An outward-looking Britain

Ed Miliband made an important speech today focusing on how Britain needs to change.

The dividing lines between Labour’s values and the priorities of the Tories/UKIP have never been clearer. Throughout his speech, and even more in the extended question-and-answer session afterwards, Ed showed that Labour is not afraid to stand up for truth and fairness in areas where others prefer to peddle myths or cast around for someone to blame.

After all the negative rhetoric we’ve heard from UKIP and the Tories, it was refreshing to hear a leading politician with the courage to stand up and make a positive case for EU membership. Britain must stay at the heart of a strong European Union, not just for the sake of the British jobs and prosperity that depend on it, but so that we can once again play a leading role in Europe and the world. Ed was crystal clear that Labour will not put that in danger.

He also made a strong, clear statement on the migration debate, arguing that our conversations should always be on the basis of Labour values, not UKIP values. Labour has always stood up for the less privileged, whether they be exploited workers from other countries, working for less than the minimum wage and living in terrible conditions because unscrupulous employers trample on their legal rights; or whether they be hardworking British people who see their pay undercut and livelihoods undermined by the shady recruitment practices of those very same unscrupulous employers. Migration overall brings benefits to Britain, but where it does lead to particular problems, we must face up to and tackle those problems — not shirk responsibility by blaming “foreigners” or “Brussels”.

All in all, an excellent speech. For me, Ed’s message was well summarised by his response to an audience question: “I believe in an outward-looking Britain, not an inward-looking one”.

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