By Tim Montgomerie
The article contained at least four policy positions that are worth highlighting:
- Slower than the Coalition on deficit reduction: "It is right to cut the deficit in half over four years and wrong to take an extra £40 billion out of the economy by 2014-15." [This is actually the position of Alistair Darling and the Labour government before May but, as the Wall Street Journal (£) has noted, the other leadership candidates are now advocating a less hawkish position].
- Tax the banks to invest in manufacturing: "Rather than abolishing investment allowances for manufacturing, we should double the bank levy (from a tiny 0.07 per cent of balance sheets) to pay for it." Additionally Mr Miliband says he supports "the creation of a British Investment Bank from part of the proceeds from selling our stakes in the nationalised banks." This could be the beginning of a big emphasis on growth by Labour. The Coalition has emphasised deficit reduction but must do much more to 'own' the economic future.
- State-guaranteed jobs: "We need to extend the guarantee of a job beyond the 18-24 age range, not hack it back."
- No rush to civil libertarianism: "Dropping ASBOs and dismantling CCTV will only reduce the power for communities to protect themselves against fear and crime." Interestingly he doesn't say anything about prisons. Will he adopt the Jack Straw line? A Miliband leadership could damage the Coalition if it campaigns against the criminals that won't be jailed because of Ken Clarke's erosion of Michael Howard's policies.
The Shadow Foreign Secretary is likely to be the next Leader of the Opposition. His policy positions deserve careful study. They could shape the debate between the parties in the next few years.