Miliband fears St Paul's protester 'leadership'

Ed Miliband says protesters shouldn't lead opposition
Ed Miliband says protesters shouldn't lead opposition

By staff

Ed Miliband has appealed for a broad coalition beyond politics to tackle Britain's "crisis of concern" about the way the country is run.

The Labour leader used an article for the Observer newspaper to highlight the "danger signals" reflected by the concerns of the Occupy protesters encamped outside St Paul's cathedral in London.

He distanced himself from the protesters, saying politicians' role is to "find answers" rather than "protest". But Mr Miliband acknowledged that the "shivering" demonstrators reflected broader worries about Britain.

"The problem... is a system of irresponsible, predatory capitalism based on the short-term, rather than productive, responsible behaviour which benefits business and most people in the long term," he wrote.

He attacked the behaviour of "those with great power", especially those in the City, whose values are "out of kilter with almost everyone else".

Mr Miliband said Labour would break up the hold of the 'big six' energy firms and challenge top chief executives over their pay if he was in power.

But he appeared to acknowledge that public attention on the St Paul's protesters, rather than Labour's agenda, risked undermining his attempts to challenge the coalition's agenda.

"This is another of those moments because the deeper issues raised by the current crisis are too important to be left shivering on the steps of St Paul's," he wrote.

"We cannot leave it to the protesters to lead this debate."

He concluded by pledging to build a "coalition" of opposition to the government's austerity measures, including businesses and civil society.

Meanwhile, talks are ongoing about the longevity of the Occupy protest. The Corporation of London is no longer pursuing its legal bid to oust the encampment, meaning the demonstration is set to continue into 2012.


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