his election campaign – what will he give for that? Not long after Labour was elected, the Bank of England was given full control over setting Interest Rates. Perhaps they were also gived a guarantee that their freinds in the City of London would be bailed out if their bets went sour. Just look at the speeches Gordon Brown made praising the City of London and their financial wizardry. Is there anything left for Ed to barter with I wonder?

  15. P Haynes
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Do no hold your breath for answers from Ed.

    The only message you are likely to get from Ed is that it is was the excessive Lib/Con cuts and rich bankers that caused the real problems not Gordon who had nearly finished saving the world when he lost power. The labour policy of soak the rich and tip the proceeds down the drain and over regulate industry and the rich out of the country wherever possible is the only clear way forwards he will suggest. Emotion and envy rather than logic always being the true socialist approach to gaining votes.

    It has after all proved to be such a winner under Labour in the past.

  16. Javelin
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    I think the key problem for the Labour leader is to explain how they can cogently reform public services. There is no doubt the competition fromthe BRIC countries is hard on our heals chasing our wealth – and will take it directly or indirectly through inflation or exchange rates.

    I think the most direct impact in the next year of this will be the collapse in house prices – this will lay bear the fragility of our wealth.

  17. James Clover
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    I suspect that like most modern politicians, he will try to move centrewards; he will appear a true socialist to the unions and attempt to be a modern centrist to the suspicious middle classes.
    A good time to become leader. Probably some time before the next election; no need to make policy yet, but plenty of opportunity to snipe at the coalition as it cuts, without need to admit that it was his own party that brought us to this.
    Imagine 3 or 4 years from now, painful and difficult years, in which the Tories have been constantly painted as a party determined to cause misery . An election looms; people remember those golden days when Labour gave them so many handouts and there was just boom and more boom. I'm afraid that a country which can still maintain around 30% support for Labour when they have brought us to our knees will be very likely to make Ed Milliband the next P.M.

  18. forthurst
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    For Labour model, do you mean this?

    1. The creation of racism offences.
    2. Continual change to create confusion
    3. The teaching of sex and homosexuality to children
    4. The undermining of schools’ and teachers’ authority
    5. Huge immigration to destroy identity.
    6. The promotion of excessive drinking
    7. Emptying of churches
    8. An unreliable legal system with bias against victims of crime
    9. Dependency on the state or state benefits
    10. Control and dumbing down of media
    11. Encouraging the breakdown of the family
    http://www.catholicinsight.com/online/features/ar

  19. Iain Gill
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    the main problem for the country of course is that here we have yet another politician thrust into high office without ever having had a proper job

    we have a system where ever more the higher reaches of political power are dominated by professional politicians who wouldnt know one end of a real job from another

    this is not good for the country

  20. Jan
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I think many have underestimated Ed Milliband and that he has cleverly positioned himself so that he has distance from NuLabour and all its deceit. He may even give the LibCons a run for their money by providing an efective opposition.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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