The two Ed’s in the Labour party have conceded the economic argument with the coalition government has been lost.
This was publicly acknowledged when the shadow chancellor Ed Balls said no future Labour government would reverse the spending cuts which have been announced (if not yet fully implemented) by the Conservative-led coalition government.
Labour party leader Miliband reinforced the point when he said public sector workers should expect and accept pay cuts in the coming years as the price of keeping their jobs.
These statements, embarrassing and difficult as they are for any Labour politician, are necessary realism about the state of the national economy after the economic collapse of 2007 and 2008. Even if it was in large part caused by the urgent need to bail out the parts of the bankrupt global financial industry that are based in the UK.
It may, in time, be possible for the Labour party to develop a consistent electable economic position again but it is going to take a while. Happily for them, the new coalition agreement on fixed-term parliaments means they have it. So, it is progress that Labour have agreed, finally, to restart the argument from the right place.
But before the 2015 election campaign Both Ed’s will also be rather occupied with the repeated complaints of some of their large institutional supporters in the Union movement. Their members will have to bear a large part of the burden of the severe austerity measures the government has unleashed (and will presumably continue to do) in the meantime.