Thursday, 29 September 2011

Red Ed's #Lab11 Speech...

I haven't seen Ed Miliband's speech to the Labour Party Conference, however I have read it, unfortunately courtesy of the Telegraph's website (link) - which means I don't have to put up with his usual poor delivery.  I have to say, it reads fairly well.  It's not that I agree with him, in fact some points make me pretty annoyed, but I think it reads like a speech that the less informed political viewer would want to hear.  (That's the beauty of being in opposition though, especially just under four years from the next election - you can say whatever you think people want to hear and never have to back it up as the situation will change).

At times it reads a little confusingly though, he is speaking at his party conference, however it seems aimed not at those in the room but those watching on TV.  This is sad if politicians have come to the stage where they are mainly concerned with the overall image rather than the people they are addressing.

Anyway, onto the my much more detailed analysis than I'd intended:

How can Labour regain the people's trust with their economic policy whilst they are in opposition?  I'm assuming they're just hoping make enough people forget about their economic mismanagement.  It is good to hear him apparently promising that they will not increase spending should they get into government by increasing the deficit (which we will still have when the next election comes round) - however I'm not sure how credible this is.   Particularly as they oppose almost every coalition "cut" whilst saying at the same time they wont reverse them.  I am in favour however of just using the sale of the bank shares to pay down the debt.  Although it would be a particularly good political move to 'give something back to the people' it is the wrong economic move - a political handout to curry favour.  Our debt is too large, simply reducing it will also reduce the deficit as the large interest payments will fall.  We are currently paying around £44bn in interest every year - this will keep growing until our debt is reducing!  

He then goes on to talk about a household budget - this is an analogy that is never correct - it doesn't work, however to keep it going Labour seem to imply that if you lose your job the best thing to do is to not reduce your outgoings - I'm not sure that is a wise thing for them to keep suggesting.

"Because the current plan to raise taxes and cut spending more dramatically than any other country is not working."

I can't believe that given the austerity measures in Greece, Ireland, Italy etc. that this is actually the case!  They have an alternative though:

"There is an alternative:
For Britain and other countries to act together to get our economies moving.
Like a VAT cut now to put more money in people’s pockets.
And action to put our young people back to work."

Although I did not agree with the VAT increase changing it again in such a short period of time is ridiculous.  He obviously has no idea at the extra cost this will add to businesses of changing their systems for a third time in such a short period (although I do think it is essential eventually).

Putting young people back in work - sounds great - what's their ideas?  Under Labour they tried to get as many people through University doors as possible, as a result even before the recession we were experiencing high graduate unemployment rate as there were more people competing for pretty much the same amount of jobs.  Many of those graduating were left without the necessary skills to compete and those without a degree were left behind.  He may have missed that this Government is trying to not allow the same things to happen - I believe they have just announced an increase in apprenticeships, an actual policy as opposed to Ed's posturing.

The section about the armed forces was just cheesy, a cheap part to try and lock in more future votes - it made me cringe.  On the other hand:  

"I will never write off whole parts of our country by calling them sick."

This was much more pleasing to read - even if I think it is a bit too late.

He then goes into morality with regards businesses, being incredibly subjective.  He also says one of the most ludicrous sentences I've heard from a major party leader:

"We shouldn't have given Sir Fred Goodwin that knighthood either."

I know what you're thinking, Mr Goodwin was right at the heart of RBS's demise, if it wasn't for the risky business practices adopted by him and his company from 2005 and the rest of his industry we may not have had the complete meltdown of recent years... however Mr Goodwin was knighted in 2004.  This was after revolutionising NatWest's systems and growing RBS into an international powerhouse in the banking world.  It is easy for Mr Miliband to look back with hindsight and say he doesn't deserve a knighthood, however that would have relied on people being able to predict his future business decisions in 2004, Ed is here just playing to the public mood.  What he should have apologised for was Labour not sacking him once the government became the majority shareholder and therefore vastly reducing his pay off - but at the time he did deserve his salary, given the wealth he had created for the investors.  In a free market you can't restrict people's salaries unless you restrict them in a proportionality way - it's not up to the government to be subjective on all firms as that will be impossible.

There was a lot about morality of business which is all ridiculously subjective and potential different tax regimes, as an accountant I can see the possibilities that could bring a lot more business to firms in my profession, I'm sure many up and down the country would be licking their lips at a subjective tax system!  

After this though there was a section that really made me laugh out loud:

"We need investment in energy here in Britain.
But our energy companies have defied the laws of gravity for too long.
Prices go up but they never seem to come down.
I believe our environment and climate change is a crucial issue for our future."

Yes energy is a real issue and it is good that he his highlighting that the failure has been going on a long time, maybe it would be good to highlight the Ministers who've obviously failed to deal with the problem.  Well the position of Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change was actually only created in 2008 and to date has only had two people, Chris Huhne, the incumbent who is doing a stellar job on the latter half of that title and in his speech to Lib Dems he is obviously trying to address these issues, and before him it was a certain Ed Miliband.  It takes a big man to admit he failed, really inspires confidence.

He also brings up again his ridiculous tuition fees policy - which I've already pointed out just how stupid and regressive it is.

However there was one thing left that I did like the emphasis:

"...we must end the cosy cartels of the way top pay is set in our economy."

I've said before that although company directors (following good corporate governance procedures) don't set their own pay, they effectively do.  Remuneration at the biggest companies (that follow good corporate governance) is set by a remuneration committee, made up of None Executive Directors - who tend to be Executive Directors of other companies and therefore it is in their interest to push up market levels.  Then however he just goes into coalition bashing mode...

"And yet at the same time they are straining at the leash to cut the 50p tax rate for people earning over £3,000 a week."

Who is it who's stopping this - that's right the Liberal Democrats.

He then goes back into the land of being subjective, this time not with the tax system but with welfare:

Do we treat the person who contributes to their community the same as the person who doesn’t?
My answer is no.

My answer Ed is that we give to the people with the greatest need and not just the people who some bureaucrat thinks are worthy!  I'd expect that sort of drivel from a Tory back bencher but not from a Labour party leader - come to your senses!  Yes it should always pay to work, but we should protect the most vulnerable, not just those who've managed to do charity work/keep their lawn tidy!

Overall the "New Bargain" just sounded like the "New Deal" but they couldn't think of a good name.  

The whole speech is actually completely hypocritical when you consider the new darling of the Labour party and how his family represent everything that Miliband says they are against.  I recommend everyone reads this blog to emphasise just how hypocritical:

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