Ed Miliband's Fabian Society speech attacks the divisive effects of the conservative coalition's policies, but his One Nation responses are lightweight and ineffective.
The Labour leader must know that so-called one-nationism has never been a battle cry of his party.
Ever since Tory Benjamin Disraeli coined the phrase, it has been appropriated by Stanley Baldwin, Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, Ted Heath and Boris Johnson to encapsulate concepts of national unity and voluntary efforts to help the poor.
Needless to say, Tony Blair had no difficulty in hijacking the term for his administration that accelerated the gap between rich and poor through a freeze on direct taxation of the wealthy.
There is a sharp division in Britain between haves and have-nots, encouraged by the pro-rich policies of successive governments, and it will require specific government action to redress a gulf of Victorian-era dimensions.
Miliband's remarks about new Labour failure to do enough for ordinary people will be meaningless unless he moves beyond generalities about everyone doing our bit and pulling our weight.
With all due respect to the Labour leader's role in helping "somebody down the street" provide Christmas dinners for lone pensioners and the efforts of local communities to look out for others, charity and good works are not the solution.
Nor should a Labour government-in-waiting be damping down expectations by cautioning that there isn't a lot of money available.
Britain had much larger debts after the second world war but it pressed ahead with the establishment of the NHS, the welfare state and a council housebuilding campaign.
Does Miliband really expect to enthuse Labour activists and potential voters by the prospect of "Labour Party members going door to door offering people practical help to switch energy suppliers and cut their bills?"
Gas, electricity, water and rail are natural monopolies that should be publicly owned, operating economies of scale and holding down prices to consumers.
The Labour leader misses an open goal over housing too when he promises to deal with "rogue landlords" in the private sector.
Added protection and security of tenure for private tenants are good, but such is the market pressure that rents will continue going through the roof unless government action is taken.
The most significant action that Labour could take now is to pledge an all-out mobilisation to build hundreds of thousands of local authority homes for rent, which would meet housing need, put construction workers back into employment and weaken the grip of the land hoarders and property speculators.
Many commentators homed in on Miliband's reference to new Labour's failures over "high levels of migration," but he ignored the role that trade unions have traditionally played to prevent superexploitation of incoming workers forced to undercut the going rate.
One consequence of deregulation has been to reduce the role of unions and state agencies in defining and enforcing minimum industrial pay rates.
Yet, amazingly, Miliband's speech did not mention trade unions, which constitute the most consistent supporters of his party.
Unite leader Len McCluskey's clarion call for the people to "fight all the way to the next election" is an essential recognition of the need for resistance, but workers have to believe that better is a possibility.
If they fear that the sole alternative is Ed Balls's "austerity-lite" agenda, there will be no popular enthusiasm for change.
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.