Coffee House

Red Ed is bringing back populist socialism

24 September 2013

4:16 PM

24 September 2013

4:16 PM

‘Red Ed is back,’ said the Daily Mirror’s Kevin Mcguire, and it’s a fair summary of today’s speech. He has pledged to use state power to force the hand of property companies: “use it or lose it” he said, reviving the idea of compulsory purchases. His new flagship policy is imposing a 20-month price freeze on domestic energy prices, ordering private companies around. He won a standing ovation when he pledged to reverse the Conservative (and Tony Blair) liberal reforms of the NHS. Now, you can say a lot about Ed Miliband’s shortcomings but you can’t call him vacuous. He now has an identifiable mission: to bring back ‘socialism’, as he pledged to do Sunday.

Today he told us about the fruits of this populist socialism: confiscating land, freezing energy bills until 2017, schools offering free extra childcare (paid for by bashing banks). It all amounts to a firm, left wing agenda that the audience in the hall loved. It’s popular – who’d object to free stuff, paid for by the deep pockets of profiteering companies? The sort of politics that Blair thought he’d buried. The kind of cost-of-living remedies we thought lay in the same shallow grave as Harold Wilson’s prices-and-incomes policy.


Lots of speeches made at conferences are inconsequential: not this one. Under Miliband, socialism is making something of a comeback in Westminster – a new, populist socialism rebooted by a surprisingly confident Labour leader. And as a result of today’s speech, the stakes at the next election have just risen considerably.

Listen to what Fraser Nelson, Isabel Hardman and James Forsyth made of Miliband speech

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Show comments
  • Martin Jennerson

    Confident? He doesn’t believe in these policies and is a panic-attack man in any case, it’s desperation.

  • Ben Kelly

    The Conservative Party and UKIP MUST make a pact, they simply must, for the good of the country. The Cameroons should drop their bad attitude and stop sneering at UKIP, they are getting 10-12 percent polling ratings, their popularity and membership is likely to rise, they need to make a deal to gain power. UKIP would have to lump it, they might actually gain an MP this way. If they want to do what is best for their country then they must stop the split on the right.

  • David Prentice

    The dream ticket for a moribund, sanctimonious, climate change lunacy, windfarm-covered, Islam-loving UK? Miliband and Clegg, and it’s probably going to happen. I realise that Cameron and Clegg already tick most of these boxes, it’s just the prospect of the smug assininity on Miliband’s face and the pontificating lisp as he justifies the latest carbon tax hike — Clegger’s nodding solemnly — makes me wish Cameron and Farage would do a deal to keep them out.

  • ButcombeMan

    This is really great stuff. The British do not want socialism and it gives all the other players from wahtever party, plenty of red meat to campaign against.

    I wonder if he has had a “meeting without coffee” with his Union paymasters and been TOLD what he has to do.

    It certainly looks that way.

    • Ben Kelly

      The English don’t, I suspect the Scottish and Welsh might.

  • HookesLaw

    ‘Listen to what Fraser Nelson, Isabel Hardman and James Forsyth made of Miliband speech’
    Well Mr Nelson will have nothing but praise and admiration for Miliband. He is a fan of Balls after all.

  • allymax bruce

    Ahh, Fraser, comedy & tragedy is the theme, for this Party Political ‘season’, but I like how you use satire to exemplify how beyond the extreme the tragedy is. I would cry, but it’s so unbelievable, why am I laughing?
    We are now staring down the Labour Party ‘barrel’ of electricity & gas being too expensive for 40% of ‘Britains’, local authority properties being ‘absolved’ of their ‘responibilities’ to function as public sector advocates, and 2000000 new houses, with the massive majority being built for immigrant London!
    Whose country is this anyway?
    Scotland, vote, ‘Independence Now’.

  • Russell

    Miliband is fu**ed. This country doesn’t want State control or Marxism or Communism or Socialism. He just lost the 2015 General Election, thank God.

  • Marcus

    ‘Hmmmm, maybe I wont risk voting UKIP afterall’.
    Thought everyone, immediately.

    • HookesLaw

      Well you said it.
      Basically Miliband just promised the narion a free lunch. A free lunch of milk and honey and apple pie.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Your hero Dave left the Millipede free to do all this, lad.

    Thousands died at NHS facilities unnecessarily, and what did Dave do? Nothing. The Millipede knows people are unhappy, and he’s going to “do something”. Doesn’t matter what, because Dave did nothing, and that’s not what people want. Apparently, Dave thinks homosexual marriage is much more apparent than piles of corpses in state health care facilities. People tend to notice these things, in case you didn’t know.

    Your hero Boy George is busily blowing up a real estate bubble via public policy, laddie, so no sense accusing the Millipede of socialism re housing. You and the Camerloons are the biggest socialists around re housing.

    And energy socialism is long practiced by you Camerloons, and your windmills and global warmingism, driving up energy costs for all. The Millipedes are merely highlighting that socialist stupidity.

    Sorry, lad, but you best tell your paymasters that the scare tactics will only work with the tribalists, and conservatives aren’t tribalists. They know what you are.

    • HookesLaw

      Usual drivel buster. Based on endles lies and fantasy.You merely expose yourself as the rampant nasty bigot that you are.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …and we conservatives know what you are as well, laddie.

    • McClane

      ‘Thousands died at NHS facilities unnecessarily’

      Because of Labour. They controlled the NHS between 1997 and 2010. When I see or hear Andrew Burnham I want to spit.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …and Dave did nothing, which is one of the reasons he’s soon to be gone.

  • Hello

    Thanks Ed. The Tories finally have a compelling message for UKIP voters.

  • Barakzai

    Kinnockite socialism’s the offer? This ought to be an open goal for the Tories.
    Oh wait . . .

  • rtj1211

    You know what: if the market fails, intervene.

    The markets have had 30 years to show they can provide appropriate housing for all, not just inflated house prices for the rich.

    I have zero tolerance for free market zealots who put dogma before housing the people of this country.

    Housing the people of this country is not a political gimmick, it’s the most fundamental duty of a society.

    I couldn’t care less whether socialists or capitalists do it, but I have no time for either if they pander to rich developers.

    If there’s no profit in housing the poor, then capitalism is the wrong model for housing the poor, isn’t it??

    • notme3

      Land prices are in direct proportion to demand. Demand is high because of how the state controls development.

      • monty61

        Hmm .. the state doesn’t control development directly it hands control to the NIMBYs in the form of local authorites the problem is it rarely intervenes to force their hand.

        • notme3

          Local Authorities are just as much the State as any other public body.

      • ChrisTavareIsMyIdol

        Demand is also high because the population is growing rapidly.

    • Curnonsky

      And while they’re at it would you like them to make the trains run on time?

    • sarahsmith232

      it’s not market failure, it’s out of control population explosion. at a conservative estimate London’s pop’ increased by one million in the space of a decade, no house building programme could keep up with that.
      the UK is not in the grip of a housing crisis, London and the South East is. most people have more than adequate access to perfectly affordable housing. there are a few v.small areas outside of Lon’/SE where prices are high and housing restricted, not many though.
      so all these homes are going to have to be squeezed into a v.small part of this country. where? there’s no empty space in London.
      they’ve already said they’re going to keep the planning laws strict and restrictive, so basically, it isn’t going to happen. there’s no space in London and the surrounding shires will block it at every turn.
      immigration will continue to run at insane rates, thus the need for millions more homes but only in Lon/SE, forget thinking housing will get better in their hands

    • ButcombeMan

      The free market CAN provide housing for all. It is the planning system and nimbyism that prevents that.

    • ChrisTavareIsMyIdol

      People are poor because wages are low and the price of property is high. Why are wages low? Immigration hasn’t helped. Why are property prices high? Clearly importing several million people will force the price of property up. The restrictions on building also force the price of housing up.

    • Peter Davies

      nothing to do with the huge immigration numbers in recent years?