Ed Miliband has promised to make Labour the party of people’s “hopes and aspirations” as he launched a full-scale review of its policies.
Addressing the party’s National Policy Forum in Gillingham, he said that they had to recognise the need for change in the wake of their general election defeat and to move “beyond New Labour”.
“We have to show again we are the people who are the idealists, we are the people who are the optimists, we are the people who can represent the hopes, the dreams, the aspirations of the British people,” he said.
“So please join us on this journey. Join us on this journey which makes us once again the people’s party, the party of people’s hopes and aspirations, back on people’s side, back in power making for the fairer, the more equal, the more just country we believe in.”
Mr Miliband said that while there was deep anger at the “broken promises” of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, Labour could not afford simply to wait for the coalition to “screw up”.
“I know that we have got to change in order to win,” he said. “There is no short cut or quick fix to this. We shouldn’t mistake the anger we feel at what the coalition is doing to the country for a sense that it isn’t as much about us as it is about them.”
Mr Miliband said that he made no apology for speaking up for what he describes as the “squeezed middle”.
“People were feeling squeezed before this Government. They are feeling much, much more squeezed now this Government is in power,” he said.
“So it is about standing up for the hopes and aspirations of people. That must be our mission, to narrow the gap between the dreams that people can see around them and their chances of realising them.”
He also indicated that he was ready to reform the system which elected him party leader, saying that a system where some members had multiple votes should be a “thing of the past”.