Ed Milliband, Lib Dems and Coalition
The real problem with Ed Milliband's approach to Lib Dems is that it ignores those aspects of the coalition policy which are simply a rational approach to reality with him trying to pretend they are ideological.
There is no uncertainty about the underlying need to reduce the size of the structural deficit. This can easily be quantified and we now also have the Office of Budget Responsibility to look at this. We can monitor the interest rates on sovereign debt and it is very clear that the overall financial envelope of government policy is not something where there are real alternative options.
There is, additionally, a more ideological question as to the size of the state. This of often measured in terms of the proportion of the GDP which is spent by the state. After
the cuts the state will still be spending over 40% of GDP. Historically this is higher than the first two Blair governments. Hence ideologically from this aspect the proposal about the same (and possibly a bit more statist) than Blairism.
Hence the Labour position is transparently not based in a proper understanding of reality.
Labour almost bankrupted the country and the worst aspect of this is that they do not recognise that. Hence they cannot be trusted.
In Birmingham we face some real challenges maintaining public services in the context of reducing resources. It is possible, but not by attempting to hold back the tide of changes like King Cnut - a la Labour Party.
Labour wish that things were different. I wish that things were different, but at least I recognise that they are not and we have to get on and deal with the situation.