Ed Miliband shakes hands with supporters after a speech at Bloxwich Leisure Centre on May 19, 2014 in Walsall. Photograph: Getty Images
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Miliband to make 10 visits on final day of campaigning

Labour leader will travel across five regions to promote ten "cost-of-living" pledges.

After announcing more policy in the last few weeks than any other leader in recent memory (including a ban on exploitative zero-hours contracts, a cap on rent increases, a GP appointment guarantee and an increase in the minimum wage), Ed Miliband plans to spend the final day of campaigning making 10 visits around the country, each one highlighting one of Labour's 10 pledges from its "cost-of-living contract". His tour, across five regions, will start in London and end in his constituency of Doncaster North. 

He said: 

Tomorrow I will be going all round England - north and south, east and west - laying out Labour's ten pledges from our cost of living contract.

I will be urging people to vote Labour on Thursday because I know Britain can do better than this.

And it is Labour MEPs and Labour councillors who can help deliver.

We have shown in this campaign the difference we can make: on housing, on the NHS, on wages, on immigration, on all of the major issues the country faces.

If I have heard one message most of all in this campaign, it is the depths of discontent about the way the country is run.

The challenges go beyond this government. And people are asking whether any political party can turn it round?

Can anyone rebuild the link between a hard day's work and ordinary family finances?

That link that used to be the foundation of our country's prosperity.

That used to guarantee the people of this country a decent life for them and tier families.

My answer is that Labour can and Labour will.

People should vote Labour on Thursday to make Britain better than this.

Vote Labour to make your family better off.

It certainly sounds tiring, but then Miliband is the man who, as climate change secretary, went without sleep for more than 48 hours in order to secure a deal at the Copenhagen summit. 

The tour will, however, provide journalists with plenty of chances to trip him up over the cost of staple items and the names of Labour council leaders. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

How Jim Murphy's mistake cost Labour - and helped make Ruth Davidson

Scottish Labour's former leader's great mistake was to run away from Labour's Scottish referendum, not on it.

The strange revival of Conservative Scotland? Another poll from north of the border, this time from the Times and YouGov, shows the Tories experiencing a revival in Scotland, up to 28 per cent of the vote, enough to net seven extra seats from the SNP.

Adding to the Nationalists’ misery, according to the same poll, they would lose East Dunbartonshire to the Liberal Democrats, reducing their strength in the Commons to a still-formidable 47 seats.

It could be worse than the polls suggest, however. In the elections to the Scottish Parliament last year, parties which backed a No vote in the referendum did better in the first-past-the-post seats than the polls would have suggested – thanks to tactical voting by No voters, who backed whichever party had the best chance of beating the SNP.

The strategic insight of Ruth Davidson, the Conservative leader in Scotland, was to to recast her party as the loudest defender of the Union between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. She has absorbed large chunks of that vote from the Liberal Democrats and Labour, but, paradoxically, at the Holyrood elections at least, the “Unionist coalition” she assembled helped those parties even though it cost the vote share.

The big thing to watch is not just where the parties of the Union make gains, but where they successfully form strong second-places against whoever the strongest pro-Union party is.

Davidson’s popularity and eye for a good photo opportunity – which came first is an interesting question – mean that the natural benefactor in most places will likely be the Tories.

But it could have been very different. The first politician to hit successfully upon the “last defender of the Union” routine was Ian Murray, the last Labour MP in Scotland, who squeezed both the  Liberal Democrat and Conservative vote in his seat of Edinburgh South.

His then-leader in Scotland, Jim Murphy, had a different idea. He fought the election in 2015 to the SNP’s left, with the slogan of “Whether you’re Yes, or No, the Tories have got to go”.  There were a couple of problems with that approach, as one  former staffer put it: “Firstly, the SNP weren’t going to put the Tories in, and everyone knew it. Secondly, no-one but us wanted to move on [from the referendum]”.

Then again under different leadership, this time under Kezia Dugdale, Scottish Labour once again fought a campaign explicitly to the left of the SNP, promising to increase taxation to blunt cuts devolved from Westminster, and an agnostic position on the referendum. Dugdale said she’d be open to voting to leave the United Kingdom if Britain left the European Union. Senior Scottish Labour figures flirted with the idea that the party might be neutral in a forthcoming election. Once again, the party tried to move on – but no-one else wanted to move on.

How different things might be if instead of running away from their referendum campaign, Jim Murphy had run towards it in 2015. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.

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