Coffee House

Ed Miliband buries New Labour. Again.

12 January 2013

If you didn’t like New Labour much, then you have something in common with Ed Miliband — who appears to have loathed it. He’s just given his first speech of the year to the Fabian Society, the torch-bearers of an older type of socialism, and his audience was left in no doubt that if elected, he would offer a very different type of left-wing politics to that he helped served up when working for the Blair/Brown governments.

Miliband has hammered nails into the coffin of New Labour before, notably in a speech in September 2010 just days after he was elected Labour leader. Today, he wanted to make sure the coffin was hermetically sealed. Take what he said on the economy:

‘It begins from the truth that New Labour did not do enough to take on the vested interests and bring about structural change in our economy.

‘Now, New Labour did challenge the old trickle-down economics by redistributing from the top.

But again it didn’t do enough to change our economy so that it grew from the middle out, not from the top down.’

Of course, there is no such thing as ‘trickle-down economics’ and no economist has ever self-identified as an adherent to this concocted set of beliefs. But it’s a useful straw man for Labour, wheeled our more under Neil Kinnock than Tony Blair. But there’s more.

‘New Labour was right to talk about rights and responsibilities but was too timid in enforcing them, especially at the top of society.

 And it was too sanguine about the consequences of rampant free markets which we know can threaten our common way of life.’


So Labour expands the size of the state more over a decade than any other country, over any other decade. And the problem was not state profligacy nor the what we now know to be the worst economic overheating in modern British economic history, but the free market. So the answer?

‘But once again we have to move on from New Labour, as well as from this government.
Because although New Labour often started with the right intentions, over time it did not do enough to change the balance of power in this country.

Again, think of the expansion in the size of the government: from 38 per cent of GDP to 51 per cent over the Labour years. That certainly changed the balance of power between state and society, but evidently not enough for Miliband:

‘And in a way that we did not have to be under New Labour, we will have to be ruthless in the priorities we have. And clear that we will have to deliver more with less.’

The latest sentence will be spun as a nod to austerity. The word ‘less’ may be preparing the ground for Miliband to sign up to George Osborne’s new spending review which is due later this year. Ed Balls is against this: watch our for sparks flying between the two.

Once Miliband’s vitriol was expunged, there was little room left for adding flesh to what his “One Nation Labour” is. The speech was was policy lite — just tackling rogue landlords, with a national charter, simplification of fees and making longer term rents easier. Although this is not something new, as a tenant who is currently fighting tooth and nail for £1,000 from just such a rogue landlord, it’s an area that I’m happy to see reformed. There there was room for some pro-European sentiment, which drew an enthusiastic response from the crowd. David Cameron can only hope to elicit a similar response from his speech on Tuesday week.

For the blustering and use of ‘responsibility’, Miliband is clearly staking out his territory. It is not true to say is an airhead, full of waffle. He has very clear ideas, ideologically rooted in a Labour history that may be pre-Kinnock let alone pre-Blair. To listen to him, it was as if he dislikes New Labour more than he dislikes the Tories. All this will make the choice at the next election all the starker.

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  • treborc1

    If labour is not old Labour or New labour, he has to explain to us the fundamentals of the Labour movement, what is labour.

    Today Newer labour is a middle class Middle England political party which is basically another party of the well off, labour is we are told a party of the hard working although I would say they need to exclude politicians from that, then they are the party of the squeezed middle class, which I suspect is why politician are demanding a £20,000 pay rise .

    To be honest Miliband does not look or sound like a leader, he moans about the Tory rich, but is well off himself, what does Labour now stand for, hard working middle class or upper middle class the same people the Tories stand for.

  • James Evans

    This coming from a man helped shape New Labours policy

  • Steven Goodman

    Spectator mag is one of my pet hates…You don’t like what Ed Millband is saying…wait till you see what I’ve got in mind!

    • Colonel Mustard

      People like you are one of my pet hates. So? I only have to read your comment to draw the conclusion that I have absolutely no interest in what you have in mind. Being around leftists like you makes me feel – uncomfortable.

  • Albert Cooper

    The socialists can see it all now! Idiots first class,we have on our hands a multicultural society sopken about as though its every Englishmans desire and dream

  • michael

    Ed developed his credibility through his ministry for global warming and energy prices.

  • Jebediah

    Yes let’s tax our way to prosperity after all it worked under Gordon and Tony… until the money ran out. What an odious throwback this man is. Sadly in a democracy voters often go for the wishful thinking (otherwise known as your grandchildrens’ money) rather than stark reality.

  • Right_On1

    Yes he clearly loathed it. Served in it, supported it fully but yes he loathed it. Or he’s yes another shallow opportunist without a single clue how to address the issues this country faces.

    Oh and can someone explain his (well Obama’s that he’s stolen) suggestion that the economy should grow “from the middle out” – cause as with much else Miliband (or Obama for that matter) says it goes completely unchallenged despite being totally undefined and patently ludicrous.

  • cbbookworm

    I personally do not believe that Ed Milliband is capable of leading this country. On all the occassions he has shown ‘leadership’ it has been to take revenge either on easy targets or perceived enemies of the Labour movement; hence criticising bankers was easy, yet for the most part they were doing exactly what the Labour goverment wanted, providing cheap credit, providing cheap mortgages, taking enormous risks to make huge profits, some of which at least funded New Labour’s enormous expenditure from 2001 onwards. His attack on the Murdock empire was entirely gratuitous – one of the great myths of British politics is that Murdock has always supported the Conservatives, and that this made a political difference.In point of fact the Sun supported Labour from 1969 to 1978, and again from 1996 to 2009. Milliband belongs to one group of rich boys and girls, while attacking the personal intergrity of anyone who disagrees with him because they belong to another group of rich boys and girls. He is ambivalent about Tony Blair, who in electorial terms, (measured by seats won), is easily the most successful political leader in modern history.There is obviously nothing for him to learn here!. But it is the small things that worry me – the last budget proposed to reduce the amount of money which could be paid by the extraordinary rich to charities. This was a perfectly reasonable measure, as it is in effect the rich chosing where their taxes go to.This is very nice if you are the biochemist, who sets up a cancer charity, ploughing money into your area of interest, but avoiding paying for schools, hospitals, the army, (this is the example the BBC chose to attack the credibility of the goverment’s proposal). This was the ideal time for Ed Milliband to show leadership, and support the goverment’s position. Instead he chose to be silent. Oddly if he wins the next election and there is a shortfall in taxation raised from the very rich he will have contributed to his own financial difficulties.


    I’m not entirely sure which direction Ed is going with his new branding. Is he going to follow the path of National Socialism, or of Socialism in One Nation?

    Both have been tried before of course.

    • therealguyfaux

      A distinction without a real difference to those affected by either.

  • Sally Chatterjee

    It’s rather scary. I can almost live with higher taxes if I get better public services. Almost. No, what worries me is how he appears to want to impose his vision on everyone, it’s as if he has one vision for the country and no alternative is allowed, almost as if rival ideas and competing thoughts have to be oppressed. He scares me.

    • Ariadne Jones

      Ed Miliband scares you? More than the Authoritarian regime we currently have who have quietly dismantled human rights and democratic process whilst you talk on here? The same Tory led authoritarians that are killing sick and disabled people and starving the low paid workers and the unemployed? The same regime that have taken all our tax money paid into welfare and health provision and backhanded it to their wealthy friends and big bad businesses that are corrupt?

      • Matt Lawes

        Whatever you have to tell yourself. No matter that it’s total bollox.

      • Cyclops

        Hahaha! What a deluded imbecile!

      • Nick Harding

        One thinks the lady should carry out some actual research bother spouting out such nonsense accusations on respectable discussions

    • Colonel Mustard

      In that way he perfectly represents modern socialists of the Ariadne Jones breed. Their way or no way. And if you dissent expect emotive blackmail, denouncement, “outrage”, abuse and the sort of hyperbolic trash and nonsense posted here by Ms Jones who seems to have wandered in off a Volkswagen bus decorated with flowers. You are right to be scared. They are fanatics who believe in a single party state and will take all steps necessary to control not just speech and the written word but thoughts too.

  • David Lindsay

    Shock! Horror! 1990s Over! Speccie Writer Can’t Cope!

    • Sarge

      Newsflash -Lindsay stuck in 1970’s timewarp which he puts forward as the ‘future’

      Get over it – Milliband is an empty vessel -compares well with Jim Callaghan

      • David Lindsay

        And absolutely guaranteed to win the 2015 Election, perhaps not by a landslide (although after another two and half years of this lot, why not?), but very, very comfortably.

  • Austin Barry

    It is rather gruesome and emetic to see Ed, like some human dung beetle, grappling with the historical turd that is Labour’s last regime when he and his chums were part of its corrupt coil.

    “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?”

    No, sorry, Ed.

    • Daniel Maris

      Funny that…wasn’t Mrs Thatcher part of the ignominious Heath Government? Didn’t she support the admission to the EU (as is now) without a referendum? Didn’t she close more grammar schools than anyone else? Didn’t she defend food subsidies?

      It seems to me there are ways for ex-Ministers to reinvent themselves.

      • David Lindsay

        The answer to all four of your questions is yes. Although she was, at least in principle, right on the third point. Wrong on the other two, of course. Should have listened to Peter Shore, Michael Foot, Tony Benn and Barbara Castle on Europe. Should have listened to the all-Labour Education Committee of Durham County Council on the grammar schools.

      • HooksLaw

        Mrs Thatcher was Education Minister when local authorities closed grammar schools. She did not close them, she left it to local opinion.
        Mrs Thatcher did not support admission to the EU ‘as is now’ she supported admission to the EEC. The EU was created after she left office.
        Thatcher got and defended our rebate which Blair and Brown gave away – but strangely UKIP policy seems to be to promote a return to Labour.

        Mrs T did support the creation of the single market. And its likely that once a new closer fiscal union ‘Eurozone’ treaty is created, we will revert to something like the EEC/ single market arrangement. Unless UKIP foolery lets in a labour govt of course.

      • Colonel Mustard

        The fact that more grammar schools were closed by Thatcher as Secretary for Education is a deceit practiced too often by her detractors. Closing grammar schools was wholly a Labour party policy implemented by Circular 10/65 and Thatcher attempted to reverse the process with her Circular 10/70 issued almost immediately she came into government. That allowed LEAs to decide the future of grammar schools in the area under their authority independently of central government. Most had already begun the process of conversion and could not reverse it.

        • David Lindsay

          You need to read Peter Hitchens on this (and on Thatcher generally) in The Cameron Delusion, in his Mail on Sunday column and on his blog.

          • Span Ows

            Can we safely assume you always agree with peter Hitchen, or only when it suits?

            • David Lindsay

              Only when he’s right.

              • Span Ows

                Yet I this case he isn’t, as has been pointed out to you.

                • David Lindsay

                  No, a few Thatcher cultists have screamed “It’s not! It’s not! It’s not!” and then tried to change the subject, as they have ever-more cause to do now that she is coming to be assessed in the cold light of history.

                  But it is, it is, it is. And you are not going to get away with trying to change the subject.

                • Span Ows

                  Change the subject? I am answering the subject you brought up i.e. Hitchens. You need to read what PH writes, not what you think it means. I know he doesn’t like the great lady but you are trying to suggest here that PH has confirmed what Daniel Maris writes in these comments above BUT PH does not do this. As I have tried to tell you. Now, will you answer on this subject or try to deflect by claiming others are trying to change the subject?

          • Colonel Mustard

            I’m going by the extant historical record rather than a journalist’s interpretation and opinion. The facts as documented are quite clear. Labour policy (Crosland). Implemented by Labour before the Tories came to power. Implemented by LEAs after the Tories came to power when they reversed the central requirement. The only thing you can pin on Thatcher is her not stopping closures already in progress or planned by LEAs which would have been chaotic. To say “she closed more grammar schools” is a Thatcher-centric distortion of the true situation.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    More bollocks than a gelder’s bin.

  • Span Ows

    “Ed Miliband buries New Labour. Again.”

    Maybe but it will keep rising from the dead to haunt him…as it should.

    • David Lindsay

      It is back in Government after the brief Brown interlude that we are all supposed to believe was horrendous even though by the end of it the economy was stronger than at any time since.

      • Noa

        Sadly true. Blair, who had the benefit of full coffers and a thumping majority, would doubtless be proud of the way his follower has kept the Coalition’s course set to New Labour’s Project, without either.

        • David Lindsay

          You speak of Blair as if he were dead. Cameron and his courtiers refer openly to the old monster as “the Great Man” and “our real Leader”.


            A great many people say of Blair that when they first saw him he seemed to be a man whose soul was a black hole filled with darkness and death. People have even said to me that when they first saw Blair they thought he was evil.

            So there is certainly a sense in which many consider him to be dead where it matters.

            • Ariadne Jones

              wot, more so than the psychopath Cameron??

              • Colonel Mustard

                I don’t like Cameron but he is not a psychopath. That is just silly hyperbole.

          • Span Ows

            I refer to him as the arch vampire. My South American ex wife on coming to the UK in 1995 – with very basic English at the time – immediately said he seemed evil and that he was obviously lying: I agreed, the voters didn’t.

          • Ariadne Jones

            No they don’t. Miliband is a totally different animal, and he distanced himself from Blair last year

            • Colonel Mustard

              “Distanced” himself? Ha ha! Too funny. What, in the way that Hess, Boorman, Goering and Speer “distanced” themselves from Adolf?

              • Russ Gardiner

                Hardly a valid comparison is it. And yes he did, Miliband is far more traditionalist Labour.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Actually it is. As you would know if you had studied NSDAP politics and the inner workings of New Labour to the extent that I have.

                  You Labour supporters really need your heads examined.

          • Cyclops

            You refer you him as ‘Big Daddy’ as he splits your cheeks.

      • 2trueblue

        Remind us of the wonderful things that were achieved during Blair/Brown/Balls/Millipede days? Child poverty grew, youth employment grew, the gap between rich and poor grew, immigration grew. Our infrastructure did not grow, our standards in education did not grow, our NHS was filled with vacuous targets that detracted form the real mission, the nations health.

        They spent all the money… did it ever exist?

        • David Lindsay

          As someone once said, “the future, not the past.”

          Absolutely guaranteed to win the 2015 Election, perhaps not by a
          landslide (although after another two and half years of this lot, why
          not?), but very, very comfortably.

          • 2trueblue

            Don’t put your shirt on it, the race is a long way off.

            • David Lindsay

              No, it isn’t. It’s been over for two and a half years. All that remains now is the formality of counting the votes.

              I am not denying anything that you said in your original comment. But none of it matters anymore.

              • 2trueblue

                That is the problem, vacuous, shorttermism, and the lack of reality as to who got us to where we now are.

            • Ariadne Jones
              • 2trueblue

                In your own words……

          • Cyclops

            Very likely. Labour cultivated a large moron voting base during their time in charge. They were too thick to vote last time but Labour agitators are surely coaching them as we speak.

          • 2trueblue

            We are living in the future that Liebore left us, it is their future gift to us that we are enduring. If the electorate do not get that then they are more vacuous than I thought.

        • Ariadne Jones
          • Span Ows

            you’re right, that list is bollocks. Too long to fisk here but almost every “achievement” you list can be put in it’s real context and you’re left with nothing…literally.

          • 2trueblue

            Good vocab……

          • Colonel Mustard

            Well you would say that wouldn’t you. Another Labour activist finds the Spectator and decides to troll for her party.

      • Cyclops

        Was it stronger than it was when New Labour took power in 1997? Or do you have a rational point?

    • Ariadne Jones

      Not as much as these 5 years of Toryism will haunt us Span.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Doubt it. The 1997-2010 ‘New Labour’ project – er, government was very special indeed and their legacy will be with us, our children and our children’s children and probably beyond. That other national socialist regime still has its defenders and apologists 70 years on so the views of people like you are unsurprising if utterly bogus.

        • Cyclops

          Sadly true. Our grandchildren will paying off the cost of the Labour legacy for many years to come…………….

  • alexsandr

    Excuse me. Millipede was part of new labour being Gordon Browns treasury team till he got parachuted into a safe seat for 2005 election.
    We must not let this muppet get away with distancing himself from new labour for he was an integral part of the whole appalling 13 years of misrule.

    • George_Arseborne

      Who are we? You are on your own. The earlier you start preparing or getting use to thre the fact that the next PM of GB will be Ed Milliband the better for you in 2015. The present empty bunch will be out forever.

      • alexsandr

        well just now there are 14 who agree with me and none who don’t. looks like you are the one on their own on this one.

        • Cyclops

          Excellent. Thanks for the update. You just need another several million and you can start shopping for new wallpaper at Number 10.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Your turn on the monitoring desk instead of telemachus, eh? Depend on Labour supporters to count their chickens before they are hatched, to threaten anyone who disagrees and to suggest that there is not a majority of voters in England who would prefer a permanent Conservative government.

        16 now and counting. Looks like you are the one on your own ARSEborne!

      • Ariadne Jones


      • Cyclops

        Good for him. Outside of politics he hasn’t had a full-time paid job other than a year spent as a teaboy at Channel Four. What’s there to worry about?

      • treborc

        Miliband the Socialist we are not old Labour or New labour we are, well I do not know , I know we will be middle of the road, and we all know what happens when you walk down the middle of the road

    • Ariadne Jones

      Get away with having preferences? get a grip! This Country is being ransacked and robbed by a government that is literally getting away with murder – 70 plus isck and disabled people every week die as a consequence of this government’s “reforms” so that Cameron can “raise more money for the rich”. Talks osme sense for crying out loud

      • alexsandr

        Oh FFS. Brown spent all the money in a boom, so now any government, even a labour one would have to cut. Except Labour sit and oppose all cuts, and never say what they would cut. They want to be seen as fically responsible so say they would reduce the defecit but fail to say how. Just say they would tax bankers bonuses as if that would clear out the defecit.

        • Cyclops

          This isn’t true. Gordon Brown abolished ‘boom’ and he abolished ‘bust’. I remember him saying that quite clearly. Sadly, he was only half right.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Wee bit too hysterical. For all his many faults Cameron is not “raising money for the rich”. Silly statements like that just plunge debate into a cultural slagging match. I suggest you go and find a student union forum somewhere more suitable to your clenched fist and Yvette Cooper-style bleating.

        Or perhaps it’s your tour of duty on the monitoring desk while telemachus and arseborne enjoy their Sunday off.

    • treborc

      Totally agree..

  • Colonel Mustard

    What is this party actually about? How many more times are they going to airbrush out the past and re-invent themselves? It might not be so bad were not the whole gang that operated under Blair and Brown still on the front bench so trying to distance themselves from the government of 1997-2010 won’t wash however much flannel is applied.

    As for rights and responsibilities. There was nothing “timid” about New Labour’s heavy handed big state approach to that. They were enthusiastic in advancing the rights of the state, increasing the responsibilities of the little people towards that state and undermining ancient protections for those running foul of the state.

    Nothing in the Gonk’s Fabian rally reassures me that we won’t get the same old New Labour jackboot dressed up as nanny knowing what is good for us again.

  • lee taylor

    It was jut the same old left wing trash. Not worth listening to.

    • Matt Lawes

      Yes and all of it is getting recycled as King Barry Obama II talking points here in the United States. Like that ‘Growing the economy from the middle out’ piffle while they steal the future from the middle class Nice to confirm Obama is connected to the Miliband Marxist root. And Biden once plagarised Neil Kinnock ….. So I guess it’s been going on a while.

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