Ed Miliband Gives Fightback Speech As His Leadership Remains Under Pressure (Video)
Ed Miliband has attempted to distance himself from his predecessors in a landmark speech aimed at clawing back the political initiative.
The Labour leader's speech comes after a difficult week for his party, with twitter gaffes, and his own guru questioning his leadership. His ideas on responsible capitalism and focus on the squeezed middle have been appropriated by the coalition government, and he has been forced to defend himself from accusations he is dragging his party down.
During a speech to London Citizens on Tuesday morning, Miliband set out a new approach, telling audience members: "The ideas which won three elections between 1997 and 2005 won’t be the ideas which will win the election in 2015."
As bookies slashed their odds on Ed Milband being outsted before the next general election from 10/1 to 2/1, Miliband outlined how Labour would govern in an age of austerity.
He said that Labour would still deliver value in "tough times": "Our values are more, not less important when there is less money around. However tough times are, I believe in a simple truth. Politics can always make a difference."
The leader of the opposition said his party would have to change and make "difficult choices if elected in 2015 to govern Britain to reduce the deficit. "The failure of George Osborne's economic policy creates a different landscape for 2015."
Miliband proposed that major government contracts should only go to firms who offer apprenticeships, and Labour would conduct a review into "short termism" in companies and advocate putting an employee on remuneration committes.
Fleshing out his concept of the state delivering "something for something",at both "the top and bottom of society", Miliband said council houses should go to "good neighbours" and people who give back to their communities.
He pledged to regulate train companies, saying the government should limit fare increases for every regulated train fare "not just the routes fewer people use."
And he said Labour would accept cuts to the winter fuel allowances, but would regulate if energy companies failed to offer those over 75 the cheapest tariffs. Miliband claimed no company was "too big to challenge".
"My answer is different. Different to this Prime Minister. And different too to the previous Labour Government," Miliband said.
The Conservatives were quick to criticise the Labour leader, with deputy chairman Michael Fallon saying: “He's learned nothing from the past so he can’t be trusted in the future.”