The Labour leader Ed Miliband said he has nothing against the rich – as long as they made their money “the hard way”.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph Miliband said he will not “pass moral judgment” on people who have made fortunes but insists their wealth comes with responsibilities.
He said the last Labour government was too ready to accept that businesses and financial services needed “light touch” regulation.
However, he says the “creativity” of capitalism should be harnessed and made “more decent” and “humane”.
“I believe capitalism is the least worst system we’ve got,” he said.
He also acknowledged the merits of Margaret Thatcher’s aspiration agenda.
Asked whether it is good to be rich, he replies: “Yes, if you make it the hard way. It’s not for me to pass moral judgment.”
When Tony Blair was prime minister, Lord Mandelson said New Labour was “intensely relaxed” about people becoming “filthy rich”, comments which look misguided after fives years of financial and economic crisis.
The Labour leader is keen to show that he is a centrist and can appeal to voters who would consider voting Conservative.
Ralph Miliband, his father, was an anti-capitalist of the Marxist left but the Labour leader said he does not think as his father did.
“My dad was sceptical of all the Thatcher aspirational stuff,” he said. “But I felt you sort of had to recognise that what she was talking about struck a chord. I want to save capitalism from itself.”
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