The reshuffle announced by Labour leader Ed Miliband offers much to ponder.
The fact that the leader of the opposition can mount a reshuffle at all is an interesting sign of his reinforced position, following a strong party conference and the firm stand he took at Westminster on Syria. Even earlier this year, it is doubtful whether he could have shuffled his desk without risking destabilising his own position.
The changes Mr Miliband has made are not timid. They invite criticism that it is a lurch to the left, with Blairites ousted and union-friendly back-benchers promoted. Such criticisms have been voiced, but do not hold much water. Union leaders, for instance, remain dissatisfied after Mr Miliband said he would cut financial ties with the unions. He has an intriguing problem. He has, arguably, a sound record of judging the public mood and is in tune with many of the voters' concerns. He has potentially popular policies, such as the energy price freeze announced at Labour's party conference.
Despite this, his personal poll ratings remain stubbornly low. It is increasingly hard for a party to win a General Election if its leader is not popular . Voters still find Mr Miliband hard to love.
Yet it is also difficult for an incumbent party to increase its vote in the teeth of an economic downturn. Liberal Democrat prospects remain bleak while the struggle has been intensified for the Tories due to the strength of UKIP as an alternative for the disaffected. Could Mr Miliband's reshuffle help him take more advantage by tapping into the public mood?
It is increasingly clear that he will portray any economic recovery as a recovery primarily for the wealthy and the prosperous south-east. There is evidence he is correct and his critique could resonate with voters. Mr Miliband has also correctly sensed a disenchantment among many with the economic system and the iniquities of globalisation.
Meanwhile there is the puzzling move for Jim Murphy, who many felt was doing a solid job as Shadow Defence Secretary, in command of his brief and admired by several of the forces associations. His move to the Department for International Development is a demotion. His past support for Ed Miliband's brother David may have been a factor, but would that lead to his downfall now? The Westminster rumour mill suggests the staunchly pro-Trident Mr Murphy may have been moved to open the possibility of a shift in policy against the nuclear replacement.
Again, if this is true, it could be a policy which finds a welcome from the electorate. In a climate of tough economic choices, Mr Miliband might well make the case for a cheaper system, saving some of the £20-34bn estimated replacement cost.
Will any of this help Mr Miliband win the 2015 General Election? It is a high-risk strategy.
There are clear winners, though, in that the electorate looks likely to have a clear ideological choice between significantly different visions, arguably for the first time since at least 1997.
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