In his first speech as Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband today vowed to reject the findings of focus groups that suggest there are no votes in green issues, pledging to stick by his belief that climate change represents the gravest threat to the world economy.
“The focus groups will tell you that there are no votes in green issues,” he told the Labour conference in Manchester. “Maybe not. But taking the difficult steps to protect our planet for future generations is the greatest challenge our generation faces.”
He argued that climate change represented the greatest challenge to the current generation of politicians and warned that greenhouse gas emissions could not be curbed using the traditional approach to short-term politics.
“Climate change, just like the aging society, can’t be tackled by the politics we have,” he warned. “They don’t lend themselves to the politics of now: instant results, instant votes, instant popularity. X-factor politics. So we can’t be imprisoned by the focus groups. Politics has to be about leadership or it is about nothing.”
Miliband was this week hailed by Friends of the Earth as the greenest of the three main party leaders thanks to his stint as energy and climate change secretary.
However, his lengthy speech touched only briefly on environmental issues and offered little in the way of firm policy commitments, instead focusing largely on his desire to lead a “new generation” of Labour politicians capable of challenging the coalition’s “pessimistic” economic strategy.
Editor’s Note: Party leaders should prepare themselves for growing anger and hostility as UK households see their energy and heating bills continue to rise as a direct result of extremely costly green energy schemes.