the things that Milliband and the labour party are saying right now are entirely perdictable. They have neither the ability nor the desire to present the country with even a remotely left of centre, ethical alternative to the coalition.
Unfortunately, that's true.
A competent opposition would be challenging the government rather than blindly agreeing with it on many things that have so many holes in it. Take today's news for example, the Chancellor has dropped a serious hint that the next Parliament would see the Tories means test winter fuel allowance and bus passes. A competent opposition would challenge the government to show how much means testing would cost using past examples rather than academic wishful thinking, also show how the government would protect vulnerable old people who may have difficulty in completing any means testing forms along with a robust oversight body. I'd expect to see any means testing have an automatic presumption of benefit grant rather than withdrawal with withdrawal only authorised after definite proof of means test failure, this would be a significantly more expensive form of means testing with fewer withdrawals of benefit.
What would the means test be? Would it be the simple measure of higher tax band means no benefit? If so, that's not going to save a lot. Would it be income support level qualification? If so, then that level currently leads to fuel poverty now and removing fuel allowance from those who bring in just over it would be a brutal travesty given the current cost of winter heating. Would it be somewhere inbetween? If so, who makes the judgement and are there regional exceptions for differing local costs?
See how simple it is? Each one of those points would force the government to be far more careful about random soundbite policies and maybe even stop the worst excesses of idiot government policy. Yet I've seen absolutely nothing of that kind of coherent thought from the Labour shadow cabinet, never mind just Miliband.