Amongst the political obstacles between Ed Miliband and No. 10 Downing Street are a closely entwined pair related to deficits: how much control over him is wielded by the trade union bosses* and does he have a credible alternative to the government’s economic policies?
Labour has often been very coy about quite what it would cut and how much it would cut. Ed Miliband’s speech at the anti-austerity protest march today did not shed light on matters.
However, rather than that being a problem to him, his political opponents to his left have kindly helped out.
Those who dislike even his vague and tepid comments about some cuts being necessary – and so had decided well in advance of hearing the first words of his speech that they would boo him – have ironically done him a favour.
After all, what a handy way to look like someone who is willing to take tough financial choices by being up on stage, booed for having dared say you wouldn’t oppose all cuts. How generous of his left-wing critics to help out in this.
* I pick the word advisedly, because as with other organisations and even firms, those in charge at the top do not always represent the views and attitudes of those elsewhere through the organisation. The executive committees of trade unions, for example, contain far more people who voted Labour in 2010 than they would if they reflected the voting patterns of their own union members. Moreover, the decisions on how much to donate to Labour, when and with what strings attached are not made by the membership at large of trade unions.