The evolution of Ed Miliband’s Labour Party continues today with a letter in the Observer from candidates demanding that the party renationalizes the railways to lower the fares. It would be popular in commuter towns, they say – no wonder, as this would pass the costs from commuters to the general taxpayer. When challenged about it on this morning’s Andrew Marr show, Miliband didn’t rule it out. ‘We’re looking at all the options,’ he said. His only concession was that he is ‘not going back to old-style British Rail,’ – he plans a new form of state intervention.
Miliband then went on to accuse Cameron of being a ‘cheerleader’ for the Pfizer’s proposed takeover of AstraZeneca and said that he’d set up an independent inquiry to see if the government should stop shareholders selling to Pfeizer. Yet again, his instinct is to interfere.
Time and time again, we see that Ed Miliband’s plans for government tend not to involve government. They tend to involve edicts that he’d issue to those not in government. Landlords, power companies, moneylenders – and, today, supermarkets. The Mail on Sunday has got hold of Andy Burnham’s health agenda, which is says has been approved by Miliband, where he’d ‘outlaw cheap drink’ via minimum alcohol pricing, and get ride of those Frosties (they’rrrrre verboten) because they’re too sugary. Then tell supermarkets which shelves they should use to display the drink they sell.
When Marr asked him why he wants to boss about businesses so much, he was unapologetic – he said he wanted ‘markets working in the public interest’. In other words: markets (i.e., people) working along the lines dictated by Miliband’s government. The very notion of commercial freedom seems to worry him. He sees problems even where they don’t exist.