By Harry Phibbs
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I doubt that any faction in the Labour Party can have found much in Ed Miliband's speech to the National Policy Forum today to enthuse them. For a start there was what he didn't say. What was his response to the growing and gathering civil war in the Party between the unions and the Blairites over the proposal to ban Progress? Nothing.
Much of the speech talked about the Leveson inquiry, which even journalists are starting to get bored with.
No media organisation should ever be allowed to exercise that amount of power ever again.
The Murdoch Empire must be broken up.
This Prime Minister cannot be the answer.
This is a Prime Minister who sent the texts.
He received the texts.
He even rode the horse.
A Prime Minister who hasn’t learned the lessons.
That’s why we have a tainted Prime Minister.
But Miliband has had endless meetings, drinks and dinners with News International representatives including Rebekah Brooks. No doubt plenty of text messaging as well. Miliband recruited Tom Baldwin as his spin doctor especially to woo the Murdoch Empire.
If he really thinks "no media organisation" should have as much power as Murdoch does in this country does he also believe that the BBC "must be broken up."? Tim has pointed out that 73% of people's news comes from TV and that 70% of that comes from the BBC.
I suspect that Miliband doesn't really mean "media organisation" but "newspaper group" and that his proposals for capping market share only apply to newspapers not to TV.
Also if Miliband really feels the Murdoch Empire "must" be broken up would he be prepared for us to withdraw our membership of the EU if their competition rules got in the way of that pet project of his?
In another section of the speech he said:
I believe in an economy where reward is related to effort and there is a bond between the highest and lowest paid.
But we know that today in our country, people at the top can be paid 100 times, 1,000 times more than their lowest paid employee.
So we have to seek to build this good economy.
Does that mean that, as our Prime Minister, Miliband would ensure that people at the top can't be paid 100 times or a 1,000 times more than those at the bottom? What would the cap be? His brother David is earning £500,000 a year – which I suppose could be getting on for 100 times more than he pays his research assistant. Are David's earnings too high? What about Ed's own salary as Leader of the Opposition, (at present £139,355)? Would that be the right sort of cap? Or the, doubtless much higher, salary enjoyed by his barrister wife Justine Thornton?
There doesn't actually seem to be any policy at all to stop some people earning hundred times more than others. But mentioning it in a deprecating way allows him to make an egalitarian noise.