“In twenty years time people will either say “that guy was a tosser” or “that guy did the right thing”. When addressing the University of York Labour Club on Friday May 1 it became clear that the 37 year old Ed Miliband is already thinking about the next generation.
During his speech, Labour’s Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, outlined three major challenges facing the country in the future: globalisation, social challenges, and climate change are all issues that need to be resolved sooner rather than later.
One issue that caught the attention of the audience was that of Labour’s decline in the polls since the arrival of Gordon Brown. Miliband stood by the leader of his party saying: “Early on, he [Brown] impressed a lot of people with the handling of particular crises”. However, Miliband admitted to some serious issues in the Labour camp. “Some problems have been our creation, like allowing the election speculation to go on for too long…it’s been very difficult in the last few months.”
On the local election results he commented “I spent two hours in a BBC studio trying to defend them and it became increasingly obvious to me that these were not good results.” Milliband did not express as much concern about the London result (at the time unconfirmed), saying the vote was on London based issues, and that Ken’s chances were not hampered by affiliation with Labour. “Our history with Ken is not a glorious one. But disappointingly, Boris has been able to wish away all of his past comments…which I think is quite skilful.” In hindsight, Boris it seems he did much more than that.
Miliband attacked the current state of British politics deeming it as childish. “This is where Cameron was right; that you need a more grown-up style of politics otherwise it makes people think that parliament is about people shouting at each other. If you saw children aged 11 doing that then you would think they should behave themselves.”
Miliband emphasised the importance of parliament saying that “needs to become more powerful.” The room fell into an uncomfortable silence. He proceeded to explain how parliament should also become more open, suggesting that the youth parliament should be able to sit with the senior members.
Speaking on Gordon Brown’s approach to China Miliband did not believe separation was the answer. “In the end you have to make a judgement – is it better to isolate them or is it better to try and work with them?”, he said.
Click here for the full transcript of the press conference held between York Media and Ed Miliband