If Miliband latest guru fails
When Liam Byrne left the Treasury, he wrote a famous note for his successor: afraid to tell you there is no money left.
After Ed Miliband reshuffle last week, Mr Byrne could have penned a second memo: there are no policies either. Those close to Jon Cruddas, who has replaced Mr Byrne as the party policy review chief, claim to have found almost nothing to show for two years of work.
is starting with a blank sheet of paper, says one friend. As well as being energetic, Mr Byrne has a management consultant grasp of detail. If even Labour Mr PowerPoint could make so little headway on a project billed as the rebirth of a shattered party, then Mr Miliband has questions to answer.
Some think the sprawling review he instigated fell into 23 separate categories. Other leading figures remember 22. one knows the number, says a Cruddas ally. It is typical of the leader changed luck that potential disaster appears to have mutated into triumph. The Cruddas touch, under which Labour may get tougher on immigration and demand a referendum on EU membership, has already instilled fear in Tory ranks.
Once, Mr Cruddas told me that the BNP was making headway because the Brown government had turned away from workers and planted itself Middle England, drinking Liebfraumilch in a Holiday Inn in Watford. Now David Cameron, who would scorn this vulgar metaphorical retreat, is ensconced in the exclusive Chillaxia spa resort, siphoning down fine wine at Sunday lunch as his Foreign Secretary tells Britons to work harder.
Worse, the Coalition is at war over the Prime Minister reported backing of the report in which Adrian Beecroft, a Tory donor, recommends cutting red tape on employment conditions. Vince Cable promise to resist proposals will be matched by the fury of Nick Clegg, who thought he had seen off Beecroft months ago. Voters who blame the Government, not basic workers rights, for engineering a double dip recession may side with Mr Miliband criticism, in his social mobility speech yesterday, of the fast buck, take what you can culture
Much like Lot wife, frozen to a pillar of salt for failing to heed the pandora jewelry store angels of deliverance, Mr Cameron appears unable to move towards the mainstream consensus that voodoo economics won rescue Britain. The two Eds have closed the gap on economic credibility, and Labour mantra of growth and jobs echoes through a Europe where alliances, pandora silver beads not least between Angela Merkel and Franois Hollande, are being rethought. Never mind Frangela. The future, this week at least, belongs to Milibande. At home, those who once scorned Mr Miliband now praise him. So what could possibly go wrong?
Plenty. If appointing Mr Cruddas frightens the Tories, it also alarms some senior Labour figures. don really know what Jon Cruddas thinks, says one. Even those who believe Tony Blair manic modernising went too far are suspicious of the flag and family creed promoted by Blue Labour (Mr Cruddas dislikes the name, but backs the message).
had one Blue Labour guru, and look what happened, says a doubter, recalling the furore over Lord Glasman wish to halt virtually all immigration. Others worry that Labour, instead of seizing the future, now risks clog dancing down dream cobbled byways to electoral annihilation.
Nor is Mr Cruddas a long serving Ed lieutenant. At an early meeting, the two are said to have at one another throughout. Before his appointment, Mr Cruddas had seemed closer to David Miliband, with whom he has been conducting private Westminster seminars, along with Prof Jonathan Rutherford, a leading Blue Labour thinker who will, according to insiders, work closely with the new policy chief.
Even Mr Cruddas friends think Mr Miliband brave in appointing a man who once told me that Labour initial policy review was noise As Neal Lawson, of the Compass think tank, says: person who comes out of this best is Ed. In choosing an unconventional Left winger, the Labour leader may have made the most audacious gamble of a cautious career. Why would he take the risk?
The answer is that Mr Cruddas is one of the few politicians who can read the country mood. Voters hold self serving politicians in contempt, and so does he. As he said recently: is more about emotion than programme. In an interview conducted some time ago, he advocated an amnesty for all unregistered migrants, tough, points based immigration controls and a reform of the Labour market to stop jobs going to cheap, unregulated foreign labour. By also building enough homes, he would off the space in which the far Right operates
That Mr Miliband is already moving rapidly (if not quite as fast as some suppose) towards the in/out referendum on Europe that his policy chief has long advocated, gives an idea of the likely Cruddas clout. Meanwhile, Prof Rutherford pandora sale items has been mapping out plans for new contributory welfare system based on reciprocity
But Mr Cruddas purview goes beyond specific policies. A conservative who despises neo liberalism, he has challenged the idea that this is a Tory nation presided over by a Tory government and a Tory God. Labour, in his view, is the rightful curator of Britain countryside, its heritage, its institutions and its hopes.
Philosopher kings with big ideas on Aristotle politics of virtue may have little impact on the doorsteps of Dagenham, Mr Cruddas constituency. But the arch defender of the white working class against a cosmopolitan elite is never likely to become a Poundland Plato, musing on a Labour Utopia in half deserted halls. As Neal Lawson says: always thinking about winning elections.
In the coming months, Mr Cruddas will have to satisfy sceptics in his party who wonder if, for example, he can chart a future for the NHS. Some of Labour best thinkers believe Mr Miliband would have been wiser in the first place to set up a two chapter rethink labelled Good Society and Good Economy instead of the Pandora Policy Review that contained no good surprises.
Expect Mr Cruddas to simplify, to shun spreadsheets and to build what allies are calling a movement for change that includes a living wage and a major programme for jobs and building. In a country fearful of its future and dislocated from its past, he aspires to tell a story that Britain wants to hear, based on the text of St Francis. there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is discord, harmony. Where there is despair, hope.
As he reminded a recent audience, George W Bush deployed a version of that message. So, as he might have added, did Margaret Thatcher on winning the 1979 election. One test of a Labour leader now relying on Mr Cruddas to pave the way to Downing Street is whether Mr Miliband can hold his nerve on backing his new guru hunches.
Should Mr Cruddas fail, he will divide his party. If he succeeds, he may unite the country. To lose one policy review may look like a misfortune. To lose a second would be worse than carelessness.
It would leave Labour without a manifesto and, quite possibly, without a prayer. Ed Miliband has taken a leap into the unknown. Now he must hope for a safe landing how much does a pandora charm cost.
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