Political parties are at their most basic level delivery vehicles for ideas - ideas about government, ideas about the relationship between individuals and society, ideas about the place of our nation in the world, ideas about the allocation of resources.
Underneath all the ideas floated by political parties are certain basic principles. For the Conservatives one such principle would be, for example, a belief in the general efficacy of the free market. Some hold to this more than others, of course.
The Labour Party's recent policy announcements leave me in absolutely no doubt about their basic principle: they think you are too stupid to manage your own life, so they want to do it for you. Unable to reconcile himself to the post-Thatcher era, unable to process the political impact of the blossoming economic recovery, unable to generate a coherent plan for government, Ed Miliband has knee-jerked to far-left authoritarianism. He wants to do what the left do best - tell us how to live our lives. It's shallow and patronising claptrap.
Take Labour's new 'cost-of-living contract'. This nasty little document promotes ten measures, each more interventionist and undeliverable than the last, that represent the sum total of Labour's current economic thinking. Ban this, expropriate that, mandate the other. Miliband will be setting our gas prices, negotiating our rental contracts and dictating employees' terms and conditions to companies of all sizes.
Zero-hours contracts are a case in point. Miliband wants to ban them. I've worked them before and I currently work with people who do. They can provide flexibility for both employer and employee, who typically will have several such contracts on the go at once. Equally, they can be frustrating and lead to unpredictable income levels. They work for some people and don't work for others - and people are capable of deciding whether such a contract is right for them. But Ed Miliband doesn't agree. He believes that people need the benefit of his experience when making such decisions. If there was one person I most certainly would not consult before I made a decision about my life, it would be Ed Miliband, Mr. Primrose Hill.
Then there are Labour's leaked plans for a crackdown on drinking, smoking and eating. This is where the left really come into their own. Not content with telling you what economic decisions to make, they also love to poke around in your private life and tell you what you can and cannot do for fun. This 'crackdown' would entail banning drinks companies from sports sponsorship - because we're clearly just gullible idiots who will automatically respond to colourful graphics - as well as minimum alcohol pricing - it doesn't work and will hurt only poor people who just want to enjoy a drink in peace - a ban on advertising 'unhealthy' food before 9pm - again, because we're mindless morons who will do anything television tells us to - and even banning supermarkets from displaying sweets at the counter.
The authoritarianism inherent in these policies is just staggering. Ed Miliband is seeking massive power over us. He wants to micro-manage our daily lives; everything from how much we pay for our rent to what sort of job we can take, even how we buy our Mars bars.
This man, who has never had a job outside politics, who from birth was imbued with an authoritarian socialism, this man presumes to tell us how to live our lives. If by some disaster Labour win the next general election, Ed Miliband's policies will result in government becoming the arbiter of our economic and private lives.
Ed Miliband, thanks for your concern but I don't want or need your input. I know what's best for me. My neighbours know what's best for them. We are not idiots so just stay the hell out of our lives.