Ed Miliband came to Ipswich yesterday.
He was interviewed on Look East.
Ed showed a sure grasp of the key issues facing people in the Town*
These included a low wage economy, a town centre in need of regeneration, and people working on zero hour contracts, as well as the health service and education.
The Labour leader has visibly grown in stature over the last few weeks.
He responded with clarity and modest determination.
It was impressive.
Miliband spoke to local paper, the Star,
..he said the key message he had heard from local people was that the economy had not got better for ordinary workers.
He said: “It may be better if you work in the City of London or you’re one of the highest-paid people in the country, but this idea that the wealth will trickle down is nonsense.
“The people working hard to try to improve their lives are not seeing any improvements, and it is time we changed things to ensure that any recovery is shared by everyone – not just the richest.”
David Ellesmere was present to welcome Labour’s Battle Bus.
David has also risen in – political – stature during the election campaign.
As leader of the Labour Group in Ipswich Borough Council he had headed a team dedicated to making things better for ordinary people.
Labour councillors have has introduced the Living Wage for all its employees – and contractors.
They have banned the use of ‘workfare’ by the Council.
The Borough has engaged in a programme of building council houses (although one project has been held up by Eric Pickles).
It has invested in land, in supporting schemes to help ordinary people (such as the Credit Union), and a range of community bodies.
More broadly Ipswich Council has backed progressive policies, such as an anti-racist march.
David appeared at the first public meeting of the Suffolk People’s Assembly (SPA), along with Owen Jones, and the Secretary of the Trades Council, Teresa MacKay and other trade unionists.
Campaigning locally for the Living Wage, Ipswich Labour, local community groups, and the SPA, have tried to extend this principle.
On Suffolk County Council, the Labour leader, Sandy Martin – who also works with the SPA – has attempted to get this administration to adopt the Living Wage. The Conservatories have blocked it.
Recently David came along to a SPA/UNITE protest against the sanctions regime for benefit claimants -a major cause of the rise of Food Banks.
Ipswich Labour, and David Ellesmere, have done a through, careful, job of making things better for ordinary people – just as Ed Miliband intends to do.
They have earned a lot of trust in the constituency.
By contrast Tory candidate Ben Gummer is looking increasingly rattled.
His efforts to claim credit for every thing positive that has happened to the town, up to and including the recent sunny weather (I made that one up – just…), are, people admit, at least pleasanter than his colleagues’ attempts to spread fear of a Labour doomsday.
Ben Gummer tries to show his liberal side, but has come down hard in favour of the sanctions regime, and other regressive Tory policies.
Many people are tried of free-market politicians who lay ownership of economic upturns (never downturns), while disclaiming government responsibility for the precarious existence a large number of working people, not to mention benefit claimants, have to live.
I have no insight into the voting intentions of the public.
But if Ipswich is anything to go by, the hard-graft of politicians like David and his colleagues, is beginning to pay off.
* population 133,400 – up to 200, 000 if you include the coterminous villages and small towns.