On the eve of Tony Blair's 1997 election victory he told the Labour party conference how he had been inspired by meeting a man, cleaning his Ford Mondeo, who told him that he had voted Conservative in the past because they were the party of aspiration. He believed it was the Conservatives who supported people who wanted to work hard and get on in life. Tony Blair resolved that Labour had to appeal to voters like 'Mondeo man' in order to win.
Ed Miliband in his speech this afternoon stated that the days of Mondeo Man were over; that people no longer felt that if they worked hard they could have a higher standard of living. He neglected of course to make any mention that the biggest single political factor in the life of Britain between Tony Blair's 'Mondeo Man' speech and his today was the 13 years of Labour government, which created the uncontrolled and unsustainable bubble of debt, and a large annual deficit, that we are working hard today to bring down. There was of course no apology for Labour's failings in government, and no sense that they would do anything differently if in power again. They still will not answer the basic question of whether they intend to borrow more and repay the country's debts more slowly than the current government intends to do. The burden of a higher deficit bringing even more debt, will in the long run only undermine living standards in Britain.
Instead of re-examining Labour's policies that got the country such into the mess ahead of the 2010 election, he decided to blame big business. His message was one of higher taxes, and higher costs for businesses, which he believes will have no consequences for the country. Ed Miliband doesn't understand business and has never worked in one. You cannot pretend that small and large businesses have no relation to each other; many smaller businesses work as suppliers for larger businesses. If they have lower revenues to invest, smaller businesses will be the losers. Equally, increasing employment costs will not encourage businesses to spend more, but instead to employ fewer people.
Ed Miliband's pitch was not to Mondeo man, but to 'Allegro man', inspired by the Austin Allegro car that did so much to cement the decline and fall of the British motor industry in the 1970s. He wants to create an aspirational one nation society through more government taxes, state control and regulation. It is an approach that has always failed in the past and will fail again now. Britain needs to compete in the global economy, to attract jobs and investment into this country and back the entrepreneurs who are the wealth creators. That is what the government has been doing, and why we are seeing growth returning, unemployment falling, more businesses trading and exports increasing. That is the best foundation for our future prosperity; a more aspirational economy, rather than a more heavily regulated one.