Ed Miliband appeared on the live BBC show Free Speech. He was willing to discuss his current position within politics and where he would like to be in the near future. The audience was also able to voice their opinion and asked him questions concerning the biggest issues they are facing in today’s society.
The audience was interested in a variety of topics such as Ed Miliband’s image as a ‘strange’ individual and whether the suggestion of decreasing tuition fees is another empty promise made by a political leader. Miliband’s response was an excellent approach to criticism. He seems to be fully aware of how the nation perceives him and that he may come across as weird and not as charismatic as people may want a leader of their country to be. However, he reassures us that a leader is about knowledge and wanting to fight for the right cause. His aim is to improve the country and to tackle inequality.
The promises made by Labour this year are as follows: to decrease tuition fees to £6,000 a year for undergraduate students, to increase the minimum wage to a living wage and to create over 150, 000 new houses. “I want to be the first politician to under-promise but over-deliver”; Ed Miliband acknowledged that the Labour Party has made a lot of promises but ended up disappointing Labour voters once they had won the election. Nonetheless, this could be said for all parties who have ever won the national election.
Appropriately, with a decrease in tuition fees, college students also demand a return of the Education Maintenance Allowance, otherwise known as EMA. This scheme supported students from the age of 16-18 with a low economic background across the country and has been discontinued to help the economy to get back on track. It was very visible on the show that the British society is very demanding. It has to be made clear that all needs cannot be fulfilled by introducing new policies or bringing back old policies. The reality is that our nation is no longer as stable as it was 60 years ago and there are certain policies, we as a country, simply can no longer afford. Unfortunately, this leads to inequality with some individuals suffering when others reap the benefits because the Party in power favours that particular social group.
The reason why the Labour Party appeals to the working class and ethnic minorities, not to the better-off, is that the Labour Party is aware of the inequality amongst different classes and races. In comparison to the Conservative Party, they seem to know how to tackle inequality. The introduction of policies such as the bedroom tax for example had little effect on the middle-class, affecting the lowest income families the most. Those social groups are neglected by the Conservative Party and have a chance of a better future with Labour. Ed Miliband believes in equality and according to him, Labour represents exactly that.
It was apparent that a large number of young individuals would prefer not to vote. They simply did not believe that any party would respond or listen to the problems modern youth face. Social media enables diverse ways of communicating with the younger audience. Television shows, such as Free Speech brings awareness to social and political issues. Ed Miliband also made an interesting point regarding the reason why young people do not believe in voting. He has noticed that young adults believe that their future will be worse in comparison to their parents. Some might say this is a discouraging way of thinking however, according to the handful of information available; the future can only get worse.
The majority of political leaders do not fulfil their purpose and only want to be in power, once they are in Number 10 they seem to forget about the promises they have made that won them the election. Who is to say it will not happen again? Nonetheless, Ed Miliband has shown his intelligence and his great awareness of his position and where he sees himself in the future.
By Heidi Boahen, Junior Writer for Daily Political View.