When I interviewed David Miliband last summer and asked him what his philosophy was he was able to sum it up in a sentence. The reply, as I recall it, was succinct: “Opportunities for the many not the few.”
Perhaps he had learned from the day that Tony Blair was asked the same question and couldn’t come up with a reply.
Ed Miliband has an answer which sounds a lot like his brother’s but without the clarity, judging by this morning’s Today programme.*
Evan Davis: “My Labour party support…in 12 words: What’s Ed Miliband’s Labour about?”
Ed Miliband: My Labour party is about a party that enables people, right across the country, to get on and do better (Davis interrupts)…well hang on a minute, to get on and do better and also a Labour party which crucially improves the chances of the next generation in this country because I made this point to you earlier about the challenges the next generation face, we’ve always talked about equality, I’m someone who thinks this is an important issue to us, but inter-generation equality is an important as the inequality between people today because the next generation, when you think about the challenges they face in relation to jobs, housing and climate change, are massive challenges, and only 9 per cent of people in this country actually think the next generation will do better than the last.”
That’s 129 words, not 12: Miliband’s advisers should advise him to cut the waffle and develop a sharper message.
* Also, strikingly, Miliband clarified that the Labour deficit reduction programme would have £30bn fewer cuts than the coalition, not £40bn.