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By Peter Hoskin
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Sun

Rachel
Reeves has an article explaining Labour’s 10p tax policy in today’s Sun. “So
what?” you might think, “isn’t this what shadow ministers do?”

But
there’s still something striking about this article in itself. Consider where it
appears: the Sun, a newspaper that might have cause to be unfriendly towards
Labour after the phone hacking scandal. And consider the fact that Ed Miliband also
wrote a piece for them
in January. This was the first time he’d done so for
around two years. The pieces, as another Labour leader once put it, are in
flux.

LabourList’s
Mark Ferguson—one of the smartest Labour writers in the Westminster typing
pool—noted the significance of Ed Miliband’s Sun article at the
time
. It could be, he suggested, part of an effort to turn “Red Ed” into “Everyman
Ed”: a tribune of the people reaching out the people in the sorts of
publications the people actually read. Rachel Reeve’s article today can be seen
as a continuation of that process.

This
is all part of what the Fabians’ Marcus Roberts has identified, in a recent
blog-post
, as “Labour’s new ‘Blue Collar’ politics”. I’d encourage you to
read the entire post, but these passages are particularly pertinent for
Conservatives, whether you agree with them or no’:

“Politically,
it offers a response, just in the pre-Budget nick of time, to the growing
threat of ‘blue collar Toryism’ or ‘Little Guy Conservatism’ espoused by
serious long term thinkers on the Right like Tim Montgomerie, Robert Halfon and
Jesse Norman.  But their prospectus for a
Tory Party that cares more for middle earners then the 1% has of course an
obvious weakness; whatever good they proscribe, Labour can likely do it better.
By amending and adapting smart Tory thinking on the squeezed middle, Miliband
broadens his One Nation brand.

But
the differentiation with the Tories still matters of course and this is where
Labour policy is particularly ingenious. Payment for the 10p cut through the
mansions tax substantiates voters pre-existing belief that Labour not the
Tories is the party that best answers the vital pollsters question: ‘who cares
about people like you’. And at last Labour activists have a policy that they
can explain on the doorstep without needing to reach for some think tank’s
definition of ‘predistribution’.”

It
will be worth keeping tabs on whether Labour continue to try to outflank the
Tory leadership on this ground. Indeed, one of the items in ConservativeHome’s
recent “Little
Guy Conservatism” series
was Harriet Baldwin’s struggle for English
votes for English laws
– part of a broader theme of “Englishness” that
Labour’s policy chief Jon Cruddas is also keen
to explore
. Don’t be surprised to see an article by him in the Sun, any day
now.

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