Labour conference pledges under scrutiny from Andrew Neil

 
Ed Miliband Ed Miliband divided British companies into good and bad

Party conferences are a maelstrom of things said that don't turn out to be quite accurate or don't manage to last the week.

That's true of all party conferences but we're in Liverpool with Labour so let's look at some examples from here.

Ed Miliband used yesterday's keynote speech to divide British companies into good and bad or "predator" and "producer".

But I couldn't get any Labour spokesmen to give me examples of either.

Mr Miliband singled out Southern Cross as a baddie, a private equity company that presided over the bankruptcy of old folks' homes and a business track record to be ashamed of.

Since Labour sometimes speaks as if private equity is synonymous with asset-stripping perhaps it is filing private equity under bad. But the AA, RAC, Boots, United Biscuits (McVities, Jacob's Cream Crackers) and several other household companies are all owned by private equity - and few would regard them as bad.

The Labour leader also singled out John Rose, the former boss of Rolls Royce, as the best of British presiding over a good, producer company.

But Sir John has just joined Rothschild's, a City banker that specialises in mergers and acquisitions - and M&As can sometimes involve asset stripping. So do we now remove him from the good file and stick him in the bad?

Then there was the party's new poster boy, 16-year-old Rory Weal who wowed the conference with his tale of being one step away from destitution only to be saved by the welfare state.

Jo Coburn interviews Rory Weal on Tuesday's Daily Politics

His family did indeed fall on hard times but it was from a pretty wealthy base (a £2m+ house).

This is no tale of grinding working class poverty - which meant this nice middle class lad was soon living in a decent house in Kent again (he had to move from private school to grammar school - which not everybody will regard as a sacrifice).

As an example of words that don't last the day, never mind the week, let me finish with Ivan Lewis.

Labour's Culture secretary called yesterday for a register of journalists, from which they be struck off for bad behaviour.

This caused a huge backlash with media from the left and right attacking the idea of journalists working under licence. By early evening the party had quietly ditched the whole idea.

Soon we'll be out of Liverpool and on to Manchester, where no doubt the Tories will erect a similar Potemkin Village.

I'll tell you the truth of what's behind it when I get there.

 
Andrew Neil, Presenter, The Daily Politics and Sunday Politics Article written by Andrew Neil Andrew Neil Daily and Sunday Politics

Responding to Davey interview critics localisation->translate("watch"); ?>

Andrew Neil's response to criticism in a Guardian Blog and on Twitter to his Sunday Politics interview with Ed Davey.

Watch Andrew's report

More on This Story

Comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
 

Comments 5 of 45

 

This entry is now closed for comments

Features

  • Bad resultsBlame game

    The best excuses to use when exam results don't make the grade


  • Police respond to a shooting in Santa MonicaTrigger decision

    What really happens before a police officer fires his gun?


  • Child injured by what activists say were two air strikes in the north-eastern Damascus suburb of Douma (3 August 2014)'No-one cares'

    Hope fades for Syrians one year after chemical attack


  • Lady AlbaGoing Gaga Watch

    Social media's use ahead of the independence referendum


  • Pro Israel activists hold a banner reading 'Against Anti-Semitism and hate of Israel' at a demonstration as part of Quds Day in Berlin, Germany, 25 July 2014'Rising tide'

    Do statistics support claims that anti-Semitism is increasing?


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.