Ed Miliband breaks silence over Occupy London protest at right time, say PROs

Ed Miliband wrote about the Occupy London protests in the Observer on Sunday, striking the right note, according to PR professionals.

Ed Miliband: Occupy London protests are a ‘wake-up call’
Ed Miliband: Occupy London protests are a ‘wake-up call’

He wrote that the actions by the camp at St Paul's Cathedral 'reflect a crisis of concern for millions' about 'the gap between their values and the way our country is run'.

Miliband described the Occupy London protest and others across the world as a ‘wake-up call’ and a symptom of a wider crisis caused by Eurozone turmoil, record unemployment, rising inflation and squeezed living standards.
 
Miliband looked to use the actions of Occupy to reiterate the messages unveiled at the last Labour Party conference, where he vowed to rid the country of ‘irresponsible, predatory capitalism’. He added that politicians were in touch with the wealthy elite but were 'badly out of touch with the reality facing the other 99 per cent'.
 
Priest and comms adviser George Pitcher, who has been critical of St Paul’s handling of the protests, told PRWeek: ‘Miliband is smack on the money with what he's said. Capitalism isn't the problem - it's the way some juvenile and inconsiderate people run it that has caused our parlous predicament. We need to reconnect capitalism with ethics and the PR industry has yet to get that – it's still banging the same old drums, whose skins have split.’

The Labour leader went as far as to say that politicians must listen to the protesters and that only the 'most reckless' would ignore the ‘danger signals’ from Occupy London.
 
Miliband also talked of the ‘danger signals’: ‘I am determined that mainstream politics, and the Labour party in particular, speaks to that crisis and rises to the challenge.'
 
Pitcher suggested Miliband’s stance would put pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron. ‘David Cameron has a big problem,’ he said. ‘He needs to convince the Eurozone that he can deal with domestic civil strife, but he also mustn't look like he's stifling protest to his own party's economic austerity. That's the pressure point Miliband has found and he's pressing it.’
 
Lexis corporate head James Thellusson also praised Miliband’s timing, saying that the ‘anger and frustration which Occupy represents’ could be part of a ‘fundamental reassessment of the way things are, which could have important political consequences’.
 
The protesters took refuge at St Paul’s three weeks ago after plans to base themselves at the London Stock Exchange were blocked by an injunction. The cathedral’s handling of the action has seen the canon, chaplain and dean of St Paul's resign over mixed messages on whether the church should move the protesters on or allow them to stay.
 
Miliband stated that ‘business as usual is not an option’. He added: ‘The deeper issues raised by the current crisis are too important to be left shivering on the steps of St Paul's.’
 
Thellusson added: ‘I think he [Miliband] was right to have tapped into the concerns of ordinary voters about the ethics and behaviour of corporations and business leaders – in particular, the value of business to society as a whole.’

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