What's this? Only days after attending the Durham Miners' Gala — to appease his ‘militant, left-wing union paymasters’, apparently — Ed Miliband is trying to recruit businesspeople as Labour candidates. And, what’s more, he’s doing this from inside enemy territory: the Chartered Accountants’ Hall in the City. Just how can it be?
In truth, this development isn’t surprising at all. It’s just another sign that Mr Miliband is trying to broaden his appeal in all directions. A year ago, he probably wouldn’t have attended an event like the Durham Miners’ Gala, for fear of being called ‘Red Ed’. A year ago, he probably wouldn’t have much wanted — or got — Tony Blair as an adviser. But now it’s different. The Labour leader is starting to understand that opposites can be mutually reinforcing. He can do traditional Labour things because he’s also got the centrist Mr Blair on side; he can go to the City because he’s also doing traditional Labour things; and so on. Call it the yin and yang effect, if you like.
Of course, there’s the usual caveat that applies to all of Mr Miliband’s strategies: they may not work, not least because his party are still all quiet on the policy front. But, as I suggest in my column this morning, the Conservatives might still want to learn from him in this case.