Wednesday 20 October 2010

Ed Miliband and the politics of fear

Opposition leader Ed Miliband was door-stepped as he left home this morning, what he said is very revealing about the Labour Party's approach to today and the coming communication battle:

"People will be very fearful about what is being announced today, fearful for their jobs and fearful for many of the services they rely on up and down the country."

I thought he delivered the soundbite well but it is what he said, rather than how he said it, that really matters. Miliband didn't try and hide the fact that he is trying to stoke up fear in the country - it didn't take long to abandon the 'new optimism' did it? Fear exists as everyone is fearful of the unknown - Miliband is trying to capitalise on this. This is why, if I was advising the Government, I would be far more frank and robust in how I communicated the cuts and their impact.

If the Government tries to somehow underplay the impact of the cuts, or who they will impact on, this will play into the hands of Miliband. It is a classic political trick to try and foster suspicion and mistrust about your opponent: Gordon Brown built a career on it. George Osborne could do well to close this line of attack for the Government today, before the Labour Party build a campaign against the cuts based on nothing but fear.

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