While Polly Toynbee may well be right to say the solidity of the policies taking shape is giving Labour a new spring in its step, she omits the fact that it is the moderation of the policies which has lost Labour so many voters, especially to Ukip, predicted in the latest Ashcroft poll to win two of Labours target seats (Labours got its spring back but what about the swing? 22 July). Goodwin and Fords research suggests the defectors to Ukip were not so worried by doubts about Labours fiscal rectitude as about policies resembling those of the Tories too much, and some members of the front bench being too close to the City (Revolt of the dispossessed, 10 March).
This apparent Catch-22 situation is not insoluble, as there is, in Toynbees words, room for manoeuvre; policies can be radicalised in some areas without additional cost, as in retaining RBS as a peoples bank, and a declaration of war on tax avoidance. In the struggle to win the swing voters trust, Ed Miliband could insist all Labour MPs and candidates make public their tax details prior to the election, so the electorate can be clear there is at least one party willing to be transparent on this important and ethical issue. Cameron failed to carry out his promise back in 2012 that the tax details of the leading lights of the cabinet would go public and completely avoided answering a question about it in last weeks PMQs. Could this be the silver bullet Labour seeks?