Tough times to be mediocre

Ed Miliband is raising his flag in preparation for the forthcoming elections, and has revealed a policy strategy that is, at best, underwhelming.  With an election phrase that could have been plucked out of the pages of The Grapes of Wrath or from the prospectus of a charity which cares for the terminally ill, “With you in tough times” is pretty grim.

The Labour strategy seems to be to criticise the Con Dem government in merely the mildest of terms, and Miliband can’t rise above Blair/Brown Labour’s cynical hunt for the middle England voters of the Mail and the Telegraph.  If I was a Labour supporter, I would be disheartened at a critique like:

“This government have abandoned the pretense that they can govern for the whole country. They have betrayed Middle Britain.”

Hardly a shattering condemnation.  Sodden with supplication to the middle class swing voter, rather than appealing to the people who are suffering, or will suffer, from a government which is targeting the most vulnerable in society whilst trying to make the wealthy even more comfortable.

An open goal for Ed Miliband’s election launch should have been the NHS, but even there he can’t muster a courageous commitment to the jewel in the UK’s public service crown:

“We will repeal the free market, free-for-all principles in this bill.”

He won’t even commit to scrapping the Bill in it’s entirety, just a lame Lib Dem style promise that’s easy to weasel out of.  The cowardice of third way politics.

I know this is a local election campaign and there is a limitation in what local councils can do in the face of national policy changes, but if Miliband should be setting out a stall of what Labour is going to be in 2015.

Judging by Miliband’s mediocre outing so far, there’s little to separate Labour from the Conservatives, making the party that built NHS more like Tory-lite, than Labour fight back.

David Cameron must be loving it.

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