Ed Miliband ends his first week as Labour leader with his party ahead of the Tories in a Guardian/ICM poll for the first time since Gordon Brown ducked the chance of holding an election in 2007.It's important only because it undermines Blair's claim that the party could not move a millimetre to the left of New Labour without courting disaster.
Ed Miliband is clearly somewhere to the left of his brother - the clear New Labour candidate - and yet is being given a cautious welcome by the public.
And, as I expected, the results are in many ways fuelled by public reaction to the coalition's planned cuts.
The poll also shows that the public mood is swinging against the scale and speed of spending cuts, with 43% now saying the cuts have gone too far compared with the 37% who think the balance is right. By contrast, in July 39% thought the balance right, and 38% said too far.And all of this is happening before a single cut has been implemented.
Once Osborne actually starts to make cuts of between 25% and 40% I fully expect their to be outrage across the political spectrum. As I have always said, these are percentages which he has plucked from his ass. It's simply impossible to impose a cut of 25% on any public service without reducing it to a shadow of it's former self. And that's looking at his proposed cuts at the lower end of his scale.
Imagine the impact of a 25% cut on something as simple as your local bus service. One in four buses gone, the packed insides as more and more passengers are forced to cram in together. Now apply that to all other public services. Imagine the police force deprived of a quarter of their effectiveness. Imagine the strikes which are sure to break out when Osborne tries to impose these savage cuts across the board. We are already seeing house prices plummet in reaction to what Osborne has proposed, so it does not surprise me at all that Ed Miliband has seen a rise in the polls before most people even know what he stands for. People know that he does not favour cuts on the scale which Osborne proposes and that appears to be good enough for now to ensure that people consider giving him a chance.
All of this is taking place before a single cut has been implemented. Once they are implemented, I fully expect chaos to take place.
And, as expected, Labour's gains are made largely at the expense of the Liberal Democrats.
There has been a shift of opinion in Labour's favour since May, with support up almost eight points at the expense of the Lib Dems. Almost one in four people who voted Lib Dem are now thinking of voting Labour instead.Once the reality of what Clegg has signed up to becomes apparent, and people re-read his comments stating that benefits should not be there 'to compensate the poor for their predicament', I fully expect there to be a progressive exodus from the Liberal Democrat party.
The right wing newspapers have nicknamed him "Red Ed", but I think Miliband has positioned himself perfectly to counter the economic savagery which the Con-Dem coalition have in store for us all.
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