I was just listening to a clip of Eddie Mair's interview with Ed Balls from Wednesday's PM on John Pienaar podcast this week.
Eddie asked Balls a simple enough question, which of Gordon Brown's policies did he disagree with. After much pausing, dithering and hesitating he finally tried to offer some nuance about the Iraq war but Mair pressed him on specific policy issues. Balls could not come up with any.
This underlines the problem with candidates such as Ed Balls and David Miliband who are so closely associated with the government that was recently turfed out of office and is essentially discredited by the electorate now. How can they set out a distinctive vision that responds to the fact that the electorate has rejected their recent government programme but that does not sound like they are repudiating policies that just two weeks ago they were campaigning for? So far all we seem to have heard is wishy washy stuff about "listening" to the voters. Were they not listening before then?
The candidates in this position need to find a better way of responding to these sorts of questions and quickly. Otherwise their proximity to the heart of the previous government will fast be exposed as a reason not to vote for them.