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Ed Miliband’s Canny Speech

Our friends in the post below didn’t like Ed Miliband’s speech because they’re scared. They’re scared because for over a generation their party has not had to face a serious, social democratic challenge. A bit like a company management that hasn’t seen strike action for a very long period of time and all of a sudden workers are balloting for action, the Tories cannot answer the policy offerings Labour’s 2013 conference has placed on the table. Tax rises for the very rich. An end to land banking. Sector-specific minimum wages. No more free schools. A million new homes. Tax cuts for small business. Energy price freezes. Expansion of free childcare. What really can the Tories and their yellow party friends offer in response, apart from hysteria and name calling?

It was, like last year, a bravura speech. But whereas 2012’s One Nation schtick was an intervention within the Westminster bubble, albeit a masterful one; today Ed’s message was geared toward the “real people” for whom politics is something to be indulged every four or five years. For the assidiously-courted swing voter of the “squeezed middle”, action on energy, housing, and business rates will go down very well indeed – what the Tories can promise in return to woo them over would be difficult to say. By being canny, by, for example, allowing Rachel Reeves to say people on £60 grand aren’t rich and then going on to pledge tax rises on the tiny numbers pulling down over one hundred and fifty big ones, the tax bomb the Tories have used in the past to shore up the middle class vote is diffused before they can lob it. There will also be quite enough here to lure back a lot of Labour voters who’ve either gone elsewhere or have mostly stayed at home.

From an activist standpoint, these are what you might call “proper” Labour policies. However, take them together they’re not a panacea. After all, they are still framed within the language of “strict spending limits”. But it is a beginning, and are what could be described as a stride in the right direction. They point towards a radically different political economy to that touted by the Tories. This is something positive, something that can offer hope and security at the time our enemy can only talk about fear and misery. And if that’s how they really want to fight the next election, roll on 2015.

One Comment

  1. Robert says:

    If your a swing voter then voting Tory would be the best bet, well OK voting Labour would be the same but why change.

    If your disabled sick or poor then really Labour no different then the Tories really your in the dodo.

    The house building is picking up I know in my area the council have stated it’s picking up, so the Tories are building but Labour says yea yea but are they affordable, well if they are not affordable they are in trouble are they not.

    No council houses then to close to the Nazi party of 1945 sorry old Labour.

    Not a lot was said really which a recovery would not sort out.

    hell of a choice Labour or Tory, both basically offer what a recovery would bring without either government.

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