Ed Miliband in Scotland today
Ed Miliband in Scotland today

Ed Miliband has positioned himself as the new Margaret Thatcher saying the time was ripe for him to become Prime Minister.

Speaking at the Labour party conference in Inverness, Miliband likened the problems Britain faces today with the circumstances which confronted Thatcher when she came to power in 1979.

Using sharply left-wing rhetoric, Miliband identified "large private sector vested interests" and the withdrawal of the state from regulation, as the reason why Britain currently wallows in austerity amid spending cuts and sluggish growth.

PM David Cameron has "utterly failed" and leads a "hopeless" government, he argued.

Today's speech to the party faithful saw Miliband map out his vision for governing Britain, saying: "You know the similarities between what was happening in the 1980s and what is happening today under a Conservative-led government. But the parallels don't end there.

"They also lie in what enabled the Tory government to come to power back then and circumstances now. Back in the 1970s, it was clear the country needed a new way of doing things - a new settlement - and so too today."

He sought to bury Thatcher's legacy and vision of a shrunken state which allows the so-called 'animal spirits' of free markets to roam free.

"The old way of running our economy just doesn't work anymore: deregulation; the dominance of finance over industry; allowing large private sector vested interests to flourish; government getting out of the way in the economy; the promise that the majority would always do well from an in-it-for-yourself, laissez faire, deregulated economy just isn't working

"Some people used to believe David Cameron could change our economy for the better but not anymore.

"We've got a government making things worse: the slowest recovery for one hundred years; wages frozen; prices going up; unemployment increasing; borrowing rising.

"Their plan has completely and utterly failed. And what is their solution? How do they say we can turn our economy around? Tax cuts for millionaires, the old way of doing things that says wealth trickles down from the top."

Miliband's words put yet more space between himself and New Labour, which Tony Blair transformed in to an election-winning machine between 1997 and 2007.

Last week, Miliband added to the eulogies for the late PM, who died from a stroke. Thatcher had been a "unique and towering figure" he claimed. His words jarred among supporters north of the border, where the Conservatives today have just a single MP.