Exclusive: Former Labour advisors warn Ed Miliband that his party lacks direction

Mr Miliband allies deny that he is 'anti-big business'

Political Editor

Former senior Labour advisers have rounded on Ed Miliband, warning him that his party has no direction and will not win a general election while it is perceived as “anti-business”.

The warning about Labour’s stance on business was issued by two former Downing Street aides who will host a conference for industry leaders on Thursday, where Mr Miliband will make an important speech. It is part of a week long blitz by Labour designed to reassure the business community that the party is not hostile towards it.

Lord (Roger) Liddle and Patrick Diamond, chairman and vice-chairman respectively of the Policy Network think tank, urged Mr Miliband to abandon his attempt to divide companies into “predators” and “producers”, and to suggest that small firms are virtuous while big companies are not.

Writing on The Independent’s website, they said: “Businesses that act against the public interest should not escape regulatory action. But it is not the job of governments to pick and choose between ‘predators’ and ‘responsible’ capitalists.

Read more: Comment: The British centre-left must espouse a practical vision of a progressive capitalism

"Nor is it sensible to treat smaller firms as inherently more virtuous than larger ones: what matters is setting a stable framework in which making a reasonable profit is compatible with the public interest. Labour will not win elections as an anti-business party. The vast majority of the workforce is employed in the private sector.”

The criticism from Policy Network, which was founded by Lord Mandelson, reflects fears among New Labour figures that Mr Miliband’s stance is widely seen as “anti big business”. Bosses have expressed concern about Labour’s interventionist policies, including its plan to freeze energy prices, reform the banks and cap private sector rents.

Lord Liddle - until recently a Labour frontbench spokesman - and Mr Diamond warned that Labour has been left “utterly disorientated” by the 2008 financial crisis. They said that Mr Miliband is right to try to create a new “progressive capitalism” but should treat business “as part of the solution rather than the problem”.

In another setback for Mr Miliband, his former adviser Lord [Maurice] Glasman said that Labour lacked “a sense of direction”. Writing in the Financial Times, he said: “The problem for Labour is not that it lacks policy but that it lacks a narrative of national renewal.”

Lord Glasman echoed concerns expressed privately by Jon Cruddas, the Shadow Cabinet member in charge of Labour’s policy review, that Mr Miliband did not embrace last month’s blueprint by the IPPR think tank for social justice in an age of austerity.  

Lord Glasman said: “The most original left-wing thought for some years on social welfare reform vanished almost without trace, reduced to a nasty Labour press release on how the party plans to force young people into training.”

The Labour peer suggested that Mr Miliband choose a couple of novels rather than think tank reports as his summer holiday reading. “He needs to tell a story in his speech to the party conference [in September], not about himself, but about the country he wishes to lead to a place where we can make things better,” he said.

Allies of Mr Miliband dismissed the latest criticism from within his own party and denied that Labour was “anti-business”. One said: “The whole point of big reform of both markets and the state is to create the conditions for Britain and business to succeed together.”

A Labour source added: “Maurice has lots of interesting views, which is why Ed put him in the House of Lords. They have not had much contact with each other for the last two and a half years.

"Ed endorsed the principles behind the IPPR report and the review by Lord Adonis on how to reverse a century of centralisation. Maurice seems to have missed this.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops
films
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'
TVGrace Dent thinks we should learn to 'hug a Hooray Henry', because poshness is an accident of birth
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
art

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

Arts and Entertainment
Convicted art fraudster John Myatt
art

News
The two-year-old said she cut off her fringe because it was getting in her eyes
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Sales Manager

£60k - 80k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game