Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman visits Ipswich today as part of Labour’s “blank sheet of paper” policy debate, to meet new members and to go canvassing for the local elections. This is surely the first of many shadow ministerial visits by senior Labour politicians as they see the Ipswich council elections as key to the strategy to win over southern constituencies as part of their fightback.
It will not be anywhere near as high profile as her last official visit to Ipswich, during the General Election, when Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, then the Tory hopeful, ambushed her to challenge Labour lies that the Tories would close Sure Start centres.
Ipswich Labour Party hope to retake Ipswich Borough council in May, and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Ed Balls is in charge of the campaign in the East of England. They will be running a campaign based on the Tory cuts at Suffolk County Council, deliberately trying to confuse the electorate since the Tory/Liberal Democrat coalition that runs Ipswich Borough have managed to cut the council tax by 1% without making huge service cuts.
Labour also hope that the public anger at the cuts will blind people to the economic disaster left behind by the last Labour government, which has meant drastic cuts are necessary. Finally, they hope the public will not notice that Labour’s own plans involved deeper cuts to local government than the current government, which would have resulted in worse cuts than we have now.