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As David Miliband departs, it’s time for Ed to show us his alternative is different

Ed Miliband ran for the Labour leadership because he believed he could offer an alternative; an alternative not just to the coalition government but, more crucially at that time, an alternative vision for Britain to that which his brother David was offering. Two and a half years on, with David Miliband departing British politics to go and head up the charity International Rescue Committee, it’s worth considering whether Ed’s alternative is really proving to be radically different.

On the face of it, it seems a slightly stupid question; since the starting gun to the leadership election in 2010, the media have delighted in contrasting ‘Red Ed’ with his more centrist brother David, desperately seeking to extend the dividing lines of the Blair-Brown era. If we are to believe the political commentariat, Ed and David are the proverbial chalk and cheese of the modern Labour party. Their visions for Britain are supposedly almost irreconcilably different.  Read the rest of this entry

Miliband’s funding proposals: Labour will take a hit but the Tories will be hit harder

Ed Miliband this morning made a bold intervention over funding for political parties, claiming that donations should be capped at £5,000 – a figure that is one tenth of the cap of £50,000 that David Cameron has previously put forward. The really headline-grabbing move though, is that Miliband signalled that trade unions will also be subjected to this cap, a move that he claims could deprive the Labour party of millions of pounds. Read the rest of this entry

Change we can’t believe in

Ahead of next month’s local elections Ed Miliband today gave a speech in Derby promoting Labour’s campaign.

Outlining what he thinks is wrong in the country, Miliband claimed that “we have a political system that too many people believe can’t change it. It makes people believe that things can’t be any better than they are. That it doesn’t matter who is in charge.” Read the rest of this entry

Ed Miliband: Lines of attack

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Ed Miliband has not had a good start to the year. He returned to the dispatch box for PMQs last Wednesday looking to put the previous year behind him. His supporters may well point to his successes, such as fathering the Oxford Dictionary Word Of The Year, but 2011 was definitely not the year of the Ed (Miliband, that is). Some say that PMQs is unimportant, and in many ways it is. When it comes to party morale though, it can play a significant role. Miliband will have stepped up to the dispatch box with memories of the last time he was there; when David Cameron played conductor to government benches prompting them into a raucous outburst as he put Miliband in his place and summed up the year for the Labour leader. Click here to keep reading

Nick Clegg: voice of opposition?

In a speech somewhat overshadowed by other events, Nick Clegg yesterday made a marked attack on the Conservative policy of a tax break for married couples. Perhaps emboldened by the Prime Minister’s recent actions, backbench Tory MPs have reportedly been increasing pressure for the manifesto policy to be enacted by the Government, a move that would clearly not meet with the Deputy Prime Minister’s approval.

The speech was supposedly designed to lay out Clegg’s political philosophy, but while the contents of the speech went much further than the comments on marriage, it is indicative of his present standing that his political voice is now heard only within the context of the Coalition. The issue at hand is, though, extremely important. Clegg may have entered government seeking Lords reform, changes to party political funding  and a narrowing of inequality, but the austerity agenda to which he has so firmly tied his party will undoubtedly overshadow any of this. The effects of George Osborne’s economic policy will be felt well beyond the Treasury. What Conservatives may feel is merely support for the institution of marriage appears to others just part of a wider symbolic attempt to reinforce the traditional institutions of marriage, the family, the church and voluntary organisations as the role of the state is so brutally undermined. Read the rest of this entry

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