Labour’s Miliband Rules Out Deal with Scottish Nationalists

British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband on Thursday ruled out a coalition with the Scottish National Party if his party falls short of a parliamentary majority next month.

“If the price of having a Labour government is a deal or coalition with the SNP, it’s not going to happen,” Miliband said during a Q&A session with voters that was broadcast by the BBC. Read more “Labour’s Miliband Rules Out Deal with Scottish Nationalists”

Miliband Says Labour Fiscally Sound, Tories Irresponsible

British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband in Glasgow, Scotland, August 8, 2014
British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband in Glasgow, Scotland, August 8, 2014 (Stephen Fyfe)

Labour leader Ed Miliband tried to turn the way Britain’s two largest political parties are typically seen on its head on Monday, claiming his was fiscally responsible whereas the Conservatives were “throwing promises around” with no idea how to pay for them.

Miliband was speaking in Manchester where he unveiled the Labour Party’s manifesto for the May election. He insisted the plan did not contain a single policy that wasn’t “paid for without a single penny of extra borrowing.” Read more “Miliband Says Labour Fiscally Sound, Tories Irresponsible”

Anti-Business Mentality Blinds Labour to Health Improvements

Blinded by its anti-business mentality, Britain’s Labour Party would roll back liberalizations in the National Health Service if it wins the election in May, leader Ed Miliband said on Friday.

Miliband said in London his party would halt the “tide of privatization” he claims has taken place in health care since the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats came to power in 2010. Although it was Labour that brought private contractors into the system in the first place while the rate at which services are outsourced has actually slowed under the current government.

No matter. Under the next Labour government, Miliband said, private firms would have to reimburse the National Health Service if they exceed a 5 percent profit cap on contracts. Read more “Anti-Business Mentality Blinds Labour to Health Improvements”

Miliband Seen Benefiting Most from Sky News Debate

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband did much to boost his credibility as a potential prime minister in interviews broadcast by Sky News Thursday night.

By contrast, David Cameron, the incumbent, seemed caught off guard by presenter Jeremy Paxman’s grilling. He was forced to admit that his party had failed to keep its promise to bring down the national debt and only conceded after being asked several times that he would not be able to live off a zero-hours contract either. Read more “Miliband Seen Benefiting Most from Sky News Debate”

Britain’s Miliband Proposes More State Interventionism

British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband answers questions from reporters, May 3, 2013
British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband answers questions from reporters, May 3, 2013 (Paul Bednall)

British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband proposed more state interventionism in an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday, calling for energy price cuts and higher taxes on the rich.

The socialist complained falling oil prices had yet to benefit consumers and proposed to give the state regulator “the power to cut prices to bring immediate relief.”

We see wholesale costs go down 20 percent in gas prices over the last year and no reduction in bills.

Prices have actually come down. Petrol is at its lowest since March 2010.

Moreover, with tax comprising over 70 percent of petrol prices, falling oil prices can only affect prices at the pump so much.

Miliband did not propose to reduce gasoline taxes. He did previously say he would freeze energy rates for two years if his party comes to power after May’s election and also threatened to confiscate private lands if developers did not build more homes.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who leads the ruling Conservative Party, described those proposals as “nuts”.

The liberal Adam Smith Institute’s Victoria Freeman wondered at the time how energy companies would remain solvent if Labour prevents them from passing increased costs onto consumers.

It could come down to a choice between cutting investment, returns to investors or staffing costs. Given that energy companies’ largest shareholders include [British] pension funds, none of these options are appealing.

The Telegraph‘s Janet Daley also warned that cutting energy companies’ profits “would reduce the amount of tax revenue they produce for a government drowning in debt.” She cautioned, “The new Miliband revivalism brings back the threat of nationalization and state seizure that did so much to wreck the prospects of postwar British industry.”

In his Sunday interview, the Labour leader also defended his plan to tax expensive homes and high incomes even if estimates show neither would raise much revenue. Labour’s “mansion tax” would probably raise no more than £1.6 billion — total revenue this year is £648 billion — while its proposed 50 percent income tax rate for high earners would raise nothing.

“These stunts don’t work,” argues The Spectator‘s Fraser Nelson, “but Miliband isn’t interested in what works. He’s interested in what focus groups like the sound of, which is why he’s a fundamentally unserious politician.”

Labour is nevertheless virtually tied with the Conservatives in opinion polls. Because Britain’s electoral system benefits the left, chances are it will win a plurality, but not a majority, of the seats in Parliament.

Hysterical Conference Speech Shows Miliband Is Unfit to Lead

British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband in Glasgow, Scotland, August 8
British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband in Glasgow, Scotland, August 8 (Stephen Fyfe)

In a rambling conference speech on Tuesday, Labour Party leader Ed Miliband once more made clear why he’s unfit to lead Britain. The country of haves and have nots that he imagines simply does not exist, nor are voters prepared for the class warfare he propagates.

Speaking in Manchester, Miliband insisted most Britons “feel the country doesn’t work for them.” There is a “tiny majority at the top” that is doing well, he said; “the game is rigged in favor of those who have all the power” while the rest of the country is suffering “misery, hardship and injustice.”

The socialist leader excoriated Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives for supposedly looking out only for bankers, big business and millionaires. “A Tory economy is always an economy for the few,” he said. “Because that’s who they care about.”

These are not unfamiliar themes for Miliband. He year ago, he claimed from the same podium that the benefits of Britain’s recovery were being “scooped up by a privileged few.” The year before, he chastised “predatory” businesses and “wealth strippers” in his conference speech and said ordinary Britons were being “squeezed by runaway rewards at the top.”

The message isn’t resonating. Because except for diehard Labour supporters, the British people know Miliband’s is not the real world.

It were the diehard Labour supporters whom the speech was for, though, writes Dan Hodges, a former Labour Party and trade union official, in The Daily Telegraph.

“Ed Miliband didn’t even try to present himself as a prime minister,” he argues. “To do that necessitated him reaching out over the heads of the assembled delegates and into the country. He had no interest in reaching out beyond his delegates. Instead, he delivered a speech designed to move his party painlessly back into its comfort zone.”

Hodges remembers the promises from four years ago when Miliband was elected leader. “Lessons had to be learned. Pages turned. The status quo confronted. It would, he told us, be a whole new politics.”

“And think where it has ended,” writes Hodges. “With a Labour leader pledging to his audience he would raise taxes to boost public-sector spending. Vowing to break up the banks but veto reform in the NHS,” the National Health Service. “And saying nothing — literally nothing — on immigration, law and order, welfare reform, the deficit or the macroeconomy.”

Miliband warned in his speech that the Conservatives would like talk much about the past in the upcoming election campaign whereas he wanted to discuss the future. Which is unsurprising because Labour’s record is abysmal.

Before the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats came to power in 2010, Britain’s budget deficit equaled 12 percent of GDP, or £163 billion. The national debt had reached a record high of £857 billion.

During the preceding thirteen years of Labour rule, education and health spending had more than doubled while tax rates remained almost unchanged. More than 20 percent of the country’s workforce ended up employed by the government. Almost 30 percent of public spending went to an enormously complicated and complex welfare regime which still left many in financial despair. Nearly four of Britain’s twenty million households had no one who earned a wage.

The coalition set out to change those numbers — with some success. Borrowing in the fiscal year that ended in March was £108 billion, or 6.6 percent of economic output. The fiscal improvement was largely due to economic growth because public spending has continued to rise in real terms while some tax rates were cut.

Two million Britons have found employment in the private sector since the coalition came to power, more than making up for the 400,000 job losses in the public sector. There is even a record number of Britons in work.

For all Labour’s laments, welfare still makes up 30 percent of government spending. But there have been reforms. Various benefits for which unemployed Britons could apply have been combined into a single Universal Credit, making the system both more accessible and less vulnerable to fraud. A cap has also been introduced on the total amount of benefits working age Britons can receive so they cannot get more in welfare than the average worker takes home in wages.

If that’s the sort of policies Miliband intends to overturn, it’s no wonder even one in four Labour voters has more confidence in David Cameron to run their economy than in their own leader.

Miliband Won’t Link Scottish Devolution to English Autonomy

British Labour Party Ed Miliband on Sunday rejected as a “back of the envelop, fag packet” calculation Prime Minister David Cameron’s proposal to link further devolution to Scotland to a ban on Scottish lawmakers voting on English affairs.

“We have spent two years trying to keep our country together,” Miliband told the BBC’s Andrew Marr three days after Scottish voters rejected independence from the United Kingdom in a referendum. “Let’s not drive our country apart because David Cameron thinks it is an opportunity for him to do it.” Read more “Miliband Won’t Link Scottish Devolution to English Autonomy”

The Royal Mail Wasn’t Privatized to Raise Money

A Royal Mail post box in London, England, July 26, 2011
A Royal Mail post box in London, England, July 26, 2011 (Tim Miller)

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband took David Cameron to task during Prime Minister’s Questions this week over the sale of Britain’s Royal Mail. Citing a National Audit Office report from last month that said the country could have raised an additional £750 million had it sold the post office’s shares at the price they fetched the day the company went public, Miliband claimed the shares had been “flogged off” at “mate’s rates” to the premier’s “friends in the City,” London’s financial center.

Royal Mail’s shares spiked 38 percent on their debut on the stock market last year. On Friday, they sold at 66 percent more than their initial offering.

Cameron rightly pointed out that the sale had still raised £2 billion for the taxpayer but that was hardly the most convincing counterargument to Miliband’s insinuations. Rather, the more convincing argument was made by the liberal Adam Smith Institute’s Madsen Pirie who argued that the aim of the privatization was “not to raise the greatest possible sum for the government but to turn a state run corporation into a successful and flourishing private business.”

Privatization was always a political as well as an economic act. Its major aim was to replace state ownership and direction of industry by commercial and (where possible) competitive private-sector activity. It did so because the private sector is exposed to improving disciplines absent from nationalized industries.

No one knew what the “right” price for the Royal Mail was, Pirie further points out. Since the company had not been traded in the private sector, nor attracted private investment before, it was impossible to predict at how much the market would value it. “The pricing was cautious,” he notes, “because government wanted a successful launch into the private sector more than it wanted the highest possible price.”

Moreover, it retained a 30 percent share in Royal Mail to sell at a later time — at a higher price.

Altogether, then, the Royal Mail’s privatization was handled well and can rightly be considered an achievement of Cameron’s administration, Miliband’s hysterics notwithstanding.

Labour Leader Paints Ruling Conservatives as Uncaring Elite

Under the slogan of “One Nation Labour,” British opposition leader Ed Miliband on Tuesday launched a tirade of class divisiveness, painting Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives as an uncaring elite that cuts public services for the poor. “They used to say a rising tide lifts all boats,” he said. “Now the rising tide just seems to lift the yachts.”

Miliband, who defeated his older brother David in a leadership contest after the 2010 election in which Labour lost power, distanced himself in a speech to party faithful gathered in Brighton in the south of England from the centrist “New Labour” policies of former prime minister Tony Blair, saying economic benefits were being “scooped up by a privileged few.”

“David Cameron and George Osborne,” Britain’s finance minister, “boast that they fixed the economy but for hard-working families life is getting harder not easier,” he said. “Unless we put things right, it will only be a recovery for the few.” Read more “Labour Leader Paints Ruling Conservatives as Uncaring Elite”