"http://www.labour.org.uk/ed-miliband-press-conference-at-the-royal-festival-hall">delivered a speech at the Festival Hall this morning. A couple of strategic issues emerged from it. The first
is that Labour has decided that the IMF is wrong:
“This Government is going too far and fast, hitting families and making it harder to reduce the deficit.”
This is not altogether surprising. Ed Balls’ recent article in the News of
the World suggested that Labour will attack on the cost of living and youth unemployment, both of which may serve to slow the rate at which the deficit is reduced. As Fraser "http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/7004113/osbornes-flexibility-explained.thtml">noted yesterday, Labour is aided by rising inflation, which is deepening the effect of cuts. However,
Labour is still yet to admit to its role in the crisis or reveal how it would cut the deficit.
Second, Miliband has resisted temptation by offering David Cameron cross-party talks on reforming social care, which has been in the
"http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/6992208/where-next-on-social-care.thtml">news recently. This is smart politics: it makes Miliband look magnanimous rather than opportunistic. And, who
knows, it may do some good.
Third, Labour has struck viciously at David Cameron’s management of the NHS. Miliband said:
“David Cameron has spent a year mismanaging the NHS and the consequence is chaos, confusion and damaged patient care.”
Research by Politics Home and YouGov suggests that a majority support NHS
reforms, but do not trust the Conservatives to deliver them. Cameron has staked his reputation on reassuring
voters that he can be trusted. Now Miliband and Healy will devote all of their energy to insisting the contrary, scenting that there is capital and perhaps a head to be gained –
certainly, they won’t allow the Lib Dems to claim any credit for stopping the bill.
Elsewhere, Conservative backbenchers are threatening Cameron over the future of the NHS bill. Nick de Bois, Andrew Lansley’s champion, has
"http://twitter.com/#!/BBCLauraK/statuses/78058221448859648">said that he will oppose the bill unless it preserves the principle of competition and others will follow de Bois. Understandably,
government types are counting the seconds until this disastrous bill can be shelved. The final draft will be announced in the next few days.