Will Ed's soapbox show wash with voters?

Ed Miliband in Chorley

It's back. The politician's soap box.

But look who's following in John Major's footsteps. It's Ed Miliband.

I followed the Labour leader to Chorley, Lancashire, as he sought to show that he was doing politics in a different way. He told me that "we've got to try something" to break down the barriers between politicians and the people.

I asked him about the views of Tony Blair, John Reid, David Blunkett and other senior Labour figures that what he needs to do differently is to start telling the public what Labour's for and not just what it's against.

Visiting a retirement village, the Labour leader spoke of the need to look at how the elderly can be cared for outside expensive hospitals - thus saving the NHS money.

A new commission will look at how to integrate health and social care. How to govern when there is no money to spend is the question Labour finds hardest to answer.

In the last few days he's been told that Labour should seek to reassure voters that the party will, at least at first, spend only as much as its opponents - as Gordon Brown and Tony Blair did before the election of 1997.

'In good time'

Ed Miliband has told the BBC that he believes we "need a different way forward for our economy".

He's also been told that they should state clearly that they plan to increase spending to increase public investment even if it risks a repeat of the "tax bombshell" attack which - along with his soapbox - ensured that John Major was re-elected against the odds in 1992.

The chancellor will set out the coalition's spending plans for the first year after the next election on 26 June in his Spending Review. The Labour leader said he would set out his alternative approach before the next election, when he knew about the state of the economy - it would, he added, be "in good time, honestly".

"Massive increases" in spending on the NHS "won't be available" under the next Labour government.

Mr Miliband's challenge is to turn his talk of "a new economic settlement" into something which is not judged simply by how much he promises to spend.

He will insist that pledges to extend opportunities to the 50% who don't go to university, to get the banking system to support small businesses and greater regulation of the energy and train companies are all examples of just that and show that he is pursuing a different approach not just from the Tories but from New Labour as well.

Mr Miliband also told me that there was no chance of George Galloway returning to the Labour Party and that proposals for a general strike were ridiculous and would not happen.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • Comment number 162.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 161.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 160.

    'the mess THEY created'
    Do you think the 'Great Recession' would have been cancelled if 'Pasty George' had been in Downing Street?
    If so why?
    Who was the only main party leader calling for more public spending in the build up to the last election?

  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    Chris H @158
    "latest wheeze"
    Yes, "a mystery"!

    But we all need to get thinking. However we got into this mess, 'the engine' is stuck. Without the 'lubrication' that is currency, for ALL moving parts, we will at best make kangaroo-progress, taking-on more harm, domestic social disorder avoided only in war of some kind, hot conscription or cold clamp-down. We need to liberate and share 'the money'!

  • rate this

    Comment number 158.

    Look out for Labour's latest wheeze: "tax the rich and use the money to guarantee jobs and growth". Quite HOW they propose to do that when the rest of the world can't do it is a mystery! We need to know the magic that the Eds Ballsup and Milliwallace have found. Or are they just going to re-employ millions of Civil Servants like they did before as paid Labour voters? 3 years in and not one Policy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    Labour will never get my vote. The problem with them is that they protest EVERYTHING that the coalition put forward. Despite some clangers from Cameron et al, at least they are trying to sort out the mess. Labour are in continuous denial about the mess THEY created and have no credibility, except with the far left who will always have an axe to grind about "rich toff Tories"

  • rate this

    Comment number 156.

    Whenever I hear milliband in PMQs calling Mr Speaker Mr Speaker I am transported back to my schooldays when the snotty kids who wanted to lick the teachers backside and show how clever they are used to shout Sir, Sir, Please Sir! Anyone else notice the similarity?

  • rate this

    Comment number 155.

    #149 not sure what yr comment , but there is definitily a left wing bias on the BBC blogs , will only get more and more as the election approaches.

    The labour party with made sure PRAVDA is onside

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    the only solution to the economic troubles that ED Milide and ED balls help Gordon brown and blair to place on this country is to sent home the 5_000_000 imigrants that they let in

  • rate this

    Comment number 153.

    Up2snuff @144
    "something will turn up"

    What matter if out-of-power, stuck in opposition, for a few years, even a few decades? As long as 'a leadership' survives, to catch the next inevitable wave of dismay

    Waiting... not to have ideas stolen. The tragedy is not to be identified with at least awareness of the ideas that never will change, the ideal of democratic rule: Of, For By The Equal People

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    #148 yr comment is deeply offensive and off topic so why to r you allwoed to get away with it , guess becasue of the BBC left wing bias.

    #150 you forgot let more imigrants in

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    The barrier between is self inflicted. Until they start to answer questions directly until there is a real debate they basically can FO

    We all know we have serious issues we all know there is no one correct answer we all know politicos are short term tinkering dressed up as something more.

    Just engage with us or face obivilion

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    Ned & ED Balls Cooper Balls and Harriet Harpie Diane Abbot !! They have a blank piece of paper with just a heading on it Manifesto.. they look around for a item to put on it. silence, lots of chin stroking bottom shuffling, They all smile at each other and in big letters they put TAX increase and Benefits to Increase they all lean back on their chairs with a smug satisfied grin on their faces.

  • rate this

    Comment number 149.

    why was my comment removed seems bbc do not like the truth

  • Comment number 148.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    I've realised what the BBC are up to... all our deleted risque posts are rounded up and used on Have I Got News For You.
    They broadcast sarcasm but we're not allowed to... Tut Tut Tut BEEB

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    Yes, I'm afraid Labour's policy document is still a blank piece of paper only now with a couple of blots and a 'chad' on it. They're still in denial about Brown, they still think their 'patron' is wonderful and almost infallible like the Popes of yore. Time for some front bench changes; out with Brown mini-me Balls and out with 'Mid Staffs' Burnham. The recent Labour past casts a long shadow.

  • Comment number 145.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    @142 CH
    Agreed - it's a form of contrarionism opposition without being a true Opposition & stating: 'The Government is wrong, this is what we propose & it would be our policy.'

    I think they are hoping, Micawber-style, that something will turn up - in the economy, in world trade or politics - to rescue them from their past & policy-less present.

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    labour is not working
    labour will never work
    labour has never worked

    thanks gordon,ed,ed and tony for bankrupting my grandchildren lives


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