Peter Hoskin

The real battle begins tomorrow

The real battle begins tomorrow
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So what's all the fuss about today, then? Ah, yes, the election of the new Labour leader. We should know the result around 1640 this afternoon – but, this morning, most commentators are indulging in the idea that Ed has won it. The younger Miliband and his team said to be optimistic, his elder brother less so. At the very least, a remarkable turnaround has taken place. Just before the contest began, MiliD was some way ahead of his sibling in the bookies' calculations. Now, Ladbrokes have suspended betting on MiliE.

What happens today, though, is in some respects less important than what happens tomorrow. Today will be the day for triumph and commiseration, for tubthumping speeches about taking Labour back into government. Tomorrow will be the day for a more microscopic look at what the new Labour leader believes, and where he wants to take his party. The winning Miliband will be interviewed on Marr tomorrow morning, and that should give us a clearer sense of his stance on the deficit. Will he refuse to back down from the Alistair Darling plan? Will he veer towards the Ed Balls plan? Or will he delay his decision – as Balls coveniently suggests – until the shadow chancellor has been selected? The answers to those questions will shape the political battleground of the next few years.


David Cameron already has gaze directed towards the real fight. "We have this biggest deficit in Britain’s peacetime history and [Labour] seem to have no answer,” he says in interview with the Telegraph today. The hope will be that he can still say that after the Spending Review.