'Don't despair': Miliband's message to a sceptical public (and his party's doubters)
Ed Miliband has set the Labour Party a mission for 2012 to overcome what he calls the "counsel of despair".
His New Year message is overtly aimed at public scepticism about whether politics can make any difference to the gloomy economic outlook – though others will see it as a message to the party faithful not to be downcast by opinion polls.
"Many people feel politics cannot answer their problems. Some believe things would be the same whoever was in charge. And others fear the Government is in the grip of forces so powerful that nothing can be done," Mr Miliband said.
"It suits the current Conservative-led government to go along with this idea. Having failed in their promise to make Britain a safe haven, they now say that there is no alternative to rising joblessness and years of falling living standards for working people. It is a counsel of despair."
The country could not afford to "stand back and watch" the economy stagnate and jobless numbers grow, he said, leaving a "lost generation" of young people. He added: "There are choices to be made every day about how best to reduce the deficit and restore growth to the economy. There are choices to be made about who should bear the greatest burden in these difficult times, choices to be made about what Britain will be like to live in next year and in the future.
"Tough times expose your values, because they force you to choose. So when this Government takes three times as much from the working poor as from the banks, it shows where its priorities lie – with the privileged few.
"And when Labour says it would choose to tax the bankers' bonuses in order to put our young people back to work, it shows who we are as a party and where our priorities lie."
Mr Miliband has had a difficult year struggling to convince the public that he is a credible Prime Minister-in-waiting, with a poll last week showing that 49 per cent think he has done a bad job compared with 32 per cent who say he is doing well.
But he was not the only political leader urging supporters to keep their nerve yesterday. The Liberal Democrats are also struggling to retain even the support of those who voted for them in 2010.
The party's deputy leader, Simon Hughes, told the BBC yesterday: "I knew when I signed up to the Coalition that the first two years would be very difficult politically and very difficult economically. We have to hold our nerve."
He admitted that the party had had to make compromises in power, but claimed it had achieved "two-thirds" of what it had promised.
- 1 Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
- 2 Britain First 'acting like Ukip henchmen' by invading meeting of activists in revenge for pub protest against Nigel Farage
- 3 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 4 Tidal: Jay Z's Spotify rival streaming service criticised for making wealthy artists even richer
- 5 Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
Britain First 'acting like Ukip henchmen' by invading meeting of activists in revenge for pub protest against Nigel Farage
Costa Concordia: Shipment of Mob drugs was hidden aboard cruise liner when it hit rocks off Italian coast, investigators say
Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection
Turkey power cut: Prime Minister says nationwide blackout could be caused by terrorists
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...
£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...