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

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.

Show comments
  • michael

    Keep the beeb asking for material (promise- land), force them into a position where the best they can do is rehash other peoples stuff… as a bottle fed, arse wiped state
    appendage they are not going to like having to WORK for their credibility.

  • Nicholas

    ButcombeMan – in the New Labour trend towards politicised and vociferous senior police officers seeking to influence the laws they are supposed to merely uphold and towards police as controlling agents of the state rather than “members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen” policing with consent, the concept of a single centralised constabulary would be folly of the most dangerous kind.

  • General Zod

    I think Labour now opposes every single proposed cut to be made by the government and hasn’t proposed any of its own. What therefore is Labour’s economic policy, Balls? (Fatso can answer, given he appears to be Balls’ twin brother)

  • ButcombeMan

    No profession is as blinkered as the boys in blue. When the full facts become known, I have seen police certainty evaporate like morning mist. There is an explanation – the police are a tribe apart. They live their lives cheek-by-jowl with one another, whether in police cars or back at the station, absorbing the notorious canteen culture. This creates a kind of collective folly. What one cop believes, soon all believe – and it goes right to the top.
    (Robert Chesshyre in First Post).
    The Tories have had years to think through their approach to Policing. One of the last unreconstructed professions. They got it all wrong in oppossition. They still have it wrong. 43 constabularies in England & Wales, with all the costs piled on costs that means, is ridiculous. Their commissioners idea is ridiculous (and costly). They need to go back to the drawing board. May cannot do that, she shows signs of the “Stockholm syndrome” that comes to many Home Secretaries in their relationship with the Police.

    Interestingly the favoured candidate now, for Met Commissioner, has been active in trying to create one Constabulary for Scotland.

  • alexsandr

    Each time millitwat or his ilk oppose cuts, you just ask them what they would cut instead.
    Always shuts em up.

  • 2trueblue

    Nicholas, I’m with you on this one, Cameron has the advantage and he is not taking it. We see very little of what he actually stands for and he should be able to articulate what the Conservative party stands for. He is not doing this and Liebore are stealing the march by using every option open to them and are certainly getting airtime.

    The trouble is we do not have a clear picture of where we are going, the Lib Dems have too much power and they did not get the votes. Enough said, Cameron has to show that he understands what direction we are going towards and to do that he must state where he started from. That is where he can clearly put the case against Liebore for their destruction of England especially and the UK as a whole.

    People should not be able to comfortably sit at home with some other person getting up to earn and deliver their bread. Every body who is unemployed should have to go and get their cheque every week. That is not too much to ask, or is it? That in itself could be a start.

  • Occasional Ostrich

    @Sir Everard Digby 7:18am

    What a complete an utter opportunistic waste of space Milliwit is.

    No he’s not. He’s obstructing anybody effective from becoming leader of the Labour party. Give thanks for that.

  • Nicholas

    Chris: “altogether calmer and all the better for it.”

    But maybe not when Labour are still churning out the soundbites and the BBC gleefully running with them.

  • Frank P

    Good game plan, Rhoda; but as you say, the current score probably indicates that it is too late. He could never catch up before the final whistle, particularly as most of his forward line are playing for the other side.
    Three more years (maybe) of swingeing cuts, necessitated by the Blair/Brown treasonous administrations, followed by years of equally disastrous policies from the Milibrat and his Marxist mob. That’s what’s in store for us. Perhaps we should emigrate to Libya, following NATO and the EU’s miracle liberation and the successful democracy that will surely follow, according to Billy Vague. Could make a few bob helping with the ‘reconstruction’, NATO Demolitions Inc. have already cleared the site. Cheap concrete – the sand is already there in abundance. Foreign labour is a bit thin on the ground these days, though.

  • Hard Heartless Perry

    Although I have never used the term, I believe the saying ‘ Same old, same old might be appropriate here, – and in any case, what would the Lib-Lab-H2B Alliance have to offer that was in any way original or helpful?

  • Chris lancashire

    Nearly agreed with Rhoda for the second time in a week – except for the last para. Cameron’s premiership has already been a lot lower profile than Brown and Blair before him (thank goodness). No weekly “eye-catching initiatives”, not many catchy soundbites (“stakeholder societies”, “prudent for a purpose” – I’ll give you “broken Britain”) – altogether calmer and all the better for it.

  • Dennis Churchill

    Rhoda Klapp
    August 31st, 2011 9:26am
    The BBC is a disgrace and needs to be tackled as a matter of urgency. This is best done directly rather than in a polite and ineffective manner. If they are looking for savings sell parts of it off and set up an Inquiry into alternative funding if the majority are found to want to keep a State Broadcaster.

  • 2trueblue

    Fergus, what he can do is repeat the facts, that Liebore destroyed this country. There is enough out there for him to use but he does none of it. When Dumbleby cuts across the tories tthey let it go and Liebore carry on. They are losing the game, and that is what it is to Liebore, The BBC, Sky, et al. Call it, and continue to call it.

    Rhoda, of course the BBC and Sky know they are doing it. The letters I get when I complain are a joke and I tell them. I will continue to complain just to get my moneysworth! Cameron has to up his game, keep repeating what Liebore did, what they did not do and keep it in the centre of the post every time. He must just keep doing that as Liebore are running away with the game and the coalition are weak in this area. It is maddening and heartbreaking and I am beginning to think that Cameron does not have the stomach for it, and neither do any of his cabinet.
    On the issue of his ministers being handy, they must also be prepared to interrupt and know where the dialogue is going. Very few of them come over as being on the ball.

    Cameron also needs to get on with his promise to get rid of the quangos. So far he is not gaining ground there, in fact he is losing ground on most issues, The only thing that will make me vote conservative again is to keep the others out. Not a good reason, but that is how it is.

    Lastly the clean up from the expenses has not been completed and civil servants getting bonuses of any kind is outrageous at this time. The whole thing is not connected up, that is his problem, we are not all in this together.

  • Nicholas

    “What do you lot suggest that Cameron does? Do you want him to tell lies in the Blair style? You despise him for being a PR man and then you despise him for NOT being a PR man What do you want?”

    I want him to be a Conservative Prime Minister who is prepared to take a Conservative narrative to the British public, make sure that it is understood and that it will overcome Labour’s lies, propaganda and opportunism. I realise this is not easy given the BBC bias and the collective propaganda effort of the Left against the coalition (including the Lib Dem opposition within government) but he needs to tackle that more seriously and more belligerently than he has. He also needs to understand that his position as Prime Minister should not be a platform for him to air his personal beliefs and values. Instead he needs to represent and articulate the beliefs and values of the British people as a whole.

    Personally I think his embrace of left of centre “pragmatism” (for want of a better word) was a grave mistake and the talk of “de-toxifying the brand” an own goal. It has driven the right of centre viewpoint almost to the point of being unacceptable in the public narrative and his enemies to the left of him have capitalised on this.

    Cameron will never be able to secure the left of centre ground (the new centre ground) but his strategy has burnt his bridges and will ensure that he (and his successors) cannot retreat easily to the right of centre with any credibility and without gifting the Left an advantage. The centre ground has shifted left and the right has been shoved further right by a combination of propaganda from the left and the subversion of Cameron’s own party. There is now an unfilled gap in the centre right of British politics, a lack of cogent representation there, and ironically it is for someone to fill this gap effectively that the majority of the public yearn.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    Fergus, Cameron cannot compete in their game when the enemy own the playing field and position the goalposts. If he uses traditional speeches , spin and PR he has to contend with the editorial gateways on the important media. The BBC and Sky news will always slant things Labour’s way. They may not even know they are doing it. The Guardian and the Indy do know they are doing it, but also know that what they do is by definition right, good opposing evil. The other papers may give Cameron a fair go. Or not. He is on a loser by just turning up to play the game. That is why he should change the rules. He has the bully pulpit, he is the PM, they can’t play if he doesn’t turn up. So, no more QT until they stop fixing it. No handy ministers to be asked gotcha questions by arrogant interviewrs. Call it like it is whenever there is bias, using direct accusations while on the biased channel itself. Do not accept the cutting of interview content to make one side look bad or stupid. Withdraw all participation from offenders. Let everyone know what you are doing and why. He has nothing to lose, because he is losing the game already.

    That’s what he should do, should have done last year in fact. It may be too late now, and it is impossible to imagine that he and his slimy crew would ever do anything like it. Bold, as Sir Humphrey might have said with a raised eyebrow.

  • arnoldo87

    Tim W makes a good point when he says it’s a long game.

    Cameron and his team attracted many a floating voter (including Blairites like me) by praising Labour where they thought it was desreved.

    And, by and large, they have made a good start. I don’t care at all for the partisan posturing in PMQ but it is too deep rooted now on all sides to stop it.

    Come the next election Dave will win if he sticks to his present course and avoids ridiculous accusations such as the one above from Nicholas (“communist wonk”).

    And Fergus Pickering – I thought we had put the “Bliar” thing to bed. But if you call the man a liar I will ask you to specify the lie – quote, medium and date please?

  • Maggie

    Ed has given up on politics and has turned to PR. Today, he is representing the unaffordable vested interests of the Police.

  • Chris lancashire

    Woody – how exactly do you propose that Opposition leaders are prevented from issuing statements?
    As for Milliband, good old New Labour – ever ready to oppose “the cuts”; no ideas on how to curb the raging defecit they created.

  • Sir Everard Digby

    What a complete an utter opportunistic waste of space Milliwit is. Let’s refresh our memories shall we?

    In 2009 :
    Police forces in England and Wales will have to make annual savings of £545m.

    The Home Secretary Alan Johnson has published a White Paper which anticipates that the police helicopter fleet will be reduced by a fifth, and overtime cut by £70m a year within four years.
    Forces will pool forensic work and procurement of uniforms and patrol cars and be given incentives to merge.
    Ministers hope the measures will save £545m year by 2014.
    Meanwhile, the government’s red tape tsar says police officers are spending no more time on the beat now than they were two years ago.
    Jan Berry, the former chairman of the Police Federation, said patrol officers told her problems with bureaucracy might even have got worse.
    Ms Berry pointed to a string of problems with Home Office efforts to keep officers out on the streets.
    Many of the 27,000 portable hand held computers given out in an attempt to keep them away from their desks are ineffective because they lack the right programs, she said’

    Johnson went on to say:

    ‘In straightened economic times you should be looking at how you can make savings, not cuts and how you can dedicate more resources to the front line.’

    When is a saving not a cut?

    I don’t believe Labour offerred a vote on these measures?

    PS: How deos Milliwit know what the actual numbers lost will be?

    Lord preserve us from the political classes

  • Fergus Pickering

    What do you lot suggest that Cameron does? Do you want him to tell lies in the Blair style? You despise him for being a PR man and then you despise him for NOT being a PR man What do you want?

  • 2trueblue

    Woody too true. Never the less Millipede is getting air time and if you say something often enough and the BB give it enough airtime that adds a lot of value.
    Cameron needs to up his game and start communicating with the population. We need to know what he thinks and where he is taking us. Right now the path is not marked out for us Cameron must get on with it and use those so called PR skills.

  • Tim W

    He’s not good is he? Labour need to realise it’s a marathon not a sprint. As soon as he’s become leader Miliband has set himself against everything the government’s doing. If he keeps up the same constant tune then nobody will be listening to him come 4 years time. When Cameron became leader he had virtually no policies. In fact he praised Blair a bit. The only things he spoke out about were those stories in the media at the time that people were listening to. Then he spoke in grand washy terms about his vision. Miliband picks up statistics from months ago and bangs on about them when nobody’s listening or has already heard about it. Nothing interesting to say. Nothing new.

  • Eagle Owl

    People really shouldn’t try to plug their own blog posts in comments on other blog posts.

  • Austin Barry

    It really doesn’t matter what Miliband says, he is such a dweepy nerd that no-one takes any notice. He presents as the perfect example of the consequences of vigorous and prolonged ‘beastliness’ of which Lord Baden-Powell warned us: the pallid, enervated sort of chap who gives Onanism a bad name.

  • FvH

    Yes – agree with Woody – even though Ed is pretty weak this message hits home with vast majority of folk in the country – also i pick up the view increasingly that folk think Ed has improved a lot in a year. (i.e. he was so weak when he first appeared the only way was up , relatively speaking)

  • Right On

    Can’t we just pretend Miliband E doesn’t exist?

    Let’s all agree that Harriet Harman is the Labour leader and we can all live a happier existence knowing that worst case scenario we get a comedy farce.

    The increasingly likely event that this clown becomes Prime Minister is too depressing to contemplate.

  • Dennis Churchill

    Miliband is a Conservative asset and the more exposure he gets the better, as far as they are concerned.
    The publics’ concerns with policing are about a visible presence and this can’t be achieved due to the prevailing philosophy of the police establishment.
    Peter Hitchen’s books on the subject are well worth reading.
    With the emphases on Equal Outcomes, aiming to transform the police into a typical cross section of the community, 24 hour foot patrols are just not going to happen. No police chief is going to send women PCs to patrol an inner city estate at 3am.
    The emphasis is on detection after the event using CCTV not deterrence or prevention so numbers are less important.
    The Conservatives could open this up as a debate and watch the Chief Constables make the running but they would have to start by threatening to place a legal duty on the Chief Constables to re-establish 24 hour police foot patrols.

  • toco

    Pretty please let’s be nice to Red Ed and keep him in his job-a plea to all anti Labour voters.We should be so glad he didn’t go to Summer school to learn his three ‘R’s.

  • Nicholas

    You have to admire the alacrity with which this adenoidal communist wonk can jump onto any passing bandwagon though.

    But I agree with Woody. Once again the Labour/BBC/Leftist collective are dictating the narrative and the government bit of the government (as opposed to the opposition bit) are floundering.

  • Archibald

    New leader, new Labour. Move over, third way, we’ve dusted off same old failed first way and hope noone remembers it or how much it costs.

    It’s pretty mind-blowing that someone so young and apparently intelligent can consistently churn out such tired old tripe: It’s not revolution. It’s not even evolution. Perhaps dissolution is nearer the mark.

  • Publius

    What Woody (6.09pm) says.

    Get a bloody grip and deal with the BBC propagandists.

    But “ask Nick” Cameron won’t, of course.

  • REPay

    The 16,000 police officer reduction and 20% cuts are now treated as official by the media. Woody is right the messaging continues to be very poor. Cameron’s skill as a communicator are fatally undermined by poor comms strategy. The rot set in when there was a clear out of the strategy team at Tory HQ to make way for the lightweight PR people – Tamsin Lightwater was an accurate stereotype…

  • nonny mouse

    >>They are just so incredibly poor at this and allow the opposition and all the vested interests to make the running.

    I blame the right wing media because I read this on the Speccie blog.

    The New Statesman and the Guardian haven’t mentioned it at all. It isn’t even on the BBC website.

    Oh, the irony.

  • Woody

    Once again, it shows that the government just can’t get on the front foot when it comes to getting their message across. They are just so incredibly poor at this and allow the opposition and all the vested interests to make the running.

  • nonny mouse

    As I show in my blog post on the subject, we don’t need more officers – we need less forms.

    Just twenty minutes a day less form filling would allow them to cut officer numbers by 20% (they are actually cutting them by less than this – the budget is being cut by 20%) and would result in more police time spent on the beat than we get now.

    The real question is how is Theresa May doing at cutting red tape?