When inspiration fails, brute organisational force can still carry Labour over the line.
The PM's loose rhetoric handed Miliband a win as he challenged plans to make 550 Environment Agency Staff redundant.
Party sources tell the NS that they do not expect Labour to change its stance on a referendum before May 2015.
In the form of a commitment to reduce inequalities "in income, opportunity and power", Miliband has articulated the radical agenda he would pursue after 2015.
Rather than an approach defined by the centralised state or the untamed market, Miliband is committing to a progressive agenda defined by localism, transparency and accountability.
The Labour leader is, after much hesitation, ready to contemplate the problem of running public services in austere times.
Former cabinet ministers Peter Hain and John Healey argue that the party must make an explicit case for investment if it is to counter the Tories' attack lines before the election.
An increasing number of Labour MPs believe that the party must make an explicit case for borrowing to invest if it is to counter the Tories' attack line of choice.
The coalition made the Labour leader's point for him as it fielded an entirely male frontbench.
The Labour leader's plans for government can factor in the prospect of having Balls as his chancellor, but in a shrunken empire.