Hit or Miss?: Ed Miliband enters Occupy London debate

Labouring the point: Ed Miliband weighed into the debate over the Occupy London protest this weekend, with a comment piece in The Observer.

Before Sunday, the Labour leader had not commented on the furore around the protesters camped outside St Paul's Cathedral. But he grabbed the front page of the paper by describing the anti-capitalist protests around the world as 'danger signals' that only the 'most reckless will ignore'.


It is always a risk to enter into an emotionally charged debate, and Ed entered this one fairly late in the day. While the article struck an appealing tone, reaching out to the squeezed middle, I'm not convinced that it generated positive wider coverage or contained anything approaching real substance.

It is debatable whether the middle class is behind the Occupy London protest - most will meet the article with the tentative response the protesters gave it. It builds on the conference themes that received a lukewarm reception in September, and smacks of bandwagoning, rather than setting the terms of the debate.

It is worth reflecting on a couple of the late Philip Gould's election-winning maxims: occupy the centre ground and convey a clear sense of direction. With this offering, Ed drifts and misses an opportunity to seize the initiative - MISS.

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