Protests must be heard, says Labour party

THE protesters campaigning outside St Paul’s cathedral reflect the concerns of millions of people and it would be “reckless” to ignore or dismiss them, Labour leader Ed Miliband said yesterday.

The comments, which were made in a Sunday newspaper article, constitute the strongest signal of support for the protesters from a mainstream politician since they erected their camp outside St Paul’s on 15 October.

“They reflect a crisis of concern for millions of people about the biggest issue of our time: the gap between their values and the way our country is run,” Miliband wrote in the Observer.

“The warning lights on the dashboard are flashing. And only the most reckless will ignore or, still worse, dismiss the danger signals.”

He added: “The problem is a system of irresponsible, predatory capitalism based on the short-term, rather than productive, responsible behaviour which benefits business and most people in the long term.”

Miliband cited soaring energy bills and a survey showing a 49 per cent increase in the pay of FTSE 100 executives as two examples of what he called a “fast buck” society.

Yesterday, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander defended the party’s position on the St Paul’s camp and said the protesters were speaking “to a much deeper unease in society about the rules by which society is being run”.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has been more cautious in his response to the protests, saying the freedom to demonstrate should not allow someone to pitch a tent anywhere in London.