Miliband: Politics, philosophy and a slug of new policy


Watch Nick Robinson's report as Labour "walks a tightrope" with the public

A bit of politics, a lot of philosophy and a slug of new policy. That's what we got from the Labour leader Ed Miliband today.

His backing for the idea of a cap on social security spending - or at least that bit of it which doesn't go up simply because of rising unemployment - is designed to reassure those voters who tell the pollsters they don't trust Labour to control spending or welfare.

It is impossible to judge the impact of a cap first suggested by George Osborne until he or Ed Miliband spells out what it includes and excludes and what level it will be set at.

What was clear today, however, is the Labour leader's philosophy.

He believes that cutting benefits is not the way to cut the benefit bill. He argues instead for cutting what he calls "the cost of failure" by creating jobs for the young long-term unemployed, building houses and driving down rents and incentivising businesses to pay their staff more.

The newest and most eye-catching policy was the suggestion that those who'd worked for longer but then lost their jobs might get a higher level of benefits.

What all this might mean will, though, be shaped by the most important thing Labour have announced this week: their acceptance that they will have to live with all the coalition's spending cuts unless they can find money from elsewhere - and not from borrowing - to pay for them to be reversed.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    How can one of the two major political parties fundentally change its policies and not get challenged?

    The right wing have UKIP; the left wing have nothing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.


    "...Do you think Labour will bring back grammar schools next?..."


    Someone needs to do something about the fact, that instead of grammar schools for all, comprehensives have usually become secondary moderns for all.

    Little surprise that everything's run by ex-public schoolboys now.

    I think the tories would prefer to keep it that way, whatever they say.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    At least it keeps Michael Gove's back to the future policies off the front page.

    Do you think Labour will bring back grammar schools next?

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    Perhaps courageous to offer rivals the chance to take a better shot, but (even if uncertain) a courageous and welcome address - close to the fundamental - of full employment, decent pay, fair rents. That said, the courage of convictions is undermined by the 'no losers' suspicion, that more isolating poverty might be relied upon to 'inspire' enthusiasm for work that is low-value, low-pay, dead-end

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.


    Spot on and if it was associated with higher investment and better traing than at present it`s a winner.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    So Milibland wants to incentivise businesses to pay their staff more. While he and his Party continue to search for answers to workers problems from within the capitalist cesspit he is bound to come up with ideas that stink of the proverbial!
    Repeal Thatcher's/New Labour's anti-Trade Union laws.
    Bosses wouldn't need handouts to pay their employees more, collective bargaining would see to that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Creating jobs seem a better way of cutting the benefit bill, than the ConDem attempt to starve the sick, disabled and jobless to death to cut numbers of claimants.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.


    Not so,read the quotation from the IFS report,no 34.


    gratuitously unkind remarks.Desist.


    You feel we should elect politicians on their looks?Perhaps you saw Peter Brooke`s cartoon of the cabinet in the `Times` recently standing back to front and entitled `Village People` following the gay marriage debate.


    You have no chance of marrying Zeta Jones.Trust me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    If the richer people do not NEED winter fuel payments or child benefit, do the richest NEED the recent 5% tax cut.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    Let us not forget that the Eds amongst others created the mess we are - spending beyond our means.

    On a separate note, yet another Labour friendly article from Mr Robinson who needs to exercise balance and objectivity when commenting on any political party's policies, plans etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    OK n.36 you wait until you are a pensioner and the only security you have got is a small nest egg of savings, and no way of increasing your income as you are no longer young and fit and able to work. See how brave you feel then.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    I can't believe the greed of some people on here. The lower interest rates are the better, mortgages need to be affordable to help first time buyers, and normal people. This obsession with saving is ridiculous. NO-ONE wants to listen to your plea. There are SOO many more important economic issues out there than your savings!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    The implications are far reaching.It wasn`t government spending but a collapse of private capital that was the problem.Government debt was a consequence.

    Osborne stood the crisis on its head with his mantra of `Labour`s mess`.It was capitalism`s mess which government`s have had to rescue.

    He`s been attacking the wrong target,no wonder we`ve been in a mess.on growth and public services.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    It makes uncomfortable reading but this from the IFS 2008,`Britain facing Recession`.

    ┬ČLabour is entering this recession with a similar structural budget deficit to the one that it inherited from the Conservatives, but with a smaller underlying debt. It remains to be seen whether the structural budget deficit will deteriorate as far under Labour as it did under the Conservatives"

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    The Eds look like Laural and Hardy in cheaper suits. Even if their policies were spectacular and universally agreeable, these two just look like grand buffoonery.

    If his brother got in they'd be dangerous.

  • Comment number 32.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Labour say they'll grow the economy and so won't have to cut. A great idea, but they've about as much chance of pulling that off as I have of marrying Catherine Zeta-Jones. Italy, Spain, Germany, France - all flatlining economies, yet the Eds somehow think they're smarter than them and the rest of Europe also.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Actually quite like what im hearing from Labour, short on detail though it may be. You can't question the Coalitions commitment to defecit reduction but it has failed because its all cuts and no growth. Growth is much better than a cut, and far less painful. Tackling the problems of wages and bringing fairness to the benefit system at least sound like a credible approach to me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Ed Millipede has to find money "elsewhere other than borrowing"?

    Perhaps the unions could chip in

    Where's the irony that Labours change of policy should create in BBC reporting .No where, that's reserved for coalition policy announcements.
    Can we have a fair election with constant BBC bias?

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Hollande came into power on a similar philosophy of jobs and growth in France and he has failed spectacularly.

    It is very easy to say what you want to do Mr Miliband, achieving it is another thing entirely if you haven't got a clue on how to go about doing it.


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