Ed Miliband’s New Statesman interview – the key points

Ed Miliband has a major interview in the New Statesman with their Editor Jason Cowley this week. I’ll be writing more about the interview (and what it means) later, but here are the key points:

On Balls

Miliband describes reports on tension between him and Balls as “nonsense” and their relationship as “good”. When asked why he didn’t appoint Balls as shadow chancellor sooner, he says:

“Look, you make the decisions you make. We’ve been working together now for 18 months. Everybody said at the time that it would be a repeat of Blair and Brown and all that. But it’s total nonsense, honestly. He’s been proved right about austerity.”

But he admits Balls is physically and intellectually intimidating:

“To the Tory opponents he is, yes, and that’s a jolly good thing.”

“Predistribution” not redistribution:

Miliband seems to be suggesting that the aim of the next Labour government will be to make redistribution less neccessary because work will pay better, he says:

“The Government’s economic failure means that whoever wins the next election will still face a deficit that needs to be reduced. The redistribution of the last Labour government relied on revenue which the next Labour government will not enjoy. The option of simply increasing tax credits in the way we did before will not be open to us.

“We need to care more about predistribution.  Centre-left governments of the past tried to make work pay better by spending more on transfer payments.  Centre-left governments of the future will have to make work pay better by doing more to make work itself pay.  That is how we are going to build growth based not just on credit, but on real demand.”

Miliband is giving a speech to Policy Network tomorrow – expect more on this then.

Why the “Brown Model” won’t be repeated by Miliband:

He  might be caricatured as a “Son of Brown” but he has no intention of returning to “The Brown Model”:

“There’s one way that says you just set lots of targets centrally and that’s the way you make public services work. That’s the Brown model, slightly caricatured. The second model is – if it doesn’t work, tender it out. Outsource it. That has its problems of fragmentation…People are out of love with an uncontrolled market but they’re certainly not in love with a remote state.”

Why Miliband feels the Lib Dems made a “terrible,tragic mistake”

Those who like to read the runes on Ed Miliband’s feelings towards the Lib Dems might find this an interesting turn of phrase from Miliband:

“What’s happened to them is very bad for the country. I feel they made a terrible, tragic mistake [in entering the coalition]. I remember sitting in the coalition negotiations, the unsuccessful ones, and saying to them: ‘Do you realise what supporting the Tory deficit plan would mean? They all looked at me slightly blank. They hadn’t really thought it through.”

And why the Olympics mattered:

“for the first time in my life, I got a sense of what my dad [the Marxist academic Ralph Miliband] used to talk to me about, about the wartime spirit, his time in the navy. You can’t have a permanent Olympic Games, but I think there’s something about what kind of country do we feel like. Do we feel a sense of obligation to each other? Do people feel the benefits and burdens of life are fairly distributed? Those things are partly economic but they go deeper than that.” 

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