Coffee House

The next election campaign starts here

29 September 2012

12:01 PM

29 September 2012

12:01 PM

This conference season marks the half way point to the next election and we can see the political battle lines becoming clearer. The Tories, as their new poster campaign shows, intends to hammer Labour as the party that has learnt nothing from its mistakes. The argument of the coalition parties, which Nick Clegg previewed in Brighton, will be that the world has changed but Labour is stuck in the pre-crash era with its borrow and spend economics.

Ed Miliband for his part wants to run as the man who is ‘on your side’. Today’s policy announcement taking aim at pension charges and the energy companies are designed to resonate with those voters who feel that the economy is not working for them.


Today’s Miliband Q&A in Manchester is part of this ‘on your side’ approach. Rather than talking to party members in the conference bubble, he’s going out to speak to ordinary voters—they’ve been selected by the local paper not the Labour party.

This kind of politics is, obviously, easier for Miliband to do than Cameron or Clegg; the leader of the opposition doesn’t have the same security worries as the Prime Minister or deputy Prime Minister. But it is a clever piece of politics nevertheless. For Miliband, as the Tories Populus poll demonstrates, is never going to look as naturally authoritative as the Prime Minister. Instead, his best bet is to run as the insurgent, the man determined to change things.

The next election is going to be about which leader can show the country that they can change things. This is why from now on, we’re going to see such a determined effort to paint Miliband as part o the past, as a representative of the Labour party that got Britain into this mess. The success, or otherwise, of this Tory campaign is going to be crucial to the result of the next election.

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Show comments
  • Jack Back

    By the election in 2015 Britain`s national debt will be an estimated £1.4 trillion. Cameron is adding to it at an alarming rate and over the next few years he will have added around and extra £700billion. That`s more than the all the Goverments of the last 100 years put together. (source MoneyWeek).

  • paulus

    What are you on about James, he created the mess, not only did they stuff the mouths of the bankers, they ordered dessert and asked us to pay the bill.

    It is not acceptable for what they have done,

    They have shafted every man, woman and child in this country.They have saddled us with debts that are not ours, the banks are thieves and they are incompetents.

    Every man who walks through the door without a job, every woman who switches the lights off early to save money and every child who has no breakfast,is a reproach to them, 10% lead,

    Pathetic, incompetent and weak and when the bugle sounds were going to tear you to shreds,we will rip a multi purpose arse hole, and no longer will he just be speaking out of it.

  • William Blakes Ghost

    Oh please. Its Labour and Miliband is a son of Brown. All we ever get from Labour is empty rhetoric. They won’t do any of it. They will pander to the same old vested interests (Unions, EU, Minority groups and all the vested interests they pretend to oppose) and screw the electorate and the country to hell while doing it!

    Just take this Banking commitment he’s just made. Sure Miliband will do it but guess what the banks will say. The changes will increase their costs (which they will) and they will be forced to impose bank charges for all transactions (and oh how they want that!). Its the banks customer who will get screwed out of this!

    So personally Miliband can go forth and multiply along with Cameron and Clegg. Screw the lot of them. They are in it only for their own vested interests and don’t give a toss about the country! We might as well vote our conscience because whatever colour (red, yellow or blue) the rotten government is it will still be rotten!

  • Hexhamgeezer

    ‘The next election is going to be about which leader can show the country that they can change things.’
    What? Like the colour of the deckchairs on the Titanic?

  • John Guest

    However you spin it, the fact remains that Milliband and Balls were central to the government who left this country potless. Remember the note left in the desk -“Good luck, there’s no money left!”. That was their doing – and people will remember that, however much they dislike Cameron Osbourne and Clegg.

  • TomTom

    Wow – a poster. Wouldn’t know what to think unless some City Donor had given millions to pay for a poster to litter the landscape. How brilliant. Would have no idea of everyday reality without a poster….

    • telemachus

      And a poster that will do labour more good than the coalition-see below

      • TomTom

        Wow..Thinking is such a problem they need a poster !

      • Augustus

        “The triumph of hope over experience.”?

  • HooksLaw

    On thing Miliband won’t be explaining is his constant misrepresentation about the state of the economy.

    • Radford_NG

      29Sept.c.6.pmBST….How can E.M. be wrong on the economy:he has got all kinds of qualifications for it(I looked it up on wikipedia)?

      • Radford_NG

        29SSept.c.6.50pmBST…….The above depends on how you emphasis the words.Remember the telegram Trotsky supposedly sent to Stalin.

  • Wilhelm

    I wonder what has happened to cyclops ?

    • Gillian Duffy

      I don’t.

    • Amergin Selby

      Not nice. But typical.

      • Wilhelm

        Amergin. I agree, the way Gordon Brown destroyed the country was not nice but typical of Labour.

  • uglyfatbloke

    As things look just now, the campaign may have started, but Ed’s position does not look very good. The lead in the polls will shrink in the run-up to the next GE, that’s pretty much taken for granted, but is offset to some degree by the possibility that labour will make more gains from the Glib-Dumbs in England than the Tories will – though there may not be much of a margin. OTH, in Scotland the gnats will undoubtedly take most of the Glib-Dumb seats – Carmichael and Campbell are pretty safe, but the rest are likely to be out on their ears- though there is one that is probably going to lose to labour rather than the gnats.The Tories will undoubtedly lose their sole Scottish seat to Labour as well, but labour themselves are in a precarious position across Scotland and now that Lamont has moved so close to the Tories that position is even more insecure.
    Of course this may be irrelevant. Lamont’s conversion does not just put her onside with the Tories, it is an attack on Labour’s policies and record these last 15 to 20 years. Like refusing to consider FFA (the status that most people actually want), Lamont signing up for the Osborne approach will help the gnats immensely. They may yet win the referendum…the presence of Darling at the head of the ‘No’ campaign won’t do them any harm either.
    If the gnats win, Ed will struggle to get a majority in without forty Labour MPs from Scotland. It can be done, but it will be hard going, especially if he continues to be seen as a wealthy person from a privileged background who has never had a proper job.

  • Radford_NG

    29 Sept.c.1.24pmBST…..Ed Miliband won the leadership with 50.654% of the vote.In the electoral college he had a majority from the unions;David Miliband had the majority of votes caste by MPs,MEPs and Party branches.What does that tell us?

  • Douglas Carter

    Your point about the Q&A is interesting but begs clarification. Whilst you say the audience has been chosen by the local newspaper, do we know whether the Labour spin machine has been active in pre-selecting or vetting questions to be answered?
    Anything which smacks of genuine scrutiny in politics and of spontaneous sincerity is to be encouraged. It’s also the central thing our multi-coloured political tribe do their utmost to undermine.
    Is there a possibility, Isabel, that you could make enquiries as to whether the event will be genuinely spontaneous, or whether it has been pre-hobbled?

    • Douglas Carter

      Sorry, my mistake ‘James’!

  • Coffeehousewall

    So the future MP does not need to do anything, merely give the appearance that he might do something. And our present Prime Minister should be able to win the election if he campaigns negatively against Milliband, and need not actually do anything either.

    Sheesh. Is this the level of political journalism we have to put up with? No criticism, let alone condemnation. Just pointers to what sort of PR campaign should be run!

    • Dan Grover

      Analysis isn’t about providing suggestions or handy hints. It’s about working out the intentions of players based upon their actions, which is what this post does. Your first paragraph seems to be a pretty accurate summary – go blame Cameron and Ed, not James.

  • James102

    Interesting poll in the Daily Mail, seems 2 in 3 Labour voters want to ditch Ed Miliband for his brother.
    Miliband is a great asset for the Conservatives unless they get over confident (a great weakness of theirs) in just how much of an asset he is.
    The chances are the EU will change everything before long anyway.

    • Amergin Selby

      Goodness me! You read the Daily Mail? Who would have thought that.

      • Nicholas

        Goodness me! You are a tribal lefty? Who would have thought that.

  • History Lover

    However,Ed Milliband was very much a part of the past that got us into the awful mess we are now in. It is very hypocritical to say that he is going to propose a more powerful energy regulator when Labour trashed the excellent regulators that existed under the last Conservative Government. He also is saying that people paying for pensions are being ripped off by the companies when the biggest pension rip off ever was perpetrated by Labour. It’s not just hypocritical it is down right dishonest.

    • David Trant

      Execellent regulators? errr Ofgas destroyed the gas industry thats why we are in the mess we are in now. If Ed.M. was to go into the next GE promising to take back the energy industry from the foreign owned cartels which are busy ripping off the customers now, they’d win by a landslide.

      • telemachus

        Not part of the past
        Indicative of a dynamic bright future
        Are we or are we not tired of the gloom merchants
        Just look at the picture, one Ed looking forward, one upward

        • Last Graun Reader

          The “rabbit in headlights” and the “nuffin’ to do wiv me guv” mugshots say it all. And the “saviour of the world” still trapped in his own version of reality where all save him are bigots.

      • TomTom

        What is OFGAS ? You mean OFGEM the body operating under EU Law of course ? Its Chairman Lord Mogg (a three day a week
        job), he receives £214,999 a year salary, as revealed to the public in
        July 2010

        • David Trant

          Errr no Ofgas that was OfGEMs predecessor, MacKinnon and Spottiswoode who were appointed after privatisation and between them destoyed tha gas industry and handed it over the crooks who now run it.

          Privatisation of our energy was the biggest criminal conspiracy to defraud the British people devised.

          Tell Sid he’s been stuffed.

          • Amergin Selby

            I am nearly 80 and I can remember that my grandfather worked as a stone mason on the reservoir that today gives me my water, local labour built it and local rates money paid for it. It was ours and we are reminded of it as we see mains points covered by the original cast iron lids that tells you who originally owned them. In a similar way we used to enjoy ‘town gas’ made in the town and supplied through a system built by local labour and paid for with rates money.. There was sense in nationalising these industries since the supply networks were aging and in need of updating and so centralising the production and supply of the utilities. became important but it was still ‘ours’ the people owned it as they did the railways, which they built, and the electricity. The big con trick of Thatcher was to insist that these industries could be run better and provide cheaper utilities in private hands so she ‘privatised’.
            I have never been clear about one aspect of privatisation and that is if being owned privately would ensure that that particular industry would be run at a profit and provide improved service to the customer why did they start the programme with the better already profit making industries first , like Cable and Wireless and Post Office Telecom? Wouldn’t it have made sense to keep those and take the profits into the exchequer?
            It was all a big con trick she made great play that the people were buying these industries. Lord. it was already theirs. And as could have been predicted those shares, that Sid bought, found their way into corporations who finished up owning them not the people and those industries were virtual monopolies, foreign owned and charging higher and higher for their products.
            It was shameful and we watched and took the bribes and let it happen and now bleat and complain about the costs and the service we receive.

            • TomTom

              Water was nationalised by Edward Heath during Local Govt Reorganisation in 1972 when he took it off local councils who had built the reservoirs. We didn’t need Radcliffe-Maud at all but both Labour and Tories were hooked

          • TomTom

            Now we have to help Qatar topple Syria to get a gas pipeline built from Qatar to Turkey to feed the new gas-fired power stations they are building, yet cannot afford gas to heat homes.

    • 3Para

      Larry, Moe and Curly the Three Stooges of British politics. In any other country they would be inside and on lithium. Criminal lunatics.

    • George_Arseborne

      Desperation looming in the Conservative Party. What a ridiculous poster. Two and a half year to the general election Cameron starts trembling? I thought Ed Milliband was a light weight and they need not worry. By the way where is Georg Osborne. I am sure a moronic poster like this is from a moron strategist like Boy George. What a shamr.