Miliband shows signs of winning the war of words for modern Britain

Ed Miliband's headline political messages have proved adept at analysing and encapsulating the issues facing Britain - and in a way that people can relate to.

Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband’s recent reference to noisy neighbours has proved uncannily prescient with new research from Which? showing that at least five million people are annoyed with their neighbour and more than ten million have had a neighbour related problem in the last year.

Which? confirmed that noise tops the list of neighbourly annoyances with around three in five people aggravated by loud voices, arguments, blaring music or TVs. Four in ten people’s sleep is affected, and one in five sufferers have seen their work or health affected.

This provides another example, and on the traditional Tory territory of law and order, that Miliband’s headline political messages have proved adept at analysing and encapsulating the issues facing Britain, and in a way that people can relate to.

The “squeezed middle” has gone from being a catchphrase to part of the political landscape; an accepted narrative backed up by evidence of economic and social trends. The “promise of Britain” has taken some criticism but, on principle, is a perfectly valid description of progressive aspiration.

Compare this to the Conservatives’ “Big Society”, which has become such a national joke even the Archbishop of Canterbury has criticised it, and the Liberal Democrats’ “Alarm Clock Britain”, a somewhat unoriginal catchphrase, that appears to have disappeared in Britain a lot faster than it took to arrive.

Even the Economist, while still critical of the Labour leader, admit that:

“Mr Miliband’s electoral strategy, which is to target the low-to-middle-income earners who accounted for most of the 5m votes Labour lost between 1997 and 2010, is smarter than many allow.”

With his latest performances Miliband appears to be matching sound political perception with the necessary emotional connection to break through a difficult media environment and get the message across.

The issue of noisy neighbours and anti-social behaviour was raised by Mr Miliband during his speech on responsibility in modern Britain on Monday. The Labour leader said then:

“It’s not about responsibility to the state, or the government, but responsibility to your neighbours, your friends and many others who you may never meet but who are affected by your actions…

“The throb of loud music, played by the neighbour in the small hours. The overgrown and litter-strewn front garden.”

Elaborating on some of Labour’s reasoning behind raising this issue, a Miliband insider told Left Foot Forward:

“People who act responsibly are getting increasingly hacked-off by the people who ruin their neighbourhoods with loud music late at night, chuck their rubbish all over the place, get involved in crime and bring down the area.

“Labour have been firm in saying that the Tory-led government plan to scrap interim ASBOs would mean someone who faced intimidation and anti-social behaviour would have to endure abuse or worse until the police or local authority obtained a full order or a crime was committed.

“And ASBOs then introducing Crime Prevention Injunctions is the wrong road to go down, because CPIs are not a strong deterrent and will lead to a higher breach rate. Offenders could breach a CPI numerous times and never receive a criminal record or a sentence in prison.”

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