I thought both David Cameron and Ed Miliband spoke well in their statements to the Commons today. They both got the tone right, and had the right mix of rhetorical condemndation of the present and recent past, and analysis of what needs to be done for the future.
Ed Miliband rightly made the judgement that today was not the day for the leaders to go head to head and heart to heart, but he did signal some of the areas where policy differences will emerge as the immediate heat cools and a calmer debate begins.
I think there are several areas where Cameron is vulnerable. He was not convincing is his attempts to say that cuts in police numbers will not have an impact on crime. Today of all days was not the day to be so categoric about that, and he should have left the door open to a review of cuts in police numbers, because it will come, He was also too dismissive of the links between economic factors such as recession, and crime.
Also, we heard much of the broken society but little of the Big Society. I have pointed out before that there is a tendency for coalition policies to cannibalise themselves. So an economic policy largely focused on cuts eats into the resources charities and community groups need to deliver the Big Society, if by that we mean non-state bodies picking up the strain of the State. He rightly spoke of the need for early intervention when kids are going wrong, but services needed for that are being cut. Resources are an issue, and he was too adamant in the other direction.
I didn’t see the later statements and debate, but would be interested to hear if people were particularly impressed by backbenchers or points they heard.
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