I am a bit slow on the uptake. I was puzzled by references to Ed Miliband wanting to abolish quarterly reporting requirements on companies in his speech last week. The obvious search terms failed to find it in the transcript, but now I have it. I must have been out of the room for this passage:
To be a One Nation economy we have to make life just that bit easier for the producers, and that bit harder for the predators. “Predators and producers”, I think one year on people know what I was talking about. You see businesses tell me that the pressure for the fast buck from City investors means they just can’t take the long view. They want to plan one year, two years, ten years ahead but they have to publish their accounts in Britain every 3 months. In line with the wishes of the best of British business, we will end that rule so companies in Britain can take the long term productive view for our country.
That is naive leftism at its worst, as I commented when he said similarly daft things 10 months ago, trying to add substance to his conference speech last year:
The thing about short-term returns is that they are the net present value of long-term returns. Who says a company takeover is “too quick”? Perhaps capitalism would be good and decent if everything just slowed down a bit.
(Although it turned out that Gordon Brown had actually let him write one of the daftest proposals into Labour’s 2010 manifesto.)
I thought Miliband’s speech this year was less bad because there was less in it, but even that benign judgement turned out to be mistaken.
The full panoply of the attempt to legislate against market economics is described in more detail in briefing documents which I haven’t seen, but which Patrick Wintour has.Tagged in: capitalism, ed miliband
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