It was recently reported that Ed Miliband, shadow secretary for climate change and net zero, gave a presentation to the Shadow Cabinet, only to receive the riposte from his boss, "I hate tree-huggers".

As Ed gazed forlornly at his Powerpoint slides, according to a Times source, Sir Keir added that he wasn’t interested in hope and change. His priorities lie, he apparently said, in creating sustainable new jobs to replace jobs in old sectors that were being lost. Well, it's good to hear he has a priority, at least.

Did the Labour leader really say he hates tree-huggers? It seems entirely un-Starmer-like to say anything so bold.

It seems more likely to be part of the ongoing briefing against Miliband that's been bubbling away for months from a lobby opposed to the party's promised - then part-rescinded - pledge to invest £28 billion in green transition.

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Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves, who had already rowed back on the immediacy of the £28bn pledge and replaced it with a promise to come up with the cash by the second half of a Labour government, rowed away further by saying the money would only appear "subject to our fiscal rules".

Miliband, apparently, is too much of an "eco-warrior" for some in the party. The Times reports a shadow cabinet minister as saying: "Ed will always try to toe the line by saying that the party’s priorities are jobs, bills, energy security and climate change in that order."

Are you ready for the kicker? "He can’t help himself, he is a hopey-changey kind of person."

What a sorry pass it's come to that "hopey-changey" is being set out as a poor position for a politician. Wouldn't you love a bit of hopey-changey?

Instead, Labour is clinging to tired old positions, tried old lack of ambition and tested old bigotry; bigotry against socio-economically disadvantaged people and a weird sort of anti-tree-hugger bigotry with which some quarters of the electorate meet all green policies.

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The people directly affected by the two-child cap feel it deeply and, polling shows, the public are in favour of scrapping it.

Anas Sarwar told The Scotsman newspaper that he believed it was a “sensible” and “grown-up” approach, citing a fear of a repeat of the disastrous Liz Truss mini-budget should Labour make too many fiscal promises too soon.

What a cover story for cowardice. As with a green economy, anti-poverty policies form part of economic growth - they are not an either/or situation.

The environment and lifting children out of poverty should be easy hitters. Labour has been using a strong line on green energy, linking it to robust defence. Environmentally positive policy intertwines with every possible hot issue; it's no tough sell.

And yet the party is wavering on this, on child poverty, on rent controls, on mortgage relief. This is a dangerous gamble by Labour.

It gives the appearance of a party so used now to defeat that it is already cushioning itself against loss ahead of the battle. Labour is leading in the polls, the Tories are in disarray, the SNP is facing significant challenges - even Labour in Scotland looks like a confident force.

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If Starmer is serious that the route to election success lies in Scotland then he might like to consider Scotland ahead of prioritising this attempt to appeal to wobbly Tory voters, and try to stop making his Scottish counterpart look toothless.

What I think people always miss about the so-called rape clause within the two-child benefit cap was that it was not, as the hostile immigration environment has been, designed with cruelty in mind.

I read it as an attempt at compassion. And when that is one side's idea of compassion, it should be an automatic, no-brainer for the opposition to take it to task.

Labour's fortunes are in the air - but is the party pinning its colours to the mast or being hoist by its own petard? There is not all that long until a General Election and Starmer needs to make absolutely clear what he stands for, who he prioritises.

Is he for hope and change? It's about time he showed it.