Today’s FT tells me that the Milibands are divided on deficit reduction and this will be the first big fight, post Ed’s leadership.
Here we go then with the first great battle between union placeman “Red Ed” and David “Tong Blair continuity candidate” Miliband. Or at least this is the narrative the media seem to want. The problem with it is that’s rubbish.
Yes Ed and David Miliband disagree on some details of deficit reduction but the divide is much smaller than that between, say, George Osborne and Vince Cable.
Both agree that George Osborne is cutting too fast, both want a greater proportion of the balance to come from tax rises and both understand that growth is the most important element in any deficit cutting strategy.
And both know that there is far more to economic policy than simply reducing the deficit.
The rebalancing of the economy, the taming of finance and, most of all, a strategy for job creation – these are the really big issues in economic policy, and here to (as with the Living Wage) the two Milibands (and Ed Balls) agree on far more than they disagree.
It seems to me we have a choice, we spend the next two weeks sniping at each other or we focus on George Osborne and David Cameron,
For what it’s worth – I’d favour sticking to a four year blue print, emphasising the flexibility in our approach and moving towards a 50/50 split between tax rises and spending cuts.
But what I’d favour most of all is moving the debate away from a fairly sterile discussion of structural deficits and public sector borrowing requirements and onto the real issue – jobs.