Now the chattering classes feel a certain relief- they see the Coalition being forced into tough decisions, while Labour has the freedom to try to make itself popular. Indeed there is secret delight that they are back in the 1980s- with the Hated Tories leading cuts, while the Red Flag can be raised at student demos and protests grow with every cut that is announced.
Yet, despite the small lead that Ed Miliband has opened up in the opinion polls, the interview the Labour leader gave to BBC Radio's Today programme on Friday contained the seeds of Labour's future defeat.
Socialism is a dead ideology. Everywhere it has been tried, in whatever form, it has failed. It is wedded to a social model of massed society that no longer exists. This is why New Labour was so tentative about proclaiming itself a Socialist programme. The fact is that the more nebulous word "progressive" was both more inclusive and more accurate. The repudiation of state ownership that was implied by abolishing clause 4, opened up a more pragmatic, consensus building approach which was very successful electorally
Ed Miliband doesn't see it that way. His language is confused- he seeks to speak for "the poor", but when he understands that this is not enough to get elected, he waffles about who the poor actually are: apparently it is all, or at least 90%, of us.
This political confusion is simply naked opportunism: talking about joining students "in peaceful protest" against tuition fees is also pure hypocrisy, when you consider that he was a minister in the government that introduced them.
The solid policy proclamation that he has made is that "I am a Socialist". So he is guided by the demands of state ownership of the means of production? Well it appears that this is true only some of the time, the rest he is guided by the will of the people.
Err... this is not a programme for government, it is intellectual bankruptcy.
As for the left wingers who are queuing up to give the Liberal Democrats a good kicking- David Mitchell is only the latest- we will defend our record on its merits when the time comes. However, if all Labour has to offer in the anti-AV campaign are the tired old retreads like John Prescott and Margaret Beckett, then just maybe we might win the referendum after all. THAT would put the final nail into the political zombie of Socialism.
Under fair votes it is hard to see the uneasy informal coalition of the Labour party being any more stable than the well structured official coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Mr. Miliband may rue the day he wore his Socialist heart on his sleeve without understanding the abject failure of Socialist ideology.