Ed’s Day – 13 and 14 June 2019

So, Mr Umunna’s arrival, welcome though it was, kind of put paid to our scheduling plans. So we’ll be catching up with the leadership campaign over the next two nights.

Thursday seems such a long time ago now.

It started for Ed with local success:

Before he expressed that he was, shall we say, less than impressed with  the man who looks like he is going to be our Prime Minister.

On Friday, he remembered those who lost their lives in Grenfell Tower:

And then up north to the hustings in Manchester

And then he wrote for the New Statesman (£) reprising a catchphrase from Blair, Tough on Brexit, tough on the causes of Brexit.

The Liberal Democrats actually have myriad policies to tackle regional, racial, class and generational inequality. The pupil premium, free school dinners and the national apprenticeship scheme were landmark Lib Dem achievements that have helped profoundly. But we need fresh ways of fighting structural inequality, and then proclaim them.

That must mean (no ifs, no buts) an end to austerity now.

It should be no surprise that so many voted Leave – successive governments, of all persuasions, have often felt powerless in the face of vast global and historic forces. This has left an underclass further cut adrift from the rest of society than at any point since the Rowntree report more than a century ago inspired the New Liberalism of Asquith and Lloyd George to found the Welfare State. Progressive politics needs a re-boot every bit as radical today to give a stake in society to everyone who lives in it. If that were not challenge enough, we must tackle the calamity of climate change and the racist nationalism of Farage and Johnson that fires hate.

And he talked to the New European about putting a stop to some really scary stuff going on with the Russians and the Tories back in the days of the coalition:

“In those early days, Cameron had wanted ROSATOM – the Russian state nuclear energy corporation – to be allowed access to the UK domestic nuclear power market, after he’d had a chat with his old mate Vlad. As secretary of state, I emphatically did not, and I made sure it did not happen.

“Later, a company invested in the energy sector that was set up by a Russian business magnate with close links to the Kremlin, made a determined attempt to buy oil and gas assets in the North Sea. I recognised this was undesirable, not least because it would have put production at risk after the US sanctions imposed post-Crimea. I used powers no secretary of state had ever used before to see them off – and let’s just say I didn’t always feel I had what I would have considered to be a normal level of support from other parts of the government.”

And he said that his plan to tackle climate change was better than the Greens’

I have great admiration for Caroline Lucas and I am happy to work with her on issues such as the People’s Vote, but the Greens are weak in Westminster and their position on Brexit is not entirely solid even now, with Baroness Jenny Jones, their spokesperson in the Lords, vociferously in favour of leaving. Historically, the Greens have been very hostile to the EU.

“I was an environmentalist before I went into politics and I would have joined the Greens if I hadn’t seen from the start that their environmental policies were never going to work. They take the same view as Corbyn, that industries need to be taken back into state control, whereas the way to effect real change is to make the markets our servants.

“As secretary of state, I managed to quadruple our use of renewable energy, make Britain the leader in offshore wind and dramatically cut the cost of renewable power through new competitive auctions, so green power is now more competitive than fossil fuels. The best way forward has to be carbon-free capitalism.”

 

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