In the mid-term of the Tory-LibDem Coalition whose austerity policies have failed to prevent the economy slipping into a double-dip recession, any Labour opposition leader should expect to be seen as an alternative Prime Minister.
Almost two years into the job, Ed Miliband's initial awkwardness has been replaced by an increasingly confident, and therefore more effective, performance in the House of Commons. Although his ability to make capital out of the Government's economic woes and succession of U-turns in speeches has bolstered his authority, it seems the public is largely unconvinced that Labour has a better economic strategy, despite widespread concern about the effect of continuing public sector cuts.
An opinion poll this weekend showed 55% had no faith in David Cameron and George Osborne to make the right decisions about the economy but 52% said they would not trust the Labour leader and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls.
It would seem from the latest poll that Mr Miliband has still not completely shaken off the damning criticism of his former policy adviser, Lord Glasman, that he lacked charisma, had no strategy and little energy. Although doing better than the other party leaders, all have negative net ratings. The Labour leader comes out best with minus 17 to Mr Cameron's minus 27 and Nick Clegg's minus 42 but being the least worst option is a long way from gaining public confidence.
It is a feather in Mr Miliband's cap to be invited to the Elysee Palace this week, ahead of the Prime Minister, but he must capitalise on the opportunity if he is to make the transition to a credible potential Prime Minister. The subject of their talks, youth unemployment across Europe, is a challenging one, especially in Spain where it is over 50% and Italy where it is 36%, but Mr Miliband cannot duck outlining some positive means to tackle this blight if he is to gain wider credibility as a statesman.
He will need it following yesterday's intervention by the former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Following an admission that the former Labour Government must accept some responsibility for the current state of the economy, his warning on the need to safeguard the vibrancy of the banks is a challenge not just to Mr Miliband's support for tougher regulation of financial services but of repositioning the party to the left. And with Mr Blair apparently keen to take a more active role in domestic politics, there will be some who would welcome a challenge to the leadership. Much will depend on Mr Miliband's party conference speech this autumn.
We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules, which are available here.
Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.