Public Affairs: Soap Box - Nick Vaughan, associate, Gardant Communications

With the Comprehensive Spending Review finally unveiled, the Government is becoming accustomed to fierce and effective attacks from the new opposition.

Since its conference, Labour has shown formidable resolve. A host of former ministers might have preferred to take a break on the back benches, or secure lucrative post-politics business opportunities. But instead Ed Miliband's 'new' shadow cabinet is offering sustained and solid opposition.

This is significant because oppositions matter greatly. New Labour's electoral success during the noughties owed much to the lack of traction the Conservatives made under William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard, who began the fightback.

Three factors will determine the longevity of this Government. The first is keeping happy the very big ship that is the Con-Lib coalition. Among other things, this will mean an internal comms exercise that would test many of us in the industry. The second is winning the argument about the greatest public sector cuts ever undertaken by a government.

The third factor is most important: whether the coalition faces a credible opposition that can hold it to account. Miliband's shadow cabinet is made up of politicians who are used to winning.

The last few months may have offered little hope to Labour supporters, but the shadow cabinet will now be working every hour of every day to formulate a strategy and narrative for victory.

We have begun to see glimpses of it with Miliband's first address to conference as leader - 'We are the optimists now'. Expect more clarity from Labour in the coming months as it attempts to dictate the tone, and therefore the parameters, of future political discussions.

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