Labour conference: what must Ed Miliband do?
- 26 September 2011
- From the section UK Politics
Much of the discussion at the Labour conference is around what the party needs to do in order to get back into power in 2015.
Here's a few of the delegates themselves giving their thoughts on the subject.
Vera Kelsey, Communication Workers Union
"We need to get some policies, it's as simple as that. They're not coming out with what they're going to do. It's all too wishy washy.
"In some respects Ed Miliband is backtracking too.
"Like on student fees, in the manifesto we weren't going to put them up at all, now we're talking about £6,000. OK, it's a bit better than £9,000, but not much better.
"I work with a guy for whom £5 is a lot of money. He's got a wife, a baby and a student loan to pay off. He's trying to rearrange his shifts to get an extra £5.
"I just don't think any politician, of any party, gets what that's like - they don't understand you can have a job but still be struggling like that.
"Labour have got to get some policies on the board because if they don't, at the next election, people either won't vote at all or they just won't be interested in voting for us.
"They'll say, 'Oh well, let's just stick with the lot we've got.'"
Denise Cooper, party member
"I've been a member for 32 years, since I was 15, so I've been through all the awful times in the 1980s.
"It doesn't feel like that now; it doesn't feel like everybody hates us.
"I think people had stopped hearing us, not least because of the infighting at the top, but they've started listening again now.
"I think we need to stay united. We mustn't repeat the mistakes of the past and end up divided. We need to continue to expose the government, and in time, but not immediately, start announcing policies that will really engage the voters."
Jake Cavanagh, Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians
"They've got to try and get the economy right. There's too many people on the dole and George Osborne seems to have cloth ears on about it - he's blinkered.
"Labour has the right ideas but they need to show a bit more push."
On the subject of Ed Miliband, Jake is cagey at first: "Hmm, I might not answer that." But then he changes his mind.
"Hopefully, he'll come good. He's done a bit on Murdoch and a few other things, but right now I think he's just trying to get his MPs in line.
"Maybe he's playing the 'give them the rope to hang themselves' game and planning to come in for the kill later on. I hope so.
"I am warming to him. He's spouted some good stuff, but he needs to put that into action."
David Menon and Margaret Pritchard, party members
"We need to show we're brave enough and strong enough to tackle the Islamaphobia that's out there," David says.
"Racism nowadays is not about being black or Asian, it's about being Muslim - and all because of the actions of a tiny minority. Ed Miliband has said there's no place for Islamaphobia in the Labour Party or in the Britain he wants to build. We need more of that from him.
"I'm also very, very pro-European and I want him to say that his vision for Britain has Europe at its heart."
In complete contrast, Margaret Pritchard says to her party colleague: "I'm completely different from you. I'm an old-fashioned socialist.
"Labour need to sort the hospitals and the schools out. Above all, they need to bring the state pension above the poverty line. We need back-to-basics socialism.
"Ed Miliband needs to pay attention to grey power. If he looks after us, we'll look after him. We're the ones who turn out and vote. We're the ones who'll knock on doors for him, stuff envelopes for him. We're completely neglected, just treated like we're a drain on society.
"I'm not a drain on anybody and I want him to listen to me and people like me."
David and Margaret are united in one thing - their opinion of the current government.
"I'm definitely optimistic for us," she says. "While we've got that shower of lunatics in making a mess of everything, of course I am.
"I want to see Nick Clegg given his redundancy. And that Danny Alexander, what does he know about running the economy? This city kicked out the Lib Dems, I wish the country would too."
David adds: "I've got some respect for some of the old-fashioned Lib Dems, but the right-wing ones, David Laws, Danny Alexander, they're just Tories in yellow clothing."
Bex Bailey, Young Labour
"We just need to really connect with people. I think we're doing a good job, I think Ed has good ideas, he's a good leader.
"I'm not saying things broke down, just, well... it's just a case of showing people that we are on their side. We need to show we're there for them at a time when the government is making their lives harder."