Its not often that you get to see both Ed Milliband and Vince Cable share the same platform and even more remarkably, declare the same heartfelt support for manufacturing industry. Both were guest speakers at the recent EEF National Manufacturing conference 2012 held in London (Twitter #ukmfgconf). Ed kicked off first, saying that, “Nobody believes that manufacturing doesn’t matter anymore” and that “there is a role for an active industrial strategy by government.” He declared, ”We shouldn’t be embarrassed about having a patriotic industrial strategy.”
Later in the programme, Vince Cable as secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, fresh from the Motor Show in Geneva where Nissan had announced that its new model, Invitation is to be produced in its UK plant, creating 2000 jobs, echoed much of what Ed Milliband had said. Vince Cable said that rebalancing the economy required a sophisticated approach and that government had an important role to play. Citing how the UK motor industry had completely transformed itself through strategic leadership initiatives such as the Automotive Council, Vince Cable said other sectors, such as aerospace and marine, could emulate this model. The political mood music is definitely improving.