Peter Hoskin

Labour step onto the front foot

Labour step onto the front foot
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Talk about a Christmas miracle: Ed Miliband has set about the task of Opposition with ruthless efficiency today. As both Guido and Nicholas Watt have noted, the Labour leader is all across the broadcast news this afternoon, after upping the heat on Vince Cable and the coalition. His party's attack comes in the form of a letter sent by the shadow business secretary, John Denham, to the Cabinet Secretary, Gus O'Donnell. It asks, mischieveously, whether Vince Cable has broken the ministerial code by promising to wage war against Rupert Murdoch, and whether Jeremy Hunt is impartial enough to step into the breach. And while nothing is likely to come of these exhortations, they have already done their work in terms of grabbing Labour, and Miliband, some rare attention.

And that's not all. Miliband also gave a news conference earlier that, by the standards of his young leadership, was incisive and fleet-footed. Even though I don't agree with the sentiment (and nor does Alex), there's an undeniable snap to his charge that, "These are decisions of a Conservative-led government propped up by Liberal Democrat passengers. Passengers not in the front seat, not even in the back seat of the car, passengers who have got themselves locked into the boot." And it was all wrapped up in an appeal for the untapped votes of young people; a group who have had their often legitimate concerns ignored by politicians for decades.

Sure, one effective day does not a successful, or coherent, party leader make. Labour are still caught in a directionless slump. But after the gloom of a couple of weeks ago when Cameron roundly thrashed the "Son of Brown" in PMQs Miliband has some slight cause for cheer today.