Coffee House

Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg make their new year pitch to voters

28 December 2012

2:20 PM

28 December 2012

2:20 PM

According to a spuriously scientific study, today is the day when festive excess gets the better of us, with one in two Brits opting to stay on the sofa with the curtains closed fretting about bills and weight gain. So how fortunate it is that Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband have chosen to rouse a hungover nation today with their stirring new year messages.

Ed Miliband promises that he will be setting out ‘concrete steps’ on how One Nation Labour will work, citing business, education and welfare as examples. He does add that he doesn’t ‘offer easy answers and I’m not going to offer false promises either’. But it’s difficult to see how the Labour leader can make any promises at all on areas such as welfare without talking about money. And how can he talk about money when Ed Balls has pledged a zero-based spending review which delays the tricky decisions until after 2015? Perhaps the Labour leader’s ‘concrete steps’ are made of a slightly less robust material.

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On schools, he can set out a general direction, which will certainly come as a relief to poor old Stephen Twigg, who has spent his front bench career so far avoiding questions on whether or not he really supports the expansion of New Labour education policies. As for business, well, there are plenty cuddly One Nation policies that Miliband can continue to talk about which don’t really involve any commitment from government: the Living Wage, for instance, which for the Labour leader hinges on him pulling faces at business leaders until they up their employees’ pay – if they can afford to, that is. But will his ‘concrete steps’ include admissions that certain benefit cuts won’t be reversed, or that there won’t be a big new capital spending pot for schools?

Meanwhile Nick Clegg is determined to portray the Lib Dems as being made of stern, weighty stuff that’s sufficiently heavy to anchor the Coalition in the centre ground. His new year message says:

What I can tell you is that, whatever 2013 throws at us, the Liberal Democrats will continue to anchor this Coalition in the centre ground and we will hold firm to our key purpose in this government: the Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy, in a fairer society, enabling every person to get on in life.

So I want you to hear it from me, on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, that this Coalition Government is not going to lurch one way or the next.

He also pledges to help with childcare bills, a key Coalition battleground. The Times reports that Clegg is keen to reject plans from Liz Truss for deregulating the sector to drive down childcare bills in favour of his own plans. Perhaps when the mid-term review is published, Clegg will argue Truss’ emphasis on regulatory reform would have been one of those ‘lurches’ away from the centre.

The PM hasn’t released his message yet. But it will be interesting to see whether he too lays claim to the centre ground. His aides certainly have been keen to emphasise the Tory commitment to remaining there, rather than obeying backbench calls for a lurch. How he frames his message depends on whether he currently fears his own MPs or his Coalition partners more.

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Show comments
  • 2trueblue

    What does Clegg mean “this Coalition government is not going to lurch one way or the next”? The phrase is meaningless, rather like him.

  • TomTom

    I find the leaking of soap opera scripts always shows the characters to be shallow and the script risible

  • TomTom

    ” the centre ground” The “centre ground” is a hole

    • telemachus

      No

  • McRobbie

    We get Millie’s message , we’re one nation, excluding the posh, the bankers, the entrepreneurs and any high tax payers who dont work for the public sector and / or the trade unions (they’re the good guys and not posh apparently!).

    • Colonel Mustard

      In other words a divisive ‘one nation’ message from Labour as usual.

      They think we were born yesterday but going by the polling a great many of us were.

    • 2trueblue

      Agree with you, but you forgot to mention our political elite.

      • telemachus

        On

  • mitcheltj

    Sick bag stuff.

    • telemachus

      On

  • Colonel Mustard

    How’s that ‘one nation’ devolution thing going Ed? Will all British students be treated equally or is it more “one nation does this and one nation does that”? Or perhaps it is one of those awkward details that you prefer not to think about as you pitch the latest incarnation of Labour – like the location of your money tree?

  • barbie

    Well they’re all counting the days now till the next election, and worrying. Clegg’s statement today was so farcial it was almost funny till you listened. I must admit to even do that took extra detirmination. He’s completely out of tune with the rest of us. As for Miliband he talked about immigration and admitted again they got it wrong, but offered no ideas on how he would rectify those mistakes. I would have thought more of him if he had. For example, would he send all the illegals back? All those lounging in our prisons who refuse to say where they’ve come from, stop the niceties and send them back.
    As for Cameron his was the biggest insult of them all, telling us its our moral duty to accept foreign aid, well I don’t.
    All I see is our own begging at food banks, the elderly not able to survive on the lowest pensions in Europe, but most of all, the three of them refusing to accept our right to decide on the EU, in or out. Vote UKIP and dump the lot.

    • 2trueblue

      For those who refuse to say where they are from surely we could use science to identify where they last resided? Might be cheaper than being stuck with them if we can’t use language as a definitive pointer?

  • http://www.facebook.com/albert.cooper.507 Albert Cooper

    Just plain sickening to listen to and to witness

    • telemachus

      No

  • ToryOAP

    On a day when we see what a giant of a politician Margaret Thatcher was, we have to contemplate the scratchings of these (much) lesser mortals. I can’t wait to hear what Cameron has to say to complete the boxset of Politics for Children, 2013.

    • 2trueblue

      Come on WE know that Thatcher was one of our greatest leaders.
      The BBC and the left wing media have managed to pollute her true image and her real accomplishments. She did in fact leave the country in far better shape than it was in when she became leader. Before her government came to power we were the laughing stock of the world, she earned her stripes and put the UK back on the international map. That is the reality of how the rest of the world sees her. It is just the left wing media, the Gaurdian, BBC, Independant, etc who have created their own lie.

  • http://twitter.com/bencorde ben corde

    It must be so depressing to have to blog daily about these twerps and their endless, meaningless pronouncements that they will somehow change all our lives for the better, when we know damn well they haven’t a clue about anything, or they wouldn’t have landed us in this mess in the first place. This country needs leaders who have spine and conviction with policies that get us back to work and improve our living standards. Most of all we need policies that unite us in our aspirations, one nation policies. We saw a glimpse of it in The Olympics and Jubilee celebrations.We can do it if we want to badly enough. Unfortunately in the past it always took a war. Today we don’t have that option, but there are still wars to be waged. The wars against the injustice imposed on us by The EU for instance – the war against uncontrolled immigration – the war against crime – the war against waste and profligacy in our public services – the war against the desecration of our countryside. And there is a new political party that might just get to grips with these issues. I say might, for they’ll only get one chance in my book. They may not even get that. That depends on forthcoming events.

    • Harold Angryperson

      What makes it worse is the opaque language they use (“Dog whistles” if you like) creating a whole industry for the likes of Isabel, Fraser et al to indulge in Kremlinology on our behalf and decipher exactly what they mean. As a society we are becoming increasingly like Japan, with all it’s complications and intricacies.

      • telemachus

        No

    • telemachus

      no

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