Rip-off Britain - even the campaign slogan's a rip-off

After a few weeks in which not everything has gone according to plan, Ed Miliband will be delighted with The Daily Telegraph's coverage of his interview with the paper.

"Miliband war on 'rip-off Britain'" shows the Labour leader on the side of the consumer battling "predatory" companies that over-charge for services from bank charges to the cost of parking at railway stations.

He appears to be setting out a theme ahead of his chance to set the agenda at prime minister's questions at noon.

But, just as the best jokes are the old ones, rip-off Britain as a political battleground is not new. Older readers may recall the last Labour government going to war against "rip-off Britain" as long ago as 1999.

The then trade and industry secretary, Stephen Byers said: "We need to recognise that many people feel they are living in rip-off Britain - paying high prices for shoddy goods, with cheats being allowed to prosper and move with ease from one scam to another."

His junior minister, Kim Howells, joined in, even highlighting the relatively high price of soft drinks in pubs to re-inforce the point about rip-off Britain.

So what happened? Perhaps the campaign flopped; perhaps it was a great success, only for its achievements to unravel once Labour lost power.

Either way, the Miliband campaign left me with a sense of deja vu all over again - although that doesn't mean it won't be effective.

It just confirms how difficult it is to come up with genuinely new ideas in politics.

Re-branding is always an option for political parties - even changing their name. It worked - for a while - for New Labour.

But there are limits. I'm old enough to remember when Ieuan Wyn Jones persuaded Plaid Cymru to add "the party of Wales" to its official name to broaden its appeal among non-Welsh speakers.

My children are (almost) old enough to remember when Adam Price persuaded the party that the most effective way to market itself was simply as "Plaid". In isolation, it appeared to lack an exclamation mark and it lost a bit in translation - although the sonic logo that accompanied it was a novel idea.

So Plaid Cymru - the party of Wales/Plaid could now consider becoming the Welsh National Party, closer to its origins as Plaid Cenedlaethol Cymru.

Incorporating "national party" into its name may have worked for Plaid Cymru's sister party, the SNP, although it had less success elsewhere.