Labour leader, Ed Miliband, has confounded his critics – especially in the Tory press – with a speech at the Labour Party Conference that resonated far beyond his audience in Brighton. While I may have my differences with certain elements in the Tower Hamlets Labour Party, who have by the national party’s own admittance ‘not exactly covered themselves in glory’, in recent years, like many in London I want to see Ed Miliband as the next Prime Minister. This week many of us will have seen him as the next Prime Minister in waiting.
Here in Tower Hamlets we have led the way in bringing in the Living Wage, restoring the Education Maintenance Allowance, along with grants for students and free school meals. We have also introduced a Tower Hamlets Energy Co-op. So I was delighted that Ed Miliband promised that the next Labour Government would legislate for many of these policies on a national scale. In particular his decision to take on the energy corporations is as courageous as it is absolutely necessary. For too long these corporate giants have got away with exorbitant prices and price hikes, so for Ed Miliband to pledge a freeze on price rises for twenty months if Labour wins the next General Election is a very good development indeed. The response by some of the energy companies demonstrates that they have power without responsibility. It is absurd for them to claim that this very sensible planned intervention could ‘put out the lights’. The public are well aware that this is simple scaremongering on their part. Nor will the public be much impressed if those same energy giants suddenly increase prices to the consumer prior to the General Election.
Ed Miliband is showing that he is on the side of the ordinary person. He is strong in taking on the powerful, while David Cameron is weak in taking on the powerful. That difference has become a whole lot clearer in Brighton this week and throughout the country as a whole.