This morning’s Today programme had a definition of the squeezed middle from a shadow minister – in the fug of early morning I didn’t catch who it was, but needless to say he was one of Red Ed’s nearest and dearest. (Although not an actual blood relation.)
The last time the Squeezed Middle reared its head on Radio 4’s flagship morning news programme Ed Miliband found himself floundering for a definition. Now I’m no politician, but I know that if you are going to invent a new political bullseye to target, you should at least know what you are talking about. Ed’s efforts saw him define this new category of voters as pretty much everyone in the country – those earning over the national average wage as well as those earning less than the national average.
As an aim for a politician hoping to win the next election it shows ambition – “let’s get everyone to vote for us”. Unfortunately as a concept it lacked a certain amount of detail and Ed and his new old Labour colleagues seemed to go cold on the idea.
But it seems that it is about to make a resurgence – clearly this blog is largely responsible for the change in fortune in the Squeezed Middle concept. Literally tens of people a month are clicking on thesqueezedmiddleblog. Ed Balls and his team clearly know an opinion former when they see one and are not afraid of piggy backing on the wave of popularity already created by this blog.
Except I have been left slightly perturbed by today’s re-classification of The Squeezed Middle. I appears that under the new definition I might not be covered by the term – it now seems that The Squeezed Middle are those people who are having to struggle with inflation while their tight-fisted bosses refuse to hand over a pay rise.
Unfortunately for me and for this blog I was handed an increase just weeks after losing my job. The Job Seekers Allowance I am in receipt of was boosted by a couple of pounds in April. I now feel like a fraud.
However, having taken legal advice I am going to stick with this blog – whether anyone else does is a different matter. So until I am sued by Ed Miliband for flouting the terms and conditions of the Squeezed Middle I will continue to view myself as part of it. If nothing else, my decision to stick with the initial definition will teach Ed and his advisers an important lesson about clarity.