Ed Miliband’s cost of living crisis campaign has, so far, tended to focus more on those who are seriously struggling and turning to food banks or turning off their heating in cold weather. But today the Labour leader turns to the middle classes in a Telegraph op ed. His assessment is downbeat as you would expect: Miliband needs pessimism in order to succeed in 2015, while the Tories need an upbeat vision (but not, as most senior party figures accept, so upbeat an economy that voters think it safe to back Labour).
It is interesting that Miliband sees the middle class as a group worth bidding for: he clearly feels there has been a sufficient gap left by the other parties for Labour to sneak into. The implication being, of course, that Labour is not the welfare party, but the Tories are too preoccupied with the interests of the wealthy.
He also resurrects his 2011 ‘promise of Britain’ imagery to appeal to the aspirational voters he hopes are reading. That phrase isn’t quite as bad as Nick Clegg’s ‘Alarm Clock Britain’, but it’s making the same pitch.
But the most interesting thing about this pitch is that Miliband has chosen it as his opening gambit before a series of what are promised to be policy-rich speeches from the Labour leader and his colleagues over the next week or so. That Miliband wants to hook the interest of the middle classes before these policies emerge gives us some clue of what he’s got planned.