Today I went Senate House at the University of London to hear Ed Miliband in a wide ranging speech that included plans to create a more competitive banking system.
Miliband’s speech was much more than a headline catching initiative on banking reform. It was a confidently delivered address followed by an accomplished question and answer session. Questions came from party members and from well- known journalists. The latter were mostly pre-prepared and consequently required Miliband to repeat the points he had already made in his speech.
He talked about the kind of economy that Labour would create. Labour does not want to perpetuate a low paid, low skilled, low value added economy. The long term cost of living problem has created an economy where people work with very little certainty about the future, unable to afford to buy a house, to meet fuel costs and to feel confident about the prospects for their children.
It was against this background that Labour is proposing structural economic reforms, first to the energy market and now to the banking system. The heavy concentration of the banking industry in a few hands makes it difficult to meet the needs of the wider economy, especially the vital SME sector.
It is rather simplistic to report on the banking reform without acknowledging the wider context of the need for a high value economy, capable of innovation and investment.
Miliband put the need for deficit reduction in its proper context. It is important to the public finances. It is not, in itself, an economic policy.
He also said several times that a high growth economy needed to be spread across the Regions of Britain.
All in all, a well delivered speech offering a cogent case for voting Labour.
by Roger Truelove, County Member for Swale Central and Borough Councillor for Chalkwell Ward