Labour leader Ed Miliband today embarked on a word-bending tactic to win over Scottish independence voters today that is less “Better Together” and more “we're better than the Tories... honest”.
The shadow leader was in Blantyre, near Motherwell, campaigning on behalf of the union by pushing the message that change can come from voting out the Tories, rather than the whole of the UK.
Mindful of polls that show a spike in favour of independence when there is a suggestion the Tories could win again in 2015, Miliband stressed that come next general election Labour could be in charge, when things would be very different.
He started by saying Labour had “always been a movement for change”. Then it got a bit confusing about exactly what kind of change was allowed:
The choice in this referendum campaign is not about change with yes or more of the same with No. No. It is what kind of change you want. The change we need to build a fairer country with Labour, or the change of erecting a new border which is the only ambition of nationalists.
The change he was pushing, of course, was the change that will make him Prime Minister.
In which case, Miliband claimed he would freeze energy bills, raise the minimum wage, introduce a lower entry-level tax rate of 10p and raise the top rate to 50p, tax bankers' bonuses, abolish the bedroom tax “and put our young people back to work”. He rubbished the SNP's own election pledges and warned that an independent Scotland would face higher taxes.
At least at that point it was making sense. Then it veered into the mawkish:
Because if you care about social justice you care about the poor, the disabled, the vulnerable wherever they happen to live.
Before returning to the incomprehensible:
The choice for social justice is no, not yes. Let’s make that change happen together.
In summary, then: Labour is for change. But only a very specific form of change.
The Scottish referendum is on September 18.