Will Labour get behind its leader on the riots?

Will Labour get behind its leader on the riots?

Is trying to make excuses a dangerous strategy?

So far during riot week Ed Miliband has played a very straight bat and has been careful not to be seen to be making excuses for the arson, looting, mugging and now murder.

His rhetoric has been focussed on the need to restore public order combined with calls practical help and cash. As Michael White puts it in the Guardian his approach has been to treat it as if the rioting was a flood or earthquake.

I expect he’ll follow the same line in today’s emergency debate and will have to deflect Tory MPs calling on him to dissociate himself from the quite a large part of the Labour party in blaming spending cuts and social exclusion etc. etc.

My reading of the public mood is that the Miliband approach is right and to try to make excuses is hardly going to chime with voters.

But isn’t there a danger of Labour MPs going much further in trying to make this a political argument over the coalition’s deficit reduction plan? If they are smart Labour will follow the leader today – but I don’t think that will happen.

Cameron’s problem is surely going to be his insistence that cuts in the police will still take place which sounds crazy in the current situation. He’ll also be pressed to defer or even abandon the very big overhaul of the way the police operate with the planned introduction directly elected police commissioners.


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