Ed Miliband’s most senior and trusted adviser Stewart Wood has described the Labour leader’s key policy plank as “ugly”. While interviewing the violent French number-cooker Thomas Piketty yesterday, Lord Wood asked “how can you get people who don’t have access to wealth – in the ugly word ‘predistribution’ – to get access to wealth, to get access to those assets?” Which makes you wonder why, as one of Ed’s main speech-writers, he let the Labour leader drone on with the “ugly word” so much.
Here are Wood’s words, as read out by Ed, at the ‘New Agenda’ speech, in late 2012:
“We need to care about predistribution as well as redistribution.
Predistribution is about saying: We cannot allow ourselves to be stuck with permanently being a low-wage economy. It is neither just, nor does it enable us to pay our way in the world.
Our aim must be to transform our economy so it is a much higher skill, higher wage economy. Think about somebody working in a call centre, a supermarket, or in an old peoples’ home.
Redistribution offers a top-up to their wages.
Predistribution seeks to offer them more.”
Lord Wood tells Guido that it was a “self-deprecating remark about the word. Nothing more.” While the word itself is ugly, apparently the idea behind remains important. Something lots of people were saying at the time. Onwards towards the process of redistributing wealth, formerly known as predistribution….