Miliband and Alexander to make Europe trip

February 17, 2013 6:39 pm

Over the next few days, Ed Miliband and Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander will be travelling to meet European allies in Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands. Both men will be holding talks with senior European politicians on a trip that the party is billing as “about building a Europe that works for all”.

Visiting Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands, they will be meeting:

  • Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark (Monday)
  • Stefan Löfven, Leader of the Swedish Social Democrats (Tuesday)
  • Diederik Samsom, Leader of the Dutch Labour Party (Wednesday)

Most of the attention will no doubt be on the visit to Denmark, because a) Westminster is obsessed with Borgen and Thorning-Schmidt is Denmark’s real-life first female Danish PM (although she very much is not Birgitte Nyborg) and b) because of her links to the Labour Party (she is Neil and Glenys Kinnock’s daughter-in-law). However the meeting that may be most relevant might be on Wednesday, when the two men meet representatives from teh Dutch Labour Party, who recently bounced back into government off the back of a successful election campaign that was marked by sometimes painful honesty about the future of the country.

There has clearly been plenty of thinking about Scandinavian Social Democracy in Miliband’s office recently. Some Miliband supporters – and detractors – think he’s something of a Scandinavian Social Democrat himself. Interestingly, when I spoke to a senior Miliband aide last week they said that what interested them most about Scandanavian economies was less their reliance on tax and spend, and more the highly skilled and educated population, leading to low wage differentials between the top and bottom of society. No doubt that’s something Miliband and Alexander will be wanting to discuss while they’re away – as well as creating some dividing lines between Miliband’s approach to Europe (constructive, open, engaged) and Cameron’s (closed and obstructive).

Speaking ahead of his trip – Miliband released the following statement:

“Britain’s future lies in Europe not outside it. The EU provides a gateway to the single market for thousands of British businesses and those who invest in our country. But with millions of people out of work across Europe including one million young people in Britain, it’s clear that Europe isn’t working for its people.

“This is a failure of David Cameron’s economic approach in Europe as in Britain: a failure to understand that recovery will be made by the many not just a few at the top; the failure of the notion that a relentless squeeze on living standards could ever lead to growth; the failure of collective austerity as the answer to the economic problems of Europe.

“I will be talking to allies across Europe – in Denmark, Sweden, and Holland – about how we change it to make the EU work for working people and help us all begin building for the future. And learning lessons for Britain about how we can create a successful economy, one which is made to last.

“That means adopting a different approach from this government. We cannot create wealth through just a few at the top, but only by supporting the living standards, skills and talents of the many. We need a plan for an economy that works for all of Europe’s people.” 

  • Daniel Speight

    …and more the highly skilled and educated population, leading to low wage differentials between the top and bottom of society.

    Again I go back to (harp on about) that measurement of income inequality called the Gini Coefficient. This idea of narrowing the gap in incomes really is a question of faith for social democrats. You see you can’t support neo-liberal economics and more equal incomes at the same time. It really is test of the leadership of the party, one which unfortunately Blair and Brown failed miserably.

    • Dave Postles

      The GC is probably is probably much higher than actually recorded since it is easier to disguise income and wealth these days.
      Additionally, a number of economists are reasserting that inequality inhibits economic growth.

      • Daniel Speight

        Yes Dave, it seems that support for the idea that unequal societies fare worse than those that are more equal is gaining support all the time. It seems that ‘greed is good’ has had its day.

  • Pingback: The forging of a UK-Nordic-Baltic bloc | The Corner The Corner

Latest

  • Featured Polling Jowell retakes lead in Labour London Mayor poll – but race is still wide open

    Jowell retakes lead in Labour London Mayor poll – but race is still wide open

    The Evening Standard have released their latest polling in the race for Labour’s candidate for London Mayor. Once again, Tessa Jowell maintains her lead amongst all voters, with 12% (up one point since the last poll a month ago) and Diane Abbott remains second with 8%, down one from last month. Doreen Lawrence receives 6%, David Lammy, Sadiq Khan and Andrew Adonis are tied on 4%, while Christian Wolmar, included in the poll for the first time (despite being the only […]

    Read more →
  • News Has anyone seen this missing Tory candidate?

    Has anyone seen this missing Tory candidate?

    Conservatives in Southampton Itchen have hit upon a unique way of publicising their candidate for next year’s election: they’ve started asking if anyone has seen him. Setting up social media accounts titled “Where’s Royston?”, the local party has started dragging around a cardboard cut-out of candidate Royston Smith and asking if anyone has seen him, presumably not realising that this highlights the absence of the actual candidate. Understanding that attempting to run an election campaign with a reluctant candidate might […]

    Read more →
  • Comment The Tories attack Miliband because they’ve got no decent policies

    The Tories attack Miliband because they’ve got no decent policies

    As the 2015 general election approaches, it is becoming more obvious by the day what the Tory strategy is: there are no new ideas, policies will continue much as they are now, with the emphasis on denigrating Labour proposals and the Labour leader. If Labour announces details to increase income or corporation tax, Tories are ready to pounce. The Tory propaganda machine has successfully convinced the more gullible that somehow the Labour government’s spending on schools and hospitals caused the […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured McBride back to attack a Labour leader? Old habits die hard

    McBride back to attack a Labour leader? Old habits die hard

    Stop the presses: the paperback edition of Damian McBride’s aptly named memoir Power Trip has been published. And if there’s one thing the Labour Party didn’t need nine months before an election, it was more McBride – and the accompanying extensive extract in the Daily Mail. When the book was originally released, it was pushed as McBride trying to atone for his sins, without asking for forgiveness. However, it soon became clear that it was more a “mea culpa, mea culpa, […]

    Read more →
  • News The Choice on the NHS – read the full text of Andy Burnham’s speech

    The Choice on the NHS – read the full text of Andy Burnham’s speech

    When people look back, this could turn out to be no ordinary summer for the NHS. In just over two weeks, a group of mums from Darlington will set out from the North East, retracing the steps of the Jarrow marchers. The People’s March for the NHS aims to raise awareness about, in their words, “the Government’s assault on our most prized possession”. It remains to be seen whether it catches the public mood. But I think it might. There […]

    Read more →