Obama adviser will help deliver a ‘radical’ Labour manifesto - Alexander

Douglas Alexander
Douglas Alexander
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LABOUR WILL present voters with a radical and credible manifesto with the help of a key advisor from President Barack Obama’s election team, the party’s election chief has claimed.

Douglas Alexander, who is overseeing the party’s preparations for 2015, hailed the recruitment of David Axelrod as a coup for the party.

Mr Axelrod, a longtime ally of the US President, is credited with playing a key role in strategies which encouraged significant levels of grassroots campaigning.

Mr Alexander said: “We believe that, given his track record, that he has a great deal to offer this campaign.

“He has been able to get middle class Americans to support a progressive political project, he is used to winning big majorities and he is used to discrediting negative personalised attacks.”

Labour’s focus on cost of living issues has come under scrutiny this week after figures showed average wages are now rising faster than the headline rate of inflation.

But Mr Alexander signalled Labour will remain focused on what leader Ed Miliband calls the “cost of living crisis” with Mr Axelrod’s support.

“He understands, as we do, the defining challenge of not just the economy but, we would argue of this generation of political leaders. In that sense some people have suggested that the argument about cost of living is somehow running out of steam, we actually believe this is a Government that is running out of time and that the ongoing cost of living crisis is both deeper and broader than many people have realised.”

Mr Alexander promised an election manifesto that would be both radical and credible.

“Given the challenges that we are facing as a country, we have to offer a manifesto printed in bold colours not just pastel shades. We have set out radical policies already, but we recognise as a generation that the real trade-off is not between being radical at the cost of being credible, or credible instead of being radical,” he said.

“What we recognise is that people will simply dismiss you if you are offering more of the same, but equally if they don’t trust you with the public finances then they are not going to vote for you.”

Mr Axelrod, who is being paid a six figure sum, will be supported by other veterans from the Obama for America campaign through his AKPD consultancy.

He said: “I’ve had several conversations with Ed Miliband over the course of the last year in which I have been struck by the power of his ideas, the strength of his vision and the focus he brings to solving the fundamental challenge facing Britain.

“He understands that a growing economy demands that you have to have broad prosperity. We can’t just have prosperity hoarded by a few where people at the top are getting wealthier and wealthier but people in the middle are getting squeezed.

“This is a problem not just for Britain but everywhere in advanced economies, including here in the US. Ed Miliband has a real vision of where we need to go to solve those problems.”