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Coffee House

Miliband re-opens campaign with same old weapons

30 August 2011

4:53 PM

30 August 2011

4:53 PM

Party politics is back from the summer and the summer’s events are defining the
strategic dividing lines. Ed Miliband reopened hostilities by threatening to force a vote on police cuts. The Standard reports:

‘The Labour leader said ministers were being "reckless" in refusing to rethink planned 20 per cent savings following the worst rioting in living memory.

Launching a new campaign during a visit to Lewisham, Mr Miliband claimed the cuts, reducing officer numbers by 16,000, would "weaken the forces of law and order on our
streets".’

Policing Minister Nick Herbert, one of the coalition’s stars outside the cabinet, described Miliband’s claims as
‘hypocrisy’, pointing out that Labour did not rule out making police cuts at the last election. He then reiterated that cuts needn’t affect the frontline. He said, “With
25,000 officers in backroom jobs, forces can make savings and still protect the frontline.”

It’s as if they’d never been away. Miliband remains opposed to cuts as a matter of principle, expressing the view that cuts necessarily affect “the frontline”; the riots are
merely a new means to convey the old liturgy. Meanwhile the government still relies on the mantra of doing more with less. The debate is likely to continue in this vein until the coalition’s
reforms begin to have discernable effects.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


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