whose football team is the most loathsome in the world. However, that town, and also Reading, have been mentioned as places which need to be won back from the Tories. While the erstwhile MP for Watford, Claire "Slapper" Ward, will not be missed, one Iain Martin, who says this below, is not wrong. He is cited by the excellent John Rentoul, who provides the only reason I can think of for going anywhere near the Independent, which was a LibDem comic last time I looked at it, admittedly some time ago.
Martin professes himself baffled by Miliband’s answers at his news conference yesterday:
Offered the chance to say that there could have been a little more caution exercised when it came to spending towards the end of the boom years, Mili E instead lashed himself to the Brownite mast. It was all perfectly sustainable, says the Labour leader, and then the bankers blew up the world.
His loyalty to his friend, mentor and former master is touching. But I am at a loss to see what is in this line of attack electorally for Miliband. I can see what is in it for David Cameron — he’ll love it.
Martin explains why:
Miliband could say that, on reflection, whilst he was proud of much of the investment (code for spending money) he has learnt that there is such a thing as the business cycle. That there will always be fluctuations and it is best to proceed sensibly on the spending front knowing that government tax revenues can go down as well as up.
This is not the position Ed Miliband has picked. At the next election one wonders whether there will be much of a market, beyond parts of the Labour core vote, for a policy which runs as follows. High spending is always good and it is sensible to say that boom will never turns to bust. And if the boom does go boom-banga-bust, then you can just spend even more, which other people – many of them floating voters – will have to pay for in higher taxes, cuts to services and lost growth. In Reading or Watford (the kind of places Labour needs to win to stand a chance) is that argument going to sound credible and be the key that unlocks the door to a parliamentary majority and the premiership for Ed Miliband at the general election? I’m struggling to see how.
Quite so. Happy now, boys?