In June 2010 many would have said Labour was going to spend a long time in opposition. The Labour government that presided over the trip to the IMF and the recessions of the 1970s left such a legacy of distrust that Labour stayed out of government until 1997. The Conservative government that entered the Exchange Rate Mechanism leading to the recession of the early 1990s has kept the Conservatives from a majority ever since. Surely, many thought, presiding over the huge boom and bust of the last decade and presiding over bank bankruptcies that no-one had seen before in the UK, would mean something similar for Labour?
Yet Labour is now regularly 10% or more ahead in opinion polls, just two years after their bad defeat in 2010. They can thank the Lib Dems for that.
It has been traditional for Conservatives and many in the media to be dismissive of Ed Miliband. I have always advised colleagues to take him seriously and not to underestimate him. His campaign over Murdoch led to the Leveson enquiry which will do damage to the Coalition with the media. His wish to change perceptions of Labour’s approach to immigration is a necessary part of his journey to reconnect with lost Labour voters. Mr Balls has associated them with a growth agenda, which is shrewd political positioning given the state of the world economy.