Coffee House

It isn’t Miliband’s anti-austerity message that should worry the Tories but his pitch for small business support

20 October 2012

Ed Miliband’s speech to the anti-cuts rally today was well-pitched. The lines about how any government would have to make cuts guaranteed him the jeers that he needed to show that he wasn’t pandering to his audience.

What should worry the Tories, though, is not the generic anti-austerity and pro-NHS rhetoric but the direct pitch for small business support. One of the big changes since the 1980s is that those who run small and medium sized enterprises now view the banks as part of the problem not the solution. This provides a significant political opening for Miliband, and one he is intent on exploiting. It’s worth noting that he was in the Tory territory of Bedford yesterday speaking to small businesses that feel they have been done over by the banks.

The coalition has a decent small business agenda around deregulation and tax simplification. But it’ll need super-charging to see off this threat from Miliband.

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Show comments

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  • JabbaTheCat

    As a small business owner of over 35 years, I wouldn’t vote Labour or LibDim under any circumstances…

    • Newsbot9

      Then you certainly don’t sell anything. How many jobs do you destroy?

      • JabbaTheCat

        “How many jobs do you destroy?”

        I create jobs in favourable market conditions and shed jobs when the market contracts…

        • Newsbot9

          So in other words you’re an asset stripper. Good to know.

          • JabbaTheCat

            Dashed, caught out again as a robber baron who worships at the altar of PROFIT!

            • Newsbot9

              It’s like any faith, you have to put up with it’s preachings. For myself, I find the gospel of St. Osbourne especially grating.

              • JabbaTheCat

                A quick pointer to your mum, if I may. She should go easy on the retard juice with your school breakfast during the week…

                • Newsbot9

                  Oh dear, you’ve mixed up your tenses again. Guess that retard drink you drink is strong.

  • The Sage

    I run a small business and there is no way in a million years that Ed Miliband’s so-called pitch will find a receptive ear.

  • alexsandr

    There are 2 things strangling growth, which must come from SME’s, even one man bands.
    1 is regulation. Employment regulation is one but other stuff is as bad. Where is the bonfire of regulation we were promised. Total government failure on that one.
    2 is the banking model is broken. We have too few banks which is uncompetitive. We need to re-kindle the mutuals of old, who take depositis and lend locally. And we need to foster peer to peer lending. Check out Funding Circle, who have lent over £50m in their first 2 years, and the sucessful Zopa doing personal loans. Now peer to Peer lending would be a good subject for a speccie article wouldn’t it???

    • Newsbot9

      1. Employer’s organisations have told the Government that they don’t want the changes. They’re unnecessary, and expensive to adapt to. They will reduce productivity, in fact.

      2, Your second argument is at odds with the first. You want to allow the banks more power to control their capital, not less. You cannot have it both ways.

      And I see, your “funding circle” is spending people’s cash on lobbying for destroying their interests. Sick. (And no, “peer to peer” isn’t about the aristocracy)

  • Nick Reid

    Remind me what Milliband’s actual policies are for small businesses ?

  • 2trueblue

    It is very worrying James that you have such memory loss. Think what Liebore did for 13yrs. This is just the sort of lazy journalism that is rampant.

  • Michael Foot’s Hand

    One only has to read the demented, denying reality, bandwagon comments of the Labour trolls posting here like a rash to understand how bad Miliband would be for Britain. They deal in self-delusion, deceit and lies, then when challenged on it resort to abuse, the standard Labour line.

  • Expat

    Isn’t Ed Miliband Jewish? Surely all the Conservatives have to do is remind the electorate of this, and Labour won’t get any votes from Muslims (perhaps a couple of million voters?).

  • Lambs

    If millibuckle gets in I will close my business and leave the uk. He is an awful prospect for this country.

    • Oedipus Rex

      What, like Tracy Emin?

    • Newsbot9

      Great, and the economy will do better when you’ve stopped destroying value. Leave!

  • David Julian Price

    No one at the Spectator should take anything that Labour says as anything more than naked political opportunism. They are bereft of policies, and the few they still have are simply throwbacks to their ones that got us into this mess in the first place. They have their sticky fingerprints all over this recession, and offer no solutions to get out of it. They’ve presided over the greatest debt and deficit in our history, and will be responsible for the largest drop in living standards for since World War II. How very dare you take anything the moron Miliband says seriously?

    • Newsbot9

      Nope. living standards didn’t really start to fall until the Tories wrecking ball got under way. They, in fact, fell more in the last 6 months than than in the financial crisis. Ah, pesky, facts.

      How DARE people listen to ideologies other than yours! Why, they might not Vote Correctly!

  • Mombasa69

    HE wasn’t expecting to jeered that’s for sure, well the sun doesn’t shine out of your arse like you think it does Mr Milimuppet

  • Anthony Makara

    The SME model is outdated, being too prone to shortfalls in liquidity and not able to emply enough people to even make a dent in Welfarism. What we need, and what both major parties shoud be striving for, is a corporate model based on the merger of viable SMEs, facilitated by government initiatives. Legislation on pricing, merger and red tape should be rolled right back to give business a fighting chance. The SME model places competition ahead of economic stability and puts the consumer ahead of business. Its a moribund model that was exposed during the credit-crunch. SMEs will not deliver the sustainable growth, productivity-based wages and million plus jobs that we need.

  • Austin Barry

    Nothing that Miliband says or does is important or registers in public perception. The real enemy of the Tory Party is the Tory Party Leadership.

    Rendered impotent by its Lib-Dem cancer cells, the Party hobbles from one idiocy to another led by a distracted nonentity who fails to grasp the public mood. He rides a zeitgeist that was in vogue twenty years ago.

    • HellforLeather

      “The real enemy of the Tory Party is its leadership” — I’ve expressed that sentiment, less forcefully (not used the term enemy) to my MP (Conservative) from time to time, and he considers me troublesome. He even suggested I was wasting his/my time. He suggested I was taking up more of his time pro rata than the average email feedback he receives (which was a diversion given that many in the constituency are older people who may not use email). Needless to say he is a multi-multi-millionaire, and out of tune with the broader public.

  • Sarge

    What should worry all of us is that a two faced wonk whose fingerprints are all over a number of the core reasons for our current predicament,is now presenting himself as the solution -and apparently being believed by the Speccie.

    Ed is just another corporatist -war,debt,taxes are the only outcomes you and I will get from him. oh and utter bullshit.

  • DavidDP

    At the time of the last job figures, Labour dismissed the rise as being made up ‘only’ of the self-employed. That attitude hardly smacks of being SME friendly.

  • ToryOAP

    Have you lost your mind Mr Forsyth? I doubt there are very many small businessmen in the country who would be taken in by Milliband’s hypocrisy. SME owners are the. natural hunting ground of the Conservative party and if neglected might veer to UKIP or even the libtards but very few would commit ritual seppuku by voting in the idiots that created the banking mess in the first place. This anti-tory narrative and elevation of the idiot Milliband by the Spectator is becoming tiresome. We don’t eat our own on the right; we work together to destroy the left. Try and remember that or you will end up dining alone.

    • telemachus

      I run an SME and I can tell you the clowns in power now do me no favours
      I hate them more than the bankers who will not extend my loans when I need them
      Were it not for very understanding creditors I would be sunk
      Speccie needs to position itself for the future
      Cameron said you were the future once
      He is very definitely the past
      Especially after this week

      • Sarge

        The reason your SME is struggling is quite obvious -you spend too much time presenting your utter drivel on this blog.

        • Dicky14

          Or it could be that he’s 15 and doing his GCSEs

        • telemachus

          It is not struggling.
          But I struggle hard to achieve that
          I resent the needless effort

          • Austin Barry

            I’ll make certain that I get my shoes buffed at your stand next time I’m at Heathrow.

          • HellforLeather

            I just love this retweet, via MrHarryCole: “@DanielFurrUK: Owen Jones criticises “huge surge of self employed” during an interview….”
            ….under what you, Telemachus, call “these clowns”.

            You do know who Owen Jones is, don’t you? Are you perhaps him, agitating in another form?

            • telemachus

              Is this the demonisation of Owen Jones

          • Hexhamgeezer

            By SME you mean a 2 man ‘charity’ wholly funded by slack-jawed Whitehall neo-comm fckwits.

      • HellforLeather

        Perhaps it’s because the Labour government, when Red Ed Miliband and his henchman Balls were in the Treasury, decided to strangle small (and other) business in red tape – in addition to ruining the economy in so many other ways: Raids on pensions, delusional belief that they’d banished “boom@bust”, borrowing/spending binge, woeful lack of regulation on financial/banking industry which led to the credit crisis, etc etc etc.

        • telemachus

          I decry these calumnies
          What Gordon and Ed did was stoke growth again after recession blew in from the US
          Sadly George who does not understand Economics choked it off
          And sadly despite encouragement from everyone from Lagarde on he will not relent
          We need growth to allow our small enterprises to flourish
          No I do not shine shoes but if I did I would tell you that punters would come to me in a flourishing environment

    • dalai guevara

      If you believe Fallon will do anything meaningful for SME that will counterbalance the one-sided favouring of big business, then I am happy to take your seat at the dinner table.

    • dalai guevara

      Ah yes, I see:

      1- small independent coffee shop are so much better off than Starbucks.
      2- extending opening hours for malls yet again has brought back indigenously owned corner shops in huge quantities.
      3- one-sided big banking support has led to an incredible push in diversity, similar to that of the German ‘Sparkasse model’, right.
      4- reducing options/tariffs in the only six energy companies in the UK is
      the answer to the need of proper diversification and thus real

      You lot make me laugh. Economic illiteracy in its prime form.

    • Austin Barry

      It is odd that the Spectator has become the New Statesman in all but name. Where do we of the realistic right go now?

      • ToryOAP

        The Commentator and ConservativeHome are both of the right and very readable. Guido is also worth a visit but has become erratic. Unfortunately the Commentator has a few trolls quite as bad as TeleSaville and the gueveranumpty both of whom are stalking me.

        • telemachus

          With comment such continuing we are locating you as we speak
          Suggest you seek advice

        • dalai guevara

          I do not stalk OAPs. That is sick.

      • telemachus

        Speccie was still blog of the year, perhaps because it is reasonable

        • Hexhamgeezer


    • Newsbot9

      That’s right, you work to destroy the workers. And you’re succeeding, the body count is starting to catch the notice of the people you’re destroying.

  • steve_garner

    Do me a favour. Ed Miliband supporting small businesses. Labour loaded small business down with regulation. He can forget it.

    • George_Arseborne

      The nation has to move forward not looking backward. People changes with time. I find it so ridiculous that when Ed comes out with good ideas , Steve you take us back to the past. Grow up thi is 2012.Stop being sarcastic

      • steve_garner

        And erm what good ideas would these be that Ed has had? I’d be interested to know what cuts you think he’s going to make too? Clearly he thinks the next government will have to make some cuts, he never seems to get round to telling us what they’ll be though. In the meantime he opposes every cut the government makes.

    • HooksLaw

      We have heard all these socialist words before

  • IanH

    James, you may have a short memory, but trust me, we’ve survived another Labour cycle which every generation needs to do. Pity they’ve left us on course for 1.5T Gordon debt mountain (ignoring off balance sheet liabilities) which equates to 23K for every man, woman and child. We will not forget

  • @PhilKean1

    Am I missing something?

    Since they came to office in 1997, EU-Labour’s excessive regulation, employment rights and taxation has made running a small business, starting a small business, and being self-employed, the hardest it has ever been.

    WHY ON EARTH would SMEs ever think that Labour would change from being anti-business, to being pro-Business – on the strength of some cheap political opportunism, and a cynical willingness to exploit and perpetuate the myth that the Banks are the bad guys?

    BTW. This supposed Tory-led Coalition has continued Labour’s mission to make doing business in Britain ever harder.

    • Newsbot9

      As usual, you have no idea what red tape really looks like.

      Britain routinely scores very well for ease of doing business. Moreover, countries like Germany, which have far, far more red tape are doing far better, economically. The link you claim is a chimera which is disproved by reality.

      You are simply trying to destroy working rights and pay, to raise your profits at the expense of workers who create value rather than leeching it!

  • Right On

    “it’ll need super-charging to see off this threat from Miliband.” Really? Are we to believe that small business owners will forget that he was part of a government that was shocking anti-small business. One that spent thirteen years sucking up to big business whilst strangling small enterprise with tax and red-tape? That will all be forgotten cause he takes a half hearted, populist, rhetorical shot at the banks? If so, they’ll deserve all they get.

    • @PhilKean1

      Great minds?

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