President Theodore Roosevelt provides Ed Miliband with an unlikely role model

Consumer groups will be given a greater role in identifying and fixing "broken markets" under Labour plans

Whitehall Editor

A Republican president with a cultivated “cowboy” image might seem an unlikely role model for the son of a Marxist intellectual who has a vision to become the first Labour prime minister to be elected on a left-of-centre manifesto in nearly 40 years.

But Ed Miliband today revealed that he has sought inspiration from the turn-of-the-century US leader Theodore Roosevelt for ideas on how to create a fairer British society and fight “predatory wealth”.

Despite being a Republican, Teddy Roosevelt championed what became known as the “Square Deal” – a programme to extend the government regulation of industry and enhance consumer protection to help the growing American middle class.

Mr Miliband said the concentration of power in the hands of big vested interest groups such as the banking and energy sectors had parallels with the corporate interests that exerted dominance in early 20th-century America.

He has instructed his staff to read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book about the former president, The Bully Pulpit, to explain his thinking, and yesterday announced his first Teddy Roosevelt-inspired policy.

Ed Miliband said the Labour Party had become ‘the champion of competition’ Ed Miliband said the Labour Party had become ‘the champion of competition’ Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Miliband said that a Labour government would co-opt consumer rights groups such as Citizens Advice and Which? to highlight areas of market failure that harm people, as well as drawing up an Annual Competition Audit of Britain’s economy.

Government ministers and departments will be required to respond to any issues raised in the audit which fall within their responsibility within a strict three-month timetable. Mr Miliband identified lack of competition in the energy market and the banking sector as the two most obvious areas where the new regulation was needed.

But he also highlighted the relationship between the large, branded pub chains that own the majority of pubs in the UK – and the small business owners who run them under lease agreements. So called “Pub-Cos” have been criticised for years, he said, for forcing licensees to buy stock from them at inflated prices – damaging small businesses and pushing up prices for consumers. Despite the long-standing complaints, no action had been taken by successive governments, he added.

“Unless you bring the consumer into the heart of these things, we are not going to get the change we need, we are not going to shine the light on these broken markets,” he said.

“The Competition and Markets Authority scrutinises competition across the board. They will be working with Which?, the CAB and others to say: ‘Where are the areas where competition isn’t working, what are your members telling you about where we need to act?’ They will be sending a report to Parliament and it will be framing the work for the year ahead.”

Talking about the inspiration he had drawn from President Roosevelt, Mr Miliband said competition was in some ways a Conservative concept but one which had been neglected by the Tory party. “President Roosevelt was a Republican,” he said.

“I think lots of people in Britain, lots of Conservatives, will be thinking why is the Conservative Party not championing this agenda? Why have they become the champion of the big vested interests like the energy companies and the banks?

“It’s Labour that is the party of competition, Labour that’s taken this agenda forward. But I think it’s a really important point about how we change our country for the future.”

In the interview Mr Miliband also dismissed speculation that he might sack or move his shadow Chancellor Ed Balls before 2015, and did not rule out re-imposing a 50p tax rate in the Labour manifesto.

 

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
i100
Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

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

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album