Climate change requires new kind of politics, says Miliband
Ed Miliband, the new Labour leader, set out his vision for the future of the party and the country, today, saying climate change and tackling it was the greatest challenge we faced and required a new way of doing politics.
In his first major speech since beating off his brother David in the Labour Party leadership contest, Ed Miliband rejected what he called “X-Factor politics” and the notion that politicians should ignore green issues because they are not perceived to be vote winners. He said climate change did not lend itself to “instant popularity”, but strong leadership prepared to take difficult decisions.
“The focus groups will tell you that there’s no votes in green issues. Maybe not. But taking the difficult steps to protect our planet for future generations is the greatest challenge our generation faces,” he told the Labour Party conference in Manchester.
“When I think about my son, I think what he will be asking me in 20 years time is whether I was part of the last generation not to get climate change or the first generation to get it.”
Comparing climate change to the “aging society”, he said neither lent themselves to “the politics of now: instant results, instant votes, instant popularity. X-factor politics.”
However, in what appeared to be a deliberate attempt not to be pigeon-holed as Labour’s ‘green’ leader, the former Secretary of Energy and Climate Change, made only a brief reference to the issues that dominated his life for two years while in power and did not set out any specific policy positions on green issues.
Instead he focused on his personal life that has shaped his views, the economy and the public deficit. He talked about being a responsible leader of the Opposition that was prepared to disagree with the Government, when it needed to, but not for the sake of it.
But he did attempt to draw a clear line between himself and his party and Prime Minister David Cameron. Referring to the “new generation” that is leading the Labour Party, he said it was characterised by humility about the past and “optimism” about the future.
“Let the message go out: a new generation has taken charge of Labour. Optimistic about our country. Optimistic about our world. Optimistic about the power of politics. We are the optimists and together we will change Britain,” he said.