Tuesday, 28 September 2010

A new generation for change

Ed Miliband cast Labour as the optimists of British politics as he sought to define his leadership and draw dividing lines between himself and the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition.

In his first party conference speech as leader, Miliband vowed to drive David Cameron out of power after just one term and to counter the Tory leader's "miserable, pessimistic view" of what the country can achieve under the guise of spending cuts.

"We are the optimists in politics today," he told delegates as he dismissed the nickname "Red Ed" in an hour-long speech designed to place him in the centre ground, Miliband laid down a number of markers for Labour under his leadership.

These included:

• Acknowledging that some cuts would be necessary to cut the deficit

• Defending unions as part of a civilised society but warning that he would not support "irresponsible strikes"

• Promising to vote "yes" in a referendum on electoral reform

• Calling for a living wage and suggesting that Labour would take action against excessive boardroom pay

• Describing the Iraq war as wrong.