“Being rooted in people’s lives is not about a slogan, it’s not about going out and just saying ‘tell us what we should think’, but it is about saying we need to be reconnected to the hopes and aspirations of the people of Britain.”
Having read Ed’s speech twice and learnt nothing from the platitudes, Guido fears he still knows where Ed wants to take a Labour Party “rooted in people’s lives”. Ed says he is a “socialist” and wants to tax people who are successful more than half their earnings, which sounds like a Labour government too rooted in people’s bank accounts. More of a blank cheque policy than a blank policy sheet.
Guido was never going to be impressed with a younger, more humanised but still wonky version of Gordon Brown, unfortunately for Ed his own cabinet also seem unimpressed; on the Sunday shows Alan Johnson told Marr, in coded language, that he wants to dump the 50% tax rate policy before the election, Douglas Alexander confirmed to Adam Boulton the shadow chancellor was looking to dump it and Liam Byrne said just now on the Politics Show “…you have to decide your tax priorities closer to the time”, translation “we’ll dump it before the election”. They all know that Ed stood for the leadership ideologically committed to squeezing the successful: ‘Let me say plainly: I would keep the top rate of income tax at 50p permanently’.
Punters are beginning to write Ed off and the left-of-centre commentariat is unimpressed. The only conclusion to draw from all these cabinet David Miliband supporters opposing Ed’s key policy objective is that they don’t really want him to lead them into the next election.