November 13, 2014 by Paul Goldsmith
If you are going to complain about the way wealth is distributed in this country, and you want to find a way to move forward, you need to explain how, if wealth were to be more ‘fairly distributed’, that wealth would be created in the first place. Ed Miliband has been in place for 4 years now and still the business community, who, given they basically control the means of production, have seen little to encourage them that Miliband even understands what they do, let alone wants to do anything to help or incentivise them.
Today, Miliband is giving a speech in which he talks about the ‘zero-zero economy’ (workers on zero hour contracts, the rich paying zero tax). In the speech, he paints a dystopian picture of a “deeply unequal, deeply unfair, deeply unjust country”. He also says that he is determined to change that country. He argues that the Conservatives have a vision of the UK where, “they believe that the success of the country comes from a few at the top, and as long as they are doing well, Britain is doing well.” This may be so, and he may be right, Britain is deeply unequal. But how does he think he can make Britain more equal? What is his pathway for getting there. More importantly, how are we going to get there without destroying the wealth that is being created (albeit unfairly distributed).
But it’s Ok, Miliband has thought of that. He goes onto say that “we will be the wealth creators, not just the wealth distributors.” I saw this, and then I looked for how the Labour Party would go about creating that wealth. Nothing, nada, zilch. Not a single explanation of how Labour policies would create wealth for this country. In fact, rooting around for examples of what Labour would do to create that wealth or encourage wealth creation in any way brings up a blank. Anybody found anything useful? Anything to encourage innovation? Any thing to make it easier to set up a business? To employ people? To grow? Nope? Me neither.
This, I imagine, is the problem with having an entire Labour Shadow Cabinet with barely a scrap of experience of creating a business, or creating a job, of creating wealth.
Look, maybe Labour can sneak up the pitch on the counter attack and grab a late one nil victory with a dodgy goal (their clear political strategy at the next election) by painting a massively pessimistic picture of the status quo and giving us snippets of their desirable future. Maybe they can, but until they set out a practical pathway to that future they leave themselves extremely vulnerable to all the other political parties who can cast doubt on their competence to manage that change. I happen personally to share some of Ed Miliband’s vision, but want to see how he can get there. The speech today won’t help with that.