David Blackburn

Miliband re-opens campaign with same old weapons

Miliband re-opens campaign with same old weapons
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Party politics is back from the summer and the summer’s events are defining the strategic dividing lines. Ed Miliband reopened hostilities by threatening to force a vote on police cuts. The Standard reports:

‘The Labour leader said ministers were being "reckless" in refusing to rethink planned 20 per cent savings following the worst rioting in living memory.

Launching a new campaign during a visit to Lewisham, Mr Miliband claimed the cuts, reducing officer numbers by 16,000, would "weaken the forces of law and order on our streets".’

Policing Minister Nick Herbert, one of the coalition’s stars outside the cabinet, described Miliband’s claims as ‘hypocrisy’, pointing out that Labour did not rule out making police cuts at the last election. He then reiterated that cuts needn’t affect the frontline. He said, “With 25,000 officers in backroom jobs, forces can make savings and still protect the frontline.”

It’s as if they’d never been away. Miliband remains opposed to cuts as a matter of principle, expressing the view that cuts necessarily affect “the frontline”; the riots are merely a new means to convey the old liturgy. Meanwhile the government still relies on the mantra of doing more with less. The debate is likely to continue in this vein until the coalition’s reforms begin to have discernable effects.