It is fair to say that since his election as Labour Party leader in 2010 Ed Miliband has recived much criticism from across the political spectrum, with polls suggesting he has failed to win the public over. Alongside Ed’s lack of public appeal, many of the public still fail to believe that the Labour Party can be trusted with the economy and with the economy now in positive growth, Ed Miliband has been forced to move the debate to an argument he can win. It was therefore perhaps unsurprising that at the annual Labour Party Conference in Brighton this year, Miliband announced a plethora of policy ideas, policies that appeased the party faithful while also proving popular with the general public. One thing is now certainly clear both of the main political parties have picked their target voters and both are now in campaign mode.
While the Labour leader has supposedly dragged the Party leftwards, an argument that few in the party believe to be the case, the Conservatives chose to lurch rightward, both with a clear audience in mind. This distancing from the “centre ground” was by no means a coincidence, and is a clever tactic that both parties are using to garner further support. Currently in Britain there is a serious problem of voter turnout, with many voters believing that Britain’s political parties are all the same and what has now become clear is that both parties will be fight to prove their “uniqueness” come the next election. While the Conservatives have stuck with their “Blame Labour” rhetoric, which of course successfully improved their support at the last election, they have also taken the decision ti lurch right would, no doubt a measure to target the UKIP voters. Labour on the other hand are aiming their message at the “squeezed middle”, aiming to demonstrate the Conservatives have done little to help the general public.
The defining moment of conference season was of course Ed Miliband’s energy freeze policy, and whether you support it or not, the measure has definitely had the impact that Ed would have hoped. While Cameron stands at the dispatch box and insists that nothing can be done, Miliband is able to take the moral high ground, and point out one massive way in which a governing Labour Party would be practically different. It shouldn’t be forgotten that the Conservatives never won the election, and the public have never really been sold on Cameron, a man that mean believe doesn’t understand the general British public.
Despite the fact that more people are working than ever and the people at the top of big businesses are on more money than ever, people at the bottom are working harder for less money in real terms. So when the energy companies also look rather silly trying to defend their massive price hikes, especially when their profits and bonuses are revealed, very few of the public will ever sympathise with them. Ed Miliband has cleverly picked a policy that truly sets him aside from the current government, while gaining him some popularity amongst the public.
While the 2015 election is far from decided, if Miliband continues to launch policies that will effect the pockets of struggling households across the country, he is on the home run.