By Ray Fleming

Ed Miliband returned from his summer holiday yesterday and will presumably begin work on changes in his shadow Cabinet and on the Labour Party Conference at Brighton in the third week of September. Apparently he had a “phoneless” holiday and I hope he also had a newspaper- and TV-free time.

The media have been relentless in their efforts to push him into making strong policy statements; instead he has wisely kept relatively quiet at a time there is no need for him to be trying to match David Cameron's detemination to be Conservative spokesman on everything, however trivial, that is going on.

There are still eighteen months before the next election and therefore no need for Labour to invite prolonged criticism by putting its cards on the table before, say, early next year. Better to leave the airwaves and presses open for criticism of what is really a very incompetent coalition government led by a prime minister who seems unable to give a clear picture of his intentions on major issues. Meanwhile, Labour should be using the available time to get its creaking election machine in order. Insofar as the polls are important they continue to show Labour with at least a three point advantage over the Conservatives -- as it happens, just the margin that Labour needs to win a majority next time while the Conservatives need an eleven point lead.


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