Friday, 27 September 2013

Ed Miliband

The chances are, as things stand at the moment, that Ed Miliband be running the country after the next election. Ukip splits the Conservative vote while, "When Clegg jumped into bed with Cameron, just under half of his erstwhile supporters leapt into Labour’s arms," the Spectator tells us.

The Economist's correspondent takes up the theme with an interesting analysis of exactly who Miliband is appealing to and why. The aim is to "unite Mr Miliband’s coalition while driving a wedge between parts of the Conservative coalition", so "Freezing energy bills ... divides free-market Tories from blue-collar conservatives. Building houses ... drives a wedge between Tory NIMBYs and those who are (or whose children are) struggling to get on the housing ladder. Extending the school day ... splits modernising “One Nation” Tories from more libertarian or socially conservative ones" but at the same time each policy unites various actual and potential Labour voters.

I would add two things. First, since Miliband only needs 35% and has no party to his left, there is a lot to be said for following a core vote strategy.

Second, the freezing energy bills policy is a monstrously stupid piece of economic illiteracy. It may therefore be aimed at those Ukip voters who defected from Labour. (For details of Geoffrey Bloom's economics, see this piece he apparently wrote recently. Actually don't. Just this bit is enough: "It is my belief low flat tax with high thresholds will either flat line or increase revenue". Or this: "To those who criticise Ukip, always anonymous for some reason, for “back of an envelope numbers” - let me argue they work better on the back of an envelope than reams of Government statistics which never add up.")  Note that, so Wikipedia tells me, "UKIP finished in second place in the 2012 Rotherham by-election ... second in ... Barnsley Central in 2011. UKIP also came second in 2012 in the Middlesbrough by-election and third in the Croydon North by-election, which were held on the same day as Rotherham" - that is a lot of ex-Labour voters who might be tempted back by new idiocies. On the other hand, perhaps Nick Clegg is trying to woo them with his moronic 'free school meals for millionaires' children' idea.

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