Leading article: Miliband hits right note on inequality

 

Share
Related Topics

It is always refreshing when party leaders seem to really listen to voices coming from outside their own camp. That is why Ed Miliband should be commended for the warm words he has given in today's interview with this newspaper concerning the protest outside St Paul's.

"The interesting thing about St Paul's," the Labour leader says, "is that it reflects the feelings of millions of people that the economy and the country are not working for them."

This is correct, as well as a reminder that the subject of the protest never was the cathedral itself – though regrettably this became the main story – but the growing chasm in income between a privileged handful and what Mr Miliband terms the "squeezed middle".

The Labour leader is right to say that inequality in society "is centre stage" in a way that it has not been for decades. The Labour leader now needs to show where he wants to take this argument. In his interview he stresses that he is not floating some heady idea about abolishing capitalism. But after asserting that "a particular form of capitalism" is in crisis, he must expect to be questioned in greater detail about what he wishes to put in its place.

At the same time, Mr Miliband needs to be careful not to sound as if he is sounding the trumpet once more for some kind of class war. It is not a phrase that he uses. But the suggestion that the Prime Minister's privileged background makes him ipso facto incapable of addressing problems of inequality in society is getting close to it.

Labour has played with class war rhetoric before, only to back off when it became clear that the public did not warm to attacks on David Cameron's Etonian schooling. Now it sounds as if Mr Miliband is trying to mix the political with the personal again. He may calculate that the public will be more sympathetic to this kind of language today, as cuts and job losses bite and as the rest of us watch in disbelief while top directors walk off with huge pay rises. Possibly he is right to feel that the mood has changed. Still, he would be well advised to steer off the hoary subject of the Prime Minister's background and stick to his record in government.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Nepal earthquake: Nepal needs the world’s help right now – this is what you can do

Sanjay Karki
...and after (EPA)  

Nepal earthquake: A shocking disaster in one of the most remarkable countries on earth

Anthony Costello
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions