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Miliband’s bind

12 November 2011

12 November 2011

Ed Miliband is in a bind. He really should be concentrating on the competence argument,
but keeps falling back on the ‘evil Tory ideologue’ argument.

There are several reasons for this. The first is his determination to distance himself from the Blair-Brown era. This makes it difficult to provide a convincing critique of policies which appear
New Labour-ish: everything from Free Schools to health service reform and the Work Programme. The second is that many of the statistics available still date from the Labour years and so evidence of
the effects of Coalition policies are simply not there. The third, and most serious, is that Miliband has yet to convince that he would be a more competent and reassuring presence at the helm. This
was shown most obviously when Yvette Cooper made such a convincing job of skewering Theresa May over the relaxation of passport checks shortly after the Labour leader had failed to do so at PMQs.

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There is evidence of serious dysfunction at several government departments. Even before the latest embarrassment in the Home Office, there was open war between Michael Gove and his civil servants
at the Department for Education, health professionals and Liberal Democrats are in open revolt against Andrew Lansley’s health reforms. So far Iain Duncan Smith has enjoyed a relative honeymoon at
the the DWP, but his time will come as rising unemployment figures test the near-messianic claims for Lord Freud’s Work Programme.

The truth is that Miliband’s people are right to identify this government as ideological, market fundamentalists – in some ways more so than the Thatcher-Major governments. But this is not a
convincing election platform.

It is the job of an opposition to provide a forensic analysis of the government’s record. Some of this Labour is already doing, but it is not enough. In a time of crisis, people need to feel the
great public institutions are safe in the hands of politicians and, despite everything, the electorate is not yet ready to transfer its trust back to Labour.


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Show comments
  • HJ

    Well, I don’t agree with anything that Martin Bright says here – but then he has a completely different view of the world than I do.

    However, I wonder whether we are even on the same planet when he talks about Yvette Cooper making a ‘convincing job of skewering Theresa May’. This does not depend whatsoever on your political views – we all know that had the same thing happened if Labour were in government and the Tories were in opposition, the argument would have been exactly the same with each party swapping its arguments .

    Yvette Cooper didn’t lay a finger on Theresa May. She was utterly ineffective – surely this was transparently obvious to everyone? Imagine, if you will, Robin Cook in Yvette Cooper’s role – he’d have been an entirely different proposition altogether.

  • Sylva

    The truth is this government is ideological oriented. They run around with policies like headless chicken. Proof the numerous U-turns. I believe Milliband is doing the right thing by exposing their flaws to the British people. Political point scoring is out dated. Flash boy moves like Cameron is just gimmicks. Economically we are heading to a double dip. Osborne economic illiterate. Labour picked up 12 points since ladt elrction and present government rating -28%. Their plans are not working. Either the change course or they call an elrction to ptoof their popularity.

    I know right wingers on this site will not take this lying down but is the simple truth.

    Finally Osbourne OECD agreed with Labour that thisCon Government blame game of eurozone crisis on slow Uk growth is just rubbish as the economy stalled long before the crisis.

    Let us get real mate!

  • niav

    “The truth is that Miliband’s people are right to identify this government as ideological, market fundamentalists”

    Seriously? The Truth (TM)? I had to laugh.

    Sounds more like, you know, your opinion.

    It’s horrifying to me seeing that far-left people such as yourself believe so much in collectivism and state-driven, centrally-planned everything that you see “free market fundamentalism” in anything that simply doesn’t conform to your incredible point of view.

  • Ruairidh

    “…despite everything, the electorate is not yet ready to transfer its trust back to Labour. “

    What nonsense. Despite everything??!!

    What do you mean the fact that Labour spent all the money, then borrowed some more and spent that, just before the world was engulfed by a soverign debt crisis?

    Or do you mean to imply that the Coalition record on Whitehall is somehow worse than Labours? How many Home Secs did Labour get through over the Blair Brown years?

  • FvH

    He’ll never be PM

    The Unions got him elected

    It should have been his brother

    Next election Coalition will get back in with smaller majority

    Cameron’s popularity will continue to decline but country won’t see Ed as a PM

    Labour will eventually elect David M as leader and will reflect on 7 wasted years

    Everything else on policy etc is just noise

  • fergus pickering

    To tell you the truth, Paddy, though age has few pleasures, one of them is not having to go to school.

  • Paddy

    fergus pickering: If only!

  • fergus pickering

    Her husband has wrote, her husband has wrote.
    Back to school, Paddy, unless you are still in it, in which case report to yore teecher

  • anyfool

    How did Cooper skewer May all she did was assume that May had lied and the civil servant was telling the truth and you supposed reporters take her side without even the semblance of investigation into the veracity of Coopers bile laden utterings.
    You really are pathetic Mr not very Bright. i hope you will apologise for misleading your readers when May is found to be correct regardless of how the case for constuctive dismissal goes.

  • Paddy

    “Yvette Cooper made such a convincing job of skewering Theresa May”

    You’re having a laugh aren’t you.

    She is all right reading a speech her husband has wrote. But ask her a searching question and she falls flat on her pious slappable face.

  • Hugo Chav

    Cameron is a Social Democrat, Red Ed is a Marxist.

    They are both Central Planners whose statist dreams will be crushed when the Pound collapses.

    It is truly tragic that Brown sold half of our gold, for when the Dollar collapses gold will be used to back the new global commodity currency.

    We are heading to become an Undeveloping Nation.

    Like many journalists you are caught up in micro issues which are trivial.

    Good fortune.

  • Right On

    @ Gideon, thanks for that. Any evidence?

  • Hengist449

    He should stop worrying about which tactic to take against the Tories and concentrate trying to appeal to the English electorate, and I mean, English!

  • Gideon

    I’d love to see some evidence, the reason this line won’t work is cause it isn’t true

    ——————————————

    Yes it is.

  • Right On

    “The truth is that Miliband’s people are right to identify this government as ideological, market fundamentalists – in some ways more so than the Thatcher-Major governments. But this is not a convincing election platform.”

    I’d love to see some evidence, the reason this line won’t work is cause it isn’t true – rhetoric does not make one a fundamentalist….

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