Ed Miliband asks for One Nation-themed policies
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Thursday 04 October 2012
Shadow Cabinet members will be ordered to draw up policies to illustrate Ed Miliband's new One Nation Labour theme as he tries to build on his successful conference speech and answer criticism that his party is a policy-free zone.
The Labour leader will tell his frontbenchers that all policies must be tested against three One Nation Labour principles – that everyone has a stake in the country; that prosperity is shared and that institutions that bind the nation together are preserved. Specific measures will be unveiled shortly.
Mr Miliband views One Nation Labour as a challenge to his party – not a temporary piece of branding but a coherent strategy for the next few years. "It means engaging the concerns of those people who turned away from Labour," one aide said.
In a series of media interviews yesterday, Mr Miliband was reluctant to put policy flesh on the bones of his slogan. But he gave his strongest hint yet that an incoming Labour government would put the 45p top rate of income tax taking effect next April back up to 50p in the pound if the party regains power in 2015.
"If there was an election tomorrow, we have said we would," he told BBC Radio 4. "The right thing to do is to set out your tax plans at the time of the election when you know the overall circumstances. I have given a pretty clear indication of what we'd do tomorrow and if we were in government."
During a question-and-answer session at the Labour conference, Mr Miliband announced that he would join a TUC march against spending cuts on 20 October.
While his decision delighted delegates, they were less happy about his support for public sector pay restraint. "If it's a choice then in the cuts we were making in public spending, between jobs and pay, then jobs should come first," he said.
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