Hold the middle ground and soon you'll hold the keys to Downing Street: that is the belief which lay at the heart of Tony Blair's successful bid for power.
David Cameron followed suit and now it is the guiding light in Ed Miliband's ongoing campaign to position himself as the next Prime Minister.
Occupying the centre ground means answering to several masters rather than being in hock to one, and for Mr Miliband that has meant seeking to distance himself publicly from the unions who helped get him elected two years ago.
In that respect, yesterday's criticism of Miliband by Len McCluskey of Unite was not unhelpful to the Labour leader. Hitting back, Mr Miliband reiterated that Labour would be "a party of the private sector as much as the public", words designed to reassure not just undecided voters, but many within Labour itself.
At the beginning of what is a very important week for him, the bigger headache for the Labour leader was his poll ratings. The Conservatives prepared a damaging spoiler to blight the start of Labour's conference week by commissioning a poll on Mr Miliband's popularity among Labour voters, which found that 65% felt his brother David would have been a better leader.
If that weren't damaging enough, even higher numbers thought Mr Miliband too weak to be a good leader.
Harriet Harman made an attempt of sorts to help by admitting that, two years into Mr Miliband's leadership, "a lot of people do not know who the leader of the Opposition is". What will worry Mr Miliband's team is that many of those who do know, don't appreciate what they see.
These numbers are hard for the Labour leader to brush off. While the party itself is faring moderately well at the polls, at 40%, five points ahead of the Conservatives, Mr Miliband's personal ratings are a stubborn problem which he knows only too well he must improve if he is ever to have a hope of leading Labour to victory. In an age of televised General Election leader debates, public perceptions of party leaders matter more than ever, for good or ill.
The Labour leader must up his game. His pronouncements on policy, such as a warning to banks to act faster to split their retail arms from their casino banking operations or face new laws to make them do it, and a claim he would reverse the cut in the top rate of tax if he were elected tomorrow, may appeal to his key audience, but they are uninspired. They seem all the more so by comparison with Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont's recent announcement of a review of hard-to-pay-for policies such as the council tax freeze, free prescriptions and tuition fees.
Mr Miliband has his sights on the next General Election, but has much to do if he is to convince those doubters both within his own party and outside that he deserves to be entrusted with the biggest job in the country.
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