Labour seeks to exploit Tory weakness with new push on One Nation message
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.
Monday 22 October 2012
The Shadow Cabinet will tomorrow discuss plans to target David Cameron as Ed Miliband seeks to exploit the Government's woes and to show that One Nation Labour is not a five-minute wonder.
At an awayday strategy session, Michael Dugher, the shadow Cabinet Office minister and Labour's chief "attack dog", will argue that the party should portray Mr Cameron as "weak" for not sacking Andrew Mitchell as Chief Whip immediately after his outburst at the police.
The Opposition will also attack the Prime Minister as "out of touch, out of date" and incapable of providing the change Britain needs to become "one nation". But Mr Dugher will say that Labour's criticism must not descend into "class war" and should focus on what voters regard as credible.
Mr Miliband will tell the meeting that the One Nation Labour theme he unveiled in his party conference speech last month is "much more than a slogan" and must provide a clear path for the party up to and beyond the 2015 election.
Although his aides refused to confirm it, Mr Miliband's series of One Nation Labour speeches are expected to include one on the sensitive issue of immigration as part of a drive to reconnect with alienated white working class voters. While insisting that migration to Britain is good for the economy, he is likely to address the pressures it has put on public services such as schools and housing, and admit that migration has been running too fast to ensure solidarity and strong community ties in some areas.
The Labour leader will tell his senior frontbench team to apply three "one nation" tests to new policies: ensuring that everyone has a stake; that prosperity is fairly shared – a hint of higher taxes for the rich—and that valued institutions such as the NHS are protected and improved.
The Labour leader will admit that New Labour was too soft on the banks and too relaxed about the "filthy rich", but he will also say that Old Labour should not have ignored the vital role in the economy played by Britain's small businesses.
His One Nation tour of the country will include safe Tory seats, rural areas where Labour has never done well in elections and the most deprived communities to show there are no "no-go areas" for the party.
Mr Miliband told a private meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party last week the Opposition has made huge strides since the last election but has "a lot more to do".
He outlined Labour's "five steps to victory" as unity; good opposition; showing the party could make a difference on day one; having "big answers" for the long term and being in tune with the spirit of the country.
Labour is also to tackle the sensitive issue of immigration to reconnect with the white working class
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