Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Ed Miliband is on course

You're supposed to be answering the questions, good sir 
If you follow me on twitter ( @alexsmith321 ) you'll know that one thing that really gets on the proverbial tits is when David Cameron asks questions of Ed Miliband during PMQs. To further enlighten, PMQs stands for Prime Ministers Questions, it does not stand for Shadow Leaders Questions. Until SLQs is scheduled for Parliament, I would much prefer it if Cameron chose to answer questions asked of his Government, not ask questions of the opposition leader. For me, this is a big flaw in his game, and the Labour party should exploit it more.

One of the most frequently asked questions by David Cameron in the direction of Ed Miliband is along the lines of: Where's the manifesto?

No Republican policy until Romney was on the Scene
Its a weak response to what is usually a testing question about Government Policy. It is weak because rather than give the media a soundbite about policy (which would most probably be a negative one about the Government's shortcomings), he gives the press a soundbite which sounds something like "We'll comment on our policy to do with ...xyz...when the opposition leader has told us about his party's policy!"

Little does Cameron know, Milibands approach here is actually spot on. There is no harm at this stage in not having released his mandate to Govern. 

Tony Blair was reasonably quick when it came to developing his mandate "because Britain deserves better" because a rather turbulent Tory party was in Government. A General Election could have been called at any time, particularly because Major after the 1992 Election eventually lost his overall 21 seat majority. A vote of no confidence could have occurred at any time, or simply Major could have gone back to the polls to try and increase his stake in the Commons. 

No such thing can happen this time round. The Parliament Act 2011 now allows for fixed term Parliaments of five years, meaning unless we experience some very extreme and rare circumstances, we'll have to wait until 2015 for the next Election.

We now operate a system very similar to the US. They don't issue a mandate after a year in opposition, largely because they haven't selected a Presidential Nominee! They instead cause the Government nuisance, holding them to account, questioning policy and being, in general, a thorn in the side of the party in Office. 

No sense in getting out the traps too early
Seeing as Miliband knows there won't be a General Election until 2015, he's doing the right thing in delaying any kind of policy announcement. Instead he spends time on policy development and strengthening the party, before eventually releasing a mandate, at say the Party Conference in 2013, to give it a year and a half to sink in and develop. 

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