Ed Miliband has called for greater patriotism about British industry in order to secure an economy recovery.
He attacked the government for being “wedded to the old orthodoxies”. However the Labour leader trod carefully, at pains to avoid a repeat of the "British jobs for British workers" row which engulfed his predecessor Gordon Brown.
Speaking this morning at the EEF National Manufacturing Conference, he said:
“We should not be embarrassed about the need for more patriotism in our economic policy.
"It is patriotic to have an active government using all the means at its disposal to give competitive British firms every chance to succeed”
Miliband said that the government should show pride in British manufacturing, regardless of whether the firms are headquartered in the country or internationally owned. This, he said, is part of his campaign for a “responsible capitalism”.
The Labour leader threw his weight behind a campaign for a “Made in Britain” mark, saying it deserved cross-party support. However, he deliberately avoided the outrage caused by his predecessor, Gordon Brown, when he called for “British jobs for British workers”. Miliband said:
“Opposition to protectionism was right. Propping up lame ducks or putting up trade barriers is something to which we will never return because protectionism is what governments reach for when they don’t believe firms can compete.
Miliband attacked the government “snobbery” and “lack of pride” towards engineering after it emerged that the engineering diploma would be downgraded and be worth just one GCSE.
“What signal does that give to young people thinking what they might do in the world?” he said.