Tonight’s YouGov/Sun poll has topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 43%, LDEM 8%. Yesterday’s 2 point lead looks like it was just a blip, and the 6 point leads we’ve seen from YouGov lately are restored. Tomorrow will be the first chance to see if Ed Miliband’s speech has had any impact, though lots of the fieldwork will be done before people see the news tonight or the newspaper reaction tomorrow, so worth waiting until Thursday before drawing any conclusions.

509 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 37%, LAB 43%, LDEM 8%”

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  1. One example would be Royal Mail with its repeated attempts to prepare for privatisation, both as a political imperative and to line all the baord members’ pockets.

    But what it needs is medium to long term planning that assumes public ownership and not a need for streamlining and job shedding to please some future asset stripping buyers.

    Workers on the boards with real say. Who can argue for alternatives to job losses and sell offs.

  2. Ed Miliband’s speech, for me, was a protrayal of ethical socialism, in the traditions outlined by Martin Pugh’s book: Speak to Britain, the sort of socialism which Hardie, the early Macdonald and Mr Bevin espoused.

    Whether it is feasible for a government to decide which businesses or individuals/families are in fact ethical is another matter, but it was, I think, an authentic speech.

    Hopefully Ed Miliband is growing into his role, and if the polls are correct about the Lib Dems flat lining, we may be into a tough fight between the Conservatives on the centre right and the modern Labour Party on the centre left.

    I am always a sucker for this, but I think Ed believes in something, more than just being in power.

  3. CROSS BAT 11
    I fully agree with your post on the Conference,

    Thank you

  4. To anthony wells.

    Please can some one explain why two posts went into moderation.

    many thanks

  5. @ oldnat

    Why the disparaging of being proud to be Scottish and British – it’s a widely shared perception- and is not an exclusively Tory notion.

    Ed has focused for large parts on reserved matters – but much of the speech was about values that would inform policy and as such was relevant.

    @ Amberstar

    You were with Sarah Boyack. Has she any intentions of standing as leader. She would beat the presently announced candidates hands down I reckon – and would be quite effective as a contrast to the bombast of Salmond ( Gray mirroring it never worked)

  6. Polly Toynbee:

    “Miliband spoke only what is commonplace among most people, centre-ground stuff – but rare from politicians nervous about the might of vested interests and donors. He broke the spell and said what people think and what they tell focus groups: the system is too often rigged by the few against the many.”

    Now I know quoting Polly tends to send at least one crotchety Tory frothing at the mouth, but the reason I’m quoting it it is something I didn’t quite realise…Ed was saying EXACTLY what nearly every working thinks and/or feels. The surprising thing is not what he said, but actually that any politician on the main stage says it at all…rather like that moment when you found yourself holding your breath when he suddenly demanded Rebekkah Brooks head from David Cameron.

    Now it’s out in the open…Britain is run by an old boys’ network of bankers and corporate asset strippers who have long insisted that they have the right (as free market wealth creators) do do anything they like. Their mouthpiece was the Murdoch press and Governments of both hues dared not argue with that “right”.

    Let’s see Labour and Conservative and Lib Dem all accept the new reality that people want those cartels broken up.

  7. @Sergio – “Such an obviously unworkable and infantile idea it’s incredible a Labour leader could come up with it.”

    and – “Alec, the problem with every single example you’ve come up with is that they can be circumvented by clever accountants.”

    To be perfectly honest Sergio, you’re talking complete rubbish. I say this as a businessman who employs a clever accountant to do my company and personal tax returns.

    Of the examples I quoted, perhaps the most difficult to nail would the salary multiplier, but the data is already within government under income tax returns anyway.

    Things like land holding taxes are easy – Land registry has every transaction already logged in great detail.

    Investment allowances and help for apprenticeships – this is your most silly dsmissal. Why on earth would clever accountants want to avoid being given money by the government? Daft. And removing tax relief on debt interest payments is extremely straightforward.

    Tax avoidance is always an issue, but from your posts I can only conclude that you either don’t know a great deal about company taxation or you’re inherently biased.

    @Amberstar (a clever accountant) backs me up and points to the example of Germany, who for 6 decades have constructed a regulatory and tax regine to encourage manufacturing and export very successfully.

    I think some of the reaction from big business to Ed’s speech shows how bad much of big business has been, and I really think they fail to grasp what has happened and what must change.

    I think Ed is onto a very strong theme which will become the accepted norm for the future, replacing the 1980s settlement.

    I would also agree that his speech and delivery is dreadful. So uninspiring, so dull, and so off putting. He’s a wonk, and a really good one, but he remains a wonk.

    The Tories will be somewhat nervous as they too realise that wholehearted support of business is not going to be what defines politics for the next thirty years. They will be less worried about Ed personally, but Ed’s boiling up a theme, and a few funding scandals or high profile rapacious business stories and the theme catches fire.

  8. @NickP,

    I rather think you have your timeline mixed up. I don’t remember Ed M being a lone voice in the wilderness howling about the Murdoch empire, corrupt bankers etc.

    What I remember is the crash happening, then New Labour turning on their old friends the bankers.

    What I remember is the Milly Dowler story breaking, the country’s stomach turning, then Ed calling for Rebekah Brooks’ resignation (incidentally something that wasn’t in Cameron’s gift, and which let’s be honest was looking pretty certain by that point).

  9. @Neil A, @NickP,

    “I rather think you have your timeline mixed up. I don’t remember Ed M being a lone voice in the wilderness howling about the Murdoch empire, corrupt bankers etc.”

    I don’t remember it being Ed M either nor any other red or blue voice. It was being said, though. I seem to recall it was someone who had previously been regarded as a saint and a sage.

  10. NEILA

    “What I remember is the crash happening, then New Labour turning on their old friends the bankers.

    What I remember is the Milly Dowler story breaking, the country’s stomach turning, then Ed calling for Rebekah Brooks’ resignation”

    ……….and I remember EM being Secretary of State for Energy in 2008 & 2009 , and not doing anything about energy prices, then becoming Leader of the Opposition and slating Energy companies .

    Incidentally Neil , the young Rory Wheal does indeed have an interesting family background :-)

  11. @neil A – you’re right, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a negative for Ed. He certainly articulated the responsibility agenda well ahead of the crowd, and Tory critics attacking Labour for criticising things that happened on their own watch should be careful. Labour in 1992 found the same problem, in not knowing whther to attack their opponents as the same old Tories or flip floppy new ones. All their attacks served to highlight the Tories had changed.

    One last thought on how taxation can produce desired results. While people can argue about the validity of the policy (and I have severe doubts myself about the social impacts of this) but Ed Milliband designed the Feed in Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive schemes to promote green energy. Guess what – we have an absolute explosion of green energy development with thousands of jobs being created.

    These are the kind of things Ed is talking about, and he is no longer content to sit back and let business just get on with it. The Tories are talking exactly the same thing with their ‘nudge’ theory, but Ed has applied it to business as well as people, and has beefed it up to deal with unpleasant aspects of business behaviour.

    What’s not to like about that?

  12. @Colin – “and not doing anything about energy prices,”

    Not true. Several important but unheralded changes to competition and market entry details, all conducted through Ofgem. There was a good deal of work being done on the grid operators too, another major stumbling block to new generation capacity. Unsexy, so you never heard about them. The energy companies didn’tlike Ed and tried to get him moved, if the rumours are true.

    You can argue about the impacts of these, but the power companies were relieved Labour lost.

  13. Apologies for going back to previous thread

    “So if Con & Lab are neck and neck and LD are stuck at 10-11%…what’s that mean with the new boundaries?
    Small Labour lead in seats? Small majority or hung parliament?”

    For the New English boundaries the GE2010 polling would have given a nominal seat allocation for England only as follows:
    Con 292 , Lab 173, LD 36

    Assuming from your figures Con and Lab both on approx same 37%(?) and LD on 11%. This means Con has no change from GE2010, Lab is +8 on GE2010 and LD is -14 on GE 2010.

    Assuming UNS (very unlikely as Ashcroft survey has shown) then:

    Lab would gain 44 Con seats and 5 LD Seats (plus 49)
    Con would lose 44 seats but gain 19 LD seats (minus 25)
    LD would lose 24 seats (minus 24)

    The new English only seat distribution would be:
    Lab 173 + 49 = 222
    Con 292 – 25 = 267
    LD 36 – 24 = 12

    So if we had an English only assembly/parliament:

    Majority of 33 with only 37% of the vote, opposition level in popular vote. Reminds you of that dastardly Mr Blair and his majority of 66 with 36%, mind you he was at least 3% ahead of the opposition. Nevertheless, what’s to be done about such an obviously gerrymandered built in Conservative bias….grossly unfair..outrageous..something needs to be done about this. Marjorie, take down this letter to the editor of the Daily Mail..

    I’ve got it by jove, we’ll have a boundary review..ah, erm. wait, oh……………………….

    Sorry, couldn’t resist that

  14. Neil A

    “What I remember is the Milly Dowler story breaking, the country’s stomach turning, then Ed calling for Rebekah Brooks’ resignation (incidentally something that wasn’t in Cameron’s gift, and which let’s be honest was looking pretty certain by that point).”

    That’s true, and I don’t want to make Ed M out to be anything more than a politician here. But what happened was he stood up in the House of Commons and demanded that Cameron join him in calling for Brooks head. Cameron recoiled and hid for three days before standing up and saying the same.

    It was a bold, bold call but just how eefective can be seen by how quickly people are forgetting what a vice like grip Murdoch had on our politicians…and now it’s gone.

    If nothing else, Ed M played a part in that, and railroaded Cameron into doing the same. Whatever else you think, that’s what effective opposition should do and I still say that Cameron should be grateful (even if he doesn’t yet know it) to be out from under Murdoch’s heel.

  15. The Producer vs Predator theme has certainly evoked responses!

    I find Janet Daley’s in DT very interesting.

    She writes that, as a former Marxist , she recognises
    “The Old Religion” in EMs speech.

    Pointing out that Financial Services, a globally important sector, manufactures nothing , she opines :-

    “And there is the problem for this childlike view of economic morality and Mr Miliband’s proposal for government intervention to see to it that only “good business” will prosper. You can’t actually tell who is good and who is bad until it’s too late.

    The case he cites of Southern Cross care homes illustrates this point precisely. It was assumed to be a “good” business, providing a vital social service until it collapsed – whereupon we discovered that it had been run in a horrendously “bad” way. Asset-stripping may be Mr Miliband’s favourite pejorative but it is not at all clear how any government would be able to decide which businesses were being irresponsible, and which were simply cost-cutting in the name of efficiency, until long after the dust had settled. Business is a dynamic process – not a succession of clear-cut heroes and villains who can be rewarded and punished with straightforward impunity.”

    Personally I am pleased to see EM’s lurch to the left, and Daley should know a closet Marxist when she sees one-and you don’t need binoculars in the case of Ralph Miliband’s son.

    Having said all that , there are themes here which will have popular appeal and could be translated into feasible legislation if grounded in reality, rather than rhetoric -and I think Cameron should take the opportunity of embracing some of them. After all he has not been shy of calling for specific areas of corporate responsibility.

  16. Colin green

    You have lost your color, its not the pair of 8s is it

  17. With regard to the lib dems low polling at present, I wonder if all that faux rage at their coalition partners during their conference;may have had the unfortunate effect of reminding people that they have form for saying
    one thing and doing another.
    EM very good on Today this morning.Rhetoric may not be
    his metier but I believe that what you say is more important than how it is said.Perhaps Ed should employ
    Anthony Hopkins to read his speeches for him and then
    everyone would be happy.

  18. Having read ed’s speech I have to say that it was horrible. Before anyone get too excited I talking about the style and structure. It reads very monotone and he wonders all over the place. He needs new speech writers who don’t hate him. But the content and ideas were not too bad, I wouldn’t describe it as a lurch to the left, talking about standing up to vested interests is not left wing its liberal. Of course he’s was only talking about vested interests that support and are supported by the blues and to be honest I had a hard time believing him. I have a definite feeling that he was trying to cement the shift from libdem to labour, and it seems to have been a mini theme at the labour conference. His talking about the rigged energy market was a good point and he really should have expanded on it because this winter is going to be very hard for a lot of ordinary folk due to 20% rises in fuel costs. He should have done more to prepare the ground so that he can take full advantage when the backlash against the energy company’s comes(I should mention that when those winter fuel bills start coming in there will be a massive drop in consumer spending) but it will fit into his theme of bad business/good business.

  19. I hear a lot of negative comments about Ed Miliband, but most of these appear to be about what he looks like and not about what he stands for.

    If people were being honest, in percentage terms how much of their view on a person is based on image, rather than the qualities of the person.

    It would be really interesting if YG carried out a poll using fake images of policitians. If they went out in the average UK high street with with two pictures, one of an attractive man dressed well in a suit that fitted and another with a geek looking man, with an illfitting chain store suit, to ask which person they thought would make a better leader.

    I realise this is a tad silly, but I have a feeling that people judge someone by how they look first and then make judgements on their qualities which fit around their appearance. i.e. they see a man that looks like a geek, so they then draw conclusion from one speech that he has no charisma and is not in touch with their world.

    Are we really in the world of X-Factor politics, where the person who wins has the most popular look/personality and not the best voice ?

  20. Ann

    Nobody could have read that speech and made it sound good, it was badly written. Ed needs some serious help there, as I recall his acceptance speech was also badly written. He should fire his speech writers, he might have a delivery problem but he needs to have something well written before he can work on his delivery

  21. R Huckle – they can’t answer it. Some people may judge politicians consciously upon their appearance and mannerisms, but more important is the subconsious affect that it probably has upon us all.

    For example, the CEOs of top American companies tend to be significantly taller than the average american. It suggests that people may be influenced by height (height bias crops up in other areas too), but I bet not a single executive selection committee would actually explain their decision with reference to having picked the tall guy.

    For those with subscriptions to the Times, Danny Finkelstein has an excellent column on it today, with which I entirely concur.

  22. That EM still felt he had to define himself by reference to TB was interesting.

    The Ghost of Thatcher hung over the Conservative Party for years. It wasn’t really until Cameron appeared, that I felt her all pervasive presence had disippated.

  23. Alec

    “To be perfectly honest Sergio, you’re talking complete rubbish. I say this as a businessman who employs a clever accountant to do my company and personal tax returns.”

    I think you say it as a Labour supporter who pretends he’s Green.

    I disagree with you and “clever” Amber about the workability of the “good v bad” proposals, and it’s quite clear that even Labour’s front bench haven’t got a scooby how they would work.

    And, at the end of the day, if businesses don’t like the UK tax regime they will do what they’ve always done and vote with their feet.

  24. AW

    “For those with subscriptions to the Times, Danny Finkelstein has an excellent column on it today, with which I entirely concur.”

    Yes-its a very interesting article.

  25. Anthony

    I saw an article once claiming that height was a bigger determining factor in income levels that social origin, as a small guy myself (5′ 4″) I found this disturbing but I thought there were some large statistical hole in their argument.

  26. Sergio

    Maybe we should cut off their feet

  27. SERGIO

    Quite correct.

    If the UK Tax Codes get any bigger , users will need the same wheelbarrows they require to transport the purchase price to HMSO, in order to take it from the shop.

    And the prospect of keeping/attracting multi national investment will decline with State Tax Revenues.

  28. @Sergio
    ” if businesses don’t like the UK tax regime they will do what they’ve always done and vote with their feet.”

    You mean like all these bankers – and we are still waiting.

  29. My view? Every year it’s the same. I think Conference time is highly overrated and has no lasting impact on the general population who switch off when it turns up on the news. The political chattering classes love it, but that’s it. Those who have to attend, like certain diplomats I know, cant believe how boring it is.

    When did a Conference ever achieve anything? Basically never. Conference is merely a time to get the Leaders being excessively cheered in pseudo-USA style so a news clip can appear in the vain hope that might impact on the voting public.

  30. Liz Hancock

    So you deny that companies use offshore jurisdictions to avoid paying UK tax?

  31. @Amberstar

    Thank you for your reply. I am just catching up on all the comments this morning. Not that I needed convincing, but I will happily support Labour at the next GE. Ed is going to bring in the new politics that the voters so desperately want . It was promised to us by someone else at the last GE but he got tempted by the trappings of power.

  32. Anthony

    So humans are like Chimps. The Alpha male is often the biggest/strongest and when it comes to meal time, they have the first selection from the food available.

    I find the psychology of politics very interesting, as I suspect that the choice in leader, should perhaps take more account of the psychology of voters. I am not sure any parties leadership contest can take this into account and if they ever tried to do it, they would be quite rightly ridiculed. So perhaps in the 21st Century politicial parties should have internal discussions based on psychology, so they only have a range of candidates that appeal to voters. This would perhaps stop people like Ed Miliband, Ian Duncan-Smith and William Hague being selected.

  33. Just read Ed’s conference speech with interest and despite being a very infrequent poster here I felt compelled to comment on it. I’m interested in politics but never really identified with any one party, probably best describing myself as anti-Tory. I’ve never contemplated joining the Labour party, but recently flirted with the Lib Dems (pre-coalition) and lately the Greens. However I found Ed’s speech compelling. Forget the delivery, or how well (badly) written etc it was, but the content, the ideas presented, the values espoused. It really chimed with me and actually moved me emotionally in places. For the first time ever I feel here is a Labour party that I could contemplate joining and working for.

    Now the obvious caveat is that these are simply my personal opinions and many will disagree with the speech and themes. I’m not here to say “wow, wasn’t it great!” – I’m sure many blue and other posters would immediately respond “No it wasn’t!”, but I wanted to chime with @Amberstars comments, that this seems to be a speech for internal consumption, to set an agenda, enthuse the faithful and entice those looking for something to support. It’s very vague, I believe deliberately so, more about setting out a vision the Labour party should spend the next few years working towards rather than a ‘ready for election’ package of manifesto commitments.

    Of course there is a lot of detail to fill in and problems to be solved. I fully understand @Sergio’s comments about the difficulty of using (for example) the tax system to ‘reward’ the right kind of business, but believe just because it would be difficult, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. I’m not about to rush out and fill in a membership form to join the Labour party – I still need some convincing yet, but I do believe this could be the start of a something big.

    I also believe this will have very little impact on polling in the short term. It’s the start of a journey for the Labour party and it will be a year or two before they have anything concrete to hold up before the electorate. However if Ed can keep plugging the theme and raising public awareness of the values he’s championing he could be onto a winner.

    Or this could be another ‘Big Society’

  34. Amber

    I’m curious about why you go on to suggest what should be in a speech that’s already been made… You could probably find a copy on the interweb, if you wanted to know what was actually said.

    I thought that I should follow the lead of the profesional commentariat and not allow my mind to be sullied by reality. Alas, what is said to have been said is usually more important that what actually was said. Politicians aid this by leaking and briefing, so the actual event becomes a tiny sideshow for those in the conference hall. I did see some of it repeated on the TV in the corner of the lounge on the Manannan, shots carefully chosen by Sky News to be as unflattering as possible, but then they went back to a minor medical negligence trial in California.


    OldNat was obviously a bit grumpy after a day’s ditch digging. I think he’s right though in implying how many Americans (obviously not yourself) tend to overlook the messiness of the US’s early history and instead see the result as descended from God perfect in every detail.

    With regard to Jim Murphy, Anthony once pointed out there is absolutely no barrier to a Roman Catholic being PM in Britain. The only restriction is that, reasonably enough, he would not have any control over the appointment of Anglican bishops (though this is usually only nominal anyway). I never understood why Tony Blair delayed his conversion till just after he left office – either it was on Vatican instructions or he was waiting for his sins to really mount up.


    Of course clever accountants will try to get round any attempts to make their clients pay more more money. It’s what they do. Clever people at HMRC should be making the effort to stop them being able to. That’s what they are paid for. It wiould be nice if the management of HMRC were more enthusiastic about this idea than they have been recently, but the principle is clear enough. Governments don’t legalise all criminal activity because lawyers will otherwise try to get their clients off.

  35. For all those of us who don’t get the gnomic conversation above, Danny Finklestein’s article in today’s Times makes the observation that (I paraphrase) Miliband is too dorky and left-wing to get elected. I badly need to point out that Danny got paid stacks for writing that article today, but I made a similar (tho’ not as dismissive) comment on this board for free yesterday.[1]

    [Why does print media still exist? Seriously, why?]

    Regards, Martyn

    [1] h ttp://

  36. You know that lefty-bias that the BBC is so clearly guilty of?

    What about this for a comment from Sian Williams on Breakfast this morning.

    “With Labour languishing badly in the polls…”

    What shocking anti-Tory bias. I don’t know why I pay my licence fee, etc, etc…

  37. Well, of course Miliband should stand up for bankers and tax avoiders.

    After, the centre ground clearly favours those highly popular groups of people.

    What planet do these commentators live on?

  38. It is a shame that politics has become like the X-Factor, based on how some looks/comes across, rather than their qualities and what they stand for.

    If this had been the case in the past, perhaps we may never have seen leaders such as Atlee and Churchill.

    I think Blair and Cameron are people who recognised X-Factor politics. e.g Blairs babes, Camerons A-list of attractive/young candidates.

    I fear that Ed Miliband will not be able to shrug off the ‘goofy’ image which is behind his ratings and that at some point in the next two years, he will stand down. Labour will then go for someone less ‘goofy’.

  39. @SoCalLiberal

    Dupont – where all the cool kids live is how I remember it.

    On the question of Presidents of the United States of America – you are technically correct, those predating the creation of the US were Presidents of the Continental Congress. To argue as OldNat does is akin to saying the Kings of England prior to act of Union were monarchs of the United Kingdom. (while we are on the topic of C18 American history could we cover the issue of back taxes – we could really do with the money right now ;-) )

    OldNat one thing we can agree on is that C4 decision to stop showing every edition of the Daily Show was one of the worst they hav ever made.


    That’s why Ed’s speech was stood out, actually. It was very different & much less media savvy. We knew he would likely get creamed for it, by the commetariat. But we didn’t care.

    Thats what worries me – Labour cant afford to be innsolular and return to the thinking/approach of the ’80’s. The media isn’t going to go away and the party does need it to get its message across. I think there some good ideas/themes in Ed’s speech which could touch a cord with the electorate – but I also suspect one of the reasons why Labour’s lead in the poles is not as large as one would expect is due in part to many voters feeling let down by the party when in power.

  40. I find myself agreeing with Segio and Colin re: business taxes. You only have to see how banks like Barclays now pay such a small percentage of tax. This is basically because they don’t pay UK taxes.

    As for UK companies, you only have to see that many now have moved abroad. The cynic (i.e. realist) in me says that in the vast majority of cases this is BOTH to reduce their tax liabilities AND reduce labour costs.

    A bit like all the singers/stars who now live in Los Angeles. Notice how they always use the ‘I love the sun, excuse’.

    Said like a true cynic, I know.

  41. Presumably Ed M was not a fan of Bad Company.

    I think what you have hit on is crass ignorance rather than bias. Without wishing to be trivial, did you ever see “celebrity” who wants to be a millionaire ? The TV journo, news reader fraternity were in full bloom on the show.
    It was all good looks, beautiful hair, expensive clothes and a general knowledge that can only be described as thick as porcine excreta. Williams had obviously been briefed that Miliband was in the polling doo doo and said Labour rather than Miliband.

  43. RiN

    One wonders, if Ed’s speech writers are so poor, why doesn’t he write his own speeches? Noone knows the message he wants to convey better than himself and frankly the little I caught of the Labour conference made me think it was the “let’s have a pop at the wicked Tories, it’s all THEIR fault” conference.

    I learned nothing about what Labour stands for apart from viscerally opposing the Tories, which isn’t exactly news.

    Then again it seems strategically they aren’t aiming for the centrist vote yet and aiming for cementing the disaffected anti-tory LibDem vote.

  44. @Sergio – well you’ve offered no evidence to support your theory that any attempts to affect business behaviour through financial incentives are doomed.

    In reality, the rest of the world disagrees entirely with you. Financial instruments are seen as being far more effective than straightforward regulation, based on years of experience.

    Like I said before, just look at the Feed in Tariff. I’ve seen various estimates of how many UK jobs this has created (there’s a really good PV manufacturer set up in Consett directly due to this policy, now exporting PV panels to Germany of all places), and it’s clear that incentive based policies can work. I think you’ve assumed that this is all about taxing – it’s not, it’s about differential incentives as much as anything. Perfectly workable with numerous positive examples. The trick is to choose the right target and construct a good policy.

    Mrs A made a telling observation while watching the BBC question Ed’s ideas today. She commented on the somewhat schizophrenic nature of the right’s response to this. In her view, Tories are very quick to promote concepts like ‘family values’, ‘back to basics’ and ‘personal responsibility’ when applied to ordinary people, but seem strangely reticent to extend such basic concepts of behaviour and morality to the world of business.

    @Colin is taking a more balanced view, although his apparent attempt to label Ed as a ‘closet Marxist’ is pretty risible and very funny. At least he does suggest that Cameron should take forward some of Ed’s ideas, which slightly undercuts the notion that these are revolutionary Marxist attacks on the business class, unless we suspect the Tory leader of also being a well disguised commie.

    The bottom line is that if the many objectors to this just stood back and thought it through for a few moments that might see how illogical they are being. Although Ed hasn’t produced clear a policy forumula, the underlying idea is quite simple. As he himsef said in his speech, are we really saying that Fred Goodwin should be judged in the same moral light as John Rose (CEO of Rolls Royce)?

    @Colin quotes Janet Daly and her take on the financial sector. She is completely wrong to say that the financial sector manufactures nothing. In a well functioning economy, it is an absolutely essential part of production, with access to finance a central element to economic development. Has she learned nothing from the credit crunch? Ed sems to be saying we need to move back towards this kind of positive symbiotic relationship between finance and business and business and society. We learned in Victorian days that we couldn’t leave business a free hand, but it’s a lesson everyone seemed to forget in recent decades.

    What we have actually seen is a system that allows the financial sector to become steadily more removed from the broader needs of the economy, with insufficient incentives to develop the investment products needed, with conversely plenty of incentives for the one we don’t want.

    What I find quite sad about this is the partisan nature of the response to Ed’s speech. Had Cameron made this speech, peolpe like @Colin might have been saying things like ‘transformational’ and ‘radical’, but as a Labour leader has said it the comments are ‘Marxist’ (yet with a weird suggestion that the Tories should follow his lead.

    I really don’t get it.

  45. @RiN – got to agree about the construction of the speech. Just awful. As a piece of written work it just doesn’t cut it, and I’m amazed that so many high profile politial figures are so badly served with their speech writing.

  46. Alan

    It could be that ed writes his own speeches, but I doubt it. I’m not picking on his content just the writing skill I’ve lots of stuff that I hated but was well written. But maybe it doesn’t matter it might be that the soundbites are everything and that all political speeches are and will be half a dozen soundbites joined together by meandering well intentioned dullness. If so then its very sad

    “Vested interests” is a buzz phrase for lib dems. That it was used often in ed speech and in other places in the conference make me wake up, there were other things as well that made me feel like they were trying to talk to me. But its all subjective, however greeny’s comment earlier picks up on the same thing. I think its really obvious that the labour leadership having seen the disillusionment of some libdem activists would be trying to gently woo them, for one thing it never hurts to have a few more canvessers and for another it weakens part of the opposition even if activists remain in doubt. I should imagine that many libdem activists that had left were at least slightly tempted to return after last weeks conference(I know I was feeling better) that is something that labour does not want to happen.

  47. @ AmbivalentSupporter

    As for UK companies, you only have to see that many now have moved abroad. The cynic (i.e. realist) in me says that in the vast majority of cases this is BOTH to reduce their tax liabilities AND reduce labour costs.

    And that’s the point we want to stop this type of behaviour – you can set up your tax system / legal system etc to de-incentivise such activity largely by saying if you do business in the UK your taxed in the UK. You can make reckless / anti-social by business subject to criminal prosecution. It is possible – the trick is to avoid making it over complex (which was the trap Brown used to fall in to).

    I think one of the trends we will see in the West is a move away from free trade and belief in uncontrolled ‘free market’ forces – largely as this in the west is increasingly seen as working to the benefit of the few and the increasing loss of middle class jobs (it may be benefiting people in other parts of the world but that won’t cut much weight with voters in the west over the next few years). The loss of highly technical sectors and the infrastructure around them – such as with BAE – are hard to replace once lost. It is incredibly short sighted to let them go to wall due to an ideological support for an economic dogma which takes no account of social cost. I think Ed may be sensing this shift and position Lab to benefit from it.

  48. Danny Finklestein’s comments, while worth considering, should be taken in the context of his very dispiriting time as Conservative policy director under William Hague’s leadership.

    This peroid of the party’s history is indeed fascinating, though Hague himself conceeds that he did not get things right at all. Dispite the effort to portray him as a man of substance, he did indeed bounce from one strategy to the next in an erratic fashion, undermined every step of the way by the Portillista faction.

  49. Danny Finklestein’s comments, while worth considering, should be taken in the context of his very dispiriting time as Conservative policy director under William Hague’s leadership.

    This peroid of the party’s history is indeed fascinating; Hague himself conceeds that he got many things badly wrong. Dispite the effort to portray him as a man of substance, he did indeed bounce from one strategy to the next in an erratic fashion, undermined every step of the way by the Portillista faction.

  50. Apols for the double post

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