As the only national political leader taking part in tonight’s “challengers’ debate,” is it a mistake for Ed Miliband to put himself on a par with the nationalists and minnows of British politics?
We’ll soon find out, but assuming he does well enough (in a format that usually favours his softer public style) it will bolster an already confident Labour campaign and throw the spotlight on the absent Prime Minister’s reluctance to defend his own record.
Indeed, Miliband has a neat line on David Cameron’s failure to turn up: “I think if you are applying for the job of Prime Minister, the very least the British people expect is for you to turn up to the interview.”
Such bad form, especially when Employment Minister Esther McVeigh has been very clear on this point: “…jobseekers have a responsibility to do everything they can to get back into work. We are ending the something for nothing culture,” she has previously opined.
For the first offence of failing to turn up to an interview, an unemployed benefit claimant faces losing four week’s Job Seekers’ Allowance.
Cameron should beware, the penalties increase with every no-show.