‘Two-Faced Ed’ Reinstates Blairism At Cbi Conference

The march to defend the Welfare State last Wednesday – Miliband will support the coalition’s disability benefit cuts
The march to defend the Welfare State last Wednesday – Miliband will support the coalition’s disability benefit cuts

HE pledged to ditch Blairism when elected as the new Labour Party leader, but Ed Miliband made it clear on Monday that he intends to continue the New Labour partnership with business for years ahead.

In his speech to the CBI bosses organisation annual conference in London’s West End, Miliband, speaking as a bourgeois economist, expressed his concerns for capitalism and big business, but showed not the slightest regard for the working class or middle class who will have to pay for the capitalist crisis.

In answer to questions afterwards, the Labour Party leader wished the ToryLibDem austerity programme good luck.

Miliband said: ‘I hope the economic gamble will succeed. I have fears it won’t.’

He told the CBI audience: ‘It is a privilege to have the opportunity to address the CBI Annual Conference as leader of the Labour Party.

‘I want to pay tribute to the work that the CBI does as the voice of British business and I want to pay particular tribute to (CBI director general) Richard Lambert.

‘He has been an outstanding advocate on many issues for progressive business sense.

‘As befits a party that lost the election only five months ago and a leader beginning his fifth week in charge, I am not here to give you my manifesto for 2015, but to set out our direction for the future, and begin the process of engagement we need with you, the wealth creators and entrepreneurs of Britain.’

The working class is clearly, according to Miliband just living off the backs of the ‘wealth creators’.

He continued: ‘New Labour’s insight in the 1990s was to recognise that we needed to be a party that understood wealth creation as well as its distribution, that we needed to be for economic prosperity as well as social justice and that solving our society’s problems could not be done without a partnership between government and business.’

Saying ‘we intend to carry forward all of these New Labour insights’, he continued: ‘Enterprise and job creation are fundamental to the good economy and good society and I will lead a party that understands that at its core.’

Despite his general election pledges, Miliband would clearly carry on with Labour as the party of big business.

He added: ‘The result of the financial crisis is that we have a deficit we need to cut, but the lessons are much deeper.

‘In tackling the deficit, we need to recognise the fundamental weaknesses in our economy that led to it and which we need to put right if we are to have a stronger economic future.

‘Let me start with the deficit.

‘I want to be clear: if we had won power in May, there would have been cuts.

‘We will therefore be selective about the cuts we will oppose and will support.

‘On welfare, we have said that we will work with the government on reforms to Disability Living Allowance, sickness benefits and other areas where there is genuine reform.

‘We will support reforms which bring greater value for money.’

Miliband will be selectively supporting the coalition’s policies, as a progressive critic!

He continued: ‘Now, this audience will know that we have a difference with the government on the pace and scale of deficit reduction. We do believe that a four year timetable for halving the deficit would be a better approach.

‘And, I do fear that the path the government is pursuing is a gamble with growth and jobs.

‘They have a programme which will lead to the disappearance of a million private and public sector jobs but no credible plan to replace them.

‘And their refusal to accept that a deficit reduction plan has to be sensitive to changing economic circumstances needlessly makes the British economy a hostage to fortune. Time will tell whether they turn out to be right.’

The massive issues of the day, and the savage cuts turn out to be mere debating points, not life or death matters for the working class.

Miliband added: ‘But my wider point is this – we don’t just need to pay down the deficit in a way that ensures growth now: we need to understand the causes of the high deficit and the deeper lessons about our economy to prevent a recurrence of the financial crash and build a strong economy for the future.

‘There is a view that the deficit arose solely because of spending choices made in the last decade.

‘In fact, the deficit was 2.4 per cent of national income in 2007/8, broadly the same level as public sector capital investment.

‘It was what happened next that led to a deficit of over ten per cent: a combination of the loss of six per cent of our national income, and the tax receipts that went with them; the consequent rise in benefit spending; and the discretionary decisions to stabilise the economy.

‘Not everything the last government did was right, but if we misread history we will fail to tackle the big structural issues we face in our economy.

‘There are important lessons to be learned about why the deficit went up so significantly and we need a wider plan for our economy which understands these deeper lessons.

‘Without profound change in the way we manage our economy, we are at risk of at best, sleepwalking back to an economy riddled with the same risks as we saw before the recession hit.’

Miliband is dedicated to making capitalism work better.

He added: ‘First, a new system of financial regulation which avoids a repeat of the crash and creates a banking system that works better in the interests of our economy.

‘Second, a new approach to industrial policy so we have a more balanced economy.

‘And third, we need to do more to create an economy which by supporting everyone to make a decent living, whether in employment or by starting a small business, creates a more stable platform of economic growth.’

Calling for more financial regulation, he said: ‘If government fails to play its proper role, businesses suffer.

‘The financial services industry in Britain is a major employer and it is important that it remains strong.’

He added: ‘We need policy-makers and regulators who recognise that we need stronger rules but also that we need a culture that balances the need to support financial services with the need to protect our wider economy.’

He followed by saying: ‘Secondly, we should learn the lessons of the financial crisis: that we need to more fundamentally reform our economy if we are to broaden our economic base.’

Miliband warned: ‘Despite all the talent in engineering and work in our universities, I fear Britain still suffers from an anti-manufacturing bias.’

Asking ‘where do we need to do better?’ he added that ‘in the absence of commercial finance, sometimes government needs to step in.’

He said: ‘We need to do better in public procurement, where we do not yet do enough to get bang for our buck when it comes to supporting British business.’

He pledged: ‘As an Opposition, a focus on the future sources of prosperity and growth will be at the heart of our policy review.’

In his concluding remarks he said: ‘The change Tony Blair brought to our party rightly made us more open to the business community, but we have not yet done enough to understand the real importance of small business as a way of liberating individuals and creating the economy we need.

‘I want our party to stand up for small business and entrepreneurs.

‘And I look forward to working with you to help create this high wage high productivity economy in Britain.’

He said: ‘I believe we need to take a different and more optimistic approach – an approach that sees deficit reduction as a start not an end and is willing to learn the profound lessons of the crisis.

‘My view is that it is only this that truly serves the interests of British business.’

He concluded: ‘It is the pro-business approach I will adopt. I look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead.’

There is no difference in Miliband’s approach to that of Blair and Brown when they launched their businessmen’s manifesto in 1997.

It has taken just weeks for Miliband to re-embrace Blairism and give his loyalty oath to the ruling class of bosses and bankers.

There is not a moment to lose in the building up of the revolutionary leadership of the working class to lead the struggle to bring the coalition crashing down to go forward to a planned and nationalised economy and socialism.