by Tom Harris
Ed Miliband was predictably mocked by the Tory benches after his “blank piece of paper” initiative was leaked.
Yet even those government MPs who were oh-so-cleverly holding up their blank order papers for the TV cameras knew that opposition parties, in the immediate aftermath of an election defeat, always – always – review their policy from scratch. The Tories did it in 2005, and in 2001 and in 1997. I seem to remember a perpetual policy review throughout the 80s and into the 90s (remember “Labour Listens”)?
The fact is that the 2010 manifesto failed. It was rejected. It is now deceased, an ex-manifesto. It has joined the Choir Eternal in manifesto heaven. And we will need a brand new one before 2015.
The danger for Ed and our party is that the current political and economic climate doesn’t allow us the relaxed timetable that Cameron enjoyed after his party’s third successive defeat. All the future prime minister had to worry about in those days was how to “detoxify” his party’s brand and capitalise on the inevitable imminent succession of Brown to replace the thrice-victorious Blair. It was all about strategy, message, image. (more…)