Tuesday, 2 October 2012

An idiot's guide to Ed Milliband's conference speech

I don't know about you but I find that analysing conference speeches can be a bit long-winded. So here's my idiots guide to Ed Milliband's conference speech in Manchester:

- I went to a comprehensive school, I'm normal - not like the Tories

- I understand why you ditched Labour - but the Tories and Lib Dems have let you down

- We're the new One Nation party

- Gove is ruining your children's future

- Cameron lied to you on the NHS

- I love my family, David and I are great mates

- Did I mention One Nation?

Clearly this speech was to launch Labour's One Nation land-grab of Disraeli's old mantra and, secondly, to help people 'get to know' Ed and improve his reputation among the fabled 'ordinary voters'.

In some ways the speech was frustrating as Labour have learnt from David Cameron's 'who needs policy in opposition'  success, meaning the quality of debate will be stifled until nearer the next election.

I don't blame Ed for this though, as he clearly wasn't reaching the 'squeezed middle' he talked about last year, and his more relaxed and less geeky style today certainly will have reassured many Labour members who were nervous they backed the wrong horse.

Out of all the above points there are two attacks Labour will need to focus on for the One Nation campaign: education and the NHS.

Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt, lampooned directly by Ed Milliband today, will now be painfully aware of the size of their target on their back as Ed Milliband becomes the hunter, rather than the lame duck leader he was painted as.

I bet Cameron will try and discredit One Nation as an old Tory idea in his speech  - and if he does, Ed has got him rattled.

It seems a win-win situation...but it's never that simple and Tony Blair was the master at nullifying the conference speeches of his rivals - Cameron will be looking to him just as Ed has looked to Disraeli.

Cross-dressing politics at its finest.

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