A speech made for ‘Britain’ as Miliband ignores Scotland

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By a Newsnet reporter
 
In a speech long on lofty aims and short on specifics Ed Miliband adopted the stance taken by all Labour leaders when out of power – Labour are for the wealth creators and against the asset strippers.
 
This message was confused somewhat when Miliband claimed all parties had to be pro-business and revealed he believes the legislation in the eighties that saw Unions neutered was correct.

By a Newsnet reporter
 
In a speech long on lofty aims and short on specifics Ed Miliband adopted the stance taken by all Labour leaders when out of power – Labour are for the wealth creators and against the asset strippers.
 
This message was confused somewhat when Miliband claimed all parties had to be pro-business and revealed he believes the legislation in the eighties that saw Unions neutered was correct.

Mr Miliband wants ‘change’ and claimed to have taken on Rupert Murdoch over the phone hacking scandal.  Distancing himself from former leaders Blair and Brown he insisted he would be his own man.

A series of predictable targets kept the faithful happy as Rupert Murdoch was verbally pelted over the phone hacking scandal.  Sir Fred Goodwin followed – he didn’t deserve his knighthood claimed Miliband – as the crowd applauded and cheered. 

Miliband introduced the ‘British’ theme and listed the crises hitting ‘our country’ – riots, phone hacking and MPs expenses.  All three of course English in origin, the expenses only crossing the border by virtue of Labour MPs like Jim Devine.  The disregard for Scotland continued; the riots, claimed Mr Miliband, was “a terrible moment for Britain”.

The confused ‘Britain’ theme persisted when Mr Miliband used the English University fee example to claim that young people entering further education “will be punished with tens of thousands of pounds of debt.”  Any hopes that Labour would re-introduce free education in England were dashed when he pledged to keep the fees but introduce a cap of £6000.

Mr Miliband talked of the NHS under threat from David Cameron – seemingly oblivious to the fact that the NHS in Scotland is under the control of the Scottish government.

Claiming that Ed Balls was the only person to criticise the UK coalition’s economic strategy a year ago was just bizarre given that Alex Salmond and John Swinney have been banging on about the Tory/LibDem coalition’s cuts agenda for 18 months.

The specifics, what there were, included a demand for VAT to be reduced – a decent enough idea.

However claiming that selling council house stock in the eighties was a good idea was perplexing given the dreadful housing shortage that persists today in ‘Britain’ and Scotland.  The Scottish government have stopped this social ‘asset stripping’ and the Scottish people will benefit from this policy.

Attacks on energy cartels and a demand for a “competitive” tax system to help businesses will be viewed in Scotland as ironic.  The Scottish government has been pleading for corporation tax powers in order to help business but were stonewalled by Labour.

On energy, Ed Miliband was part of the last Labour government who did nothing about the discriminatory grid charging system that penalises Scottish generators and we are still waiting for the £200 million Fossil Fuel Levy that Labour withheld.

This was a speech labelled as ‘British’, but this wasn’t so much British as English.  The speech didn’t just leave Scotland out of the ‘British’ equation; it treated Scotland as though we didn’t even exist.

A poll released yesterday indicated that Ed Miliband is not popular amongst Scots.  After this performance, Miliband will be praying that Scots do not treat Labour with the same level of indifference that he treated Scotland.

The saddest part of this speech is that the many examples of ‘devolution indifference’ that peppered the speech will be ignored by our own Scottish media.  If you don’t believe me then take a look at the ‘coverage’ on tonight’s Reporting Scotland.

Full speech here: http://www.labour.org.uk/ed-milibands-speech-to-labour-party-conference