Ed Miliband - An historic speech?

Benjamin Disraeli Disraeli promised to help working men - will Miliband do the same?

About 100 yards from where Ed Miliband will deliver his speech is one of the most significant sites in the history of politics in Britain.

The Labour leader will try to make that history come alive and to use it as his new rallying cry.

The site is Manchester's Free Trade Hall. Now the five-star Radisson hotel, it occupies the ground on which the Peterloo Massacre took place: a dozen campaigners for democratic rights were killed there and hundreds more injured in 1819.

It is the hall which saw the earliest campaigns against the protectionist Corn Laws (hence the name Free Trade Hall) as well as for women's suffrage. It is, though, another significant political moment which Mr Miliband will recall.

In 1872 a Tory leader, Benjamin Disraeli, spoke out in favour of helping "the condition of working men", of government intervention to do so and of taking action - controversial at the time - to heal the divide between rich and poor. His brand of Toryism became known as "One Nation".

I expect Mr Miliband to try to claim that mantle 140 years later (just, incidentally, as Tony Blair did when he was leader of the opposition).

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  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    All I can see here, sagamix (119), other than an amusingly deep discomfort with the subject of Miliband and his foolish fees pledge (which I have not the slightest intention of letting you forget about), is your regular tendency towards Humpty-Dumpty-ism: "When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean".

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    No122 Marcush,
    Have you noticed our 'spending plans' were an increase on the previous governments

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    Look at Labour MP Dan Jarvis's homepage. The man is fully on message....

    "One party, one nation, one leader"


    Cant help but feel that I've heard something very similar to that before... quite a while ago in fact... wasnt it the 1930's and that Austrian chappy with the toothbrush moustache?????

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    Well, on one thing I have to agree, under Ed Miliband, Britain is likely to make more miserable history, but we will do it together...Oh dear, sounds like lots of sacrifice, loss, desperation...Tell me, does any British economist, financial analyst, or even politician have a clue what to do under the current situation?

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    I am afraid Ed Milibands speech, although better than normal, wasn't that great! Telling us how he was going to do the right thing....One Nation etc etc! To be honest, nobody can deliver all these promises when they get into power, BUT Labour seem to mess up more than the Conservatives, as they just love to spend spend spend, money which isn't there!

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.


    what a donkey.... had the freeview box on BBC Parliament. Still dont withdraw the Guardian TV comment though... :-))

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    Oh look, BBC News Channel are broadcasting the conference live. The News channel, for gods sake. This is news? A non ending stream of uninspiring no mark Pilgrims, completely unable to public oratory unless its reading their preprepared soundbites off a sheet of A4 in stuttering Estuary English? This is not news, its special interest. Why not on BBC4?

    But, what with this being GuardianTV....

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.


    No, JR, there's a difference in this context of political debate. A difference I've explained to my complete satisfaction.

    Take Andy Burnham, for example. He's about to up the ante on the lexicon of promises. On reversing the Coalition's NHS butchering/privatisation he's going for something beyond even a pledge. A 'vow' is what he'll be making, I gather.

    How about that? Wow ... a vow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    114. jrperry
    I salute you in your chosen profession. Explains the spocking!
    In regard to pejorative approach to purveyors of tertiary education. Not me gov, not ever. Teaching is one the of professions I respect the most. (excludes purveyors of certain political teaching at certain institutions (The Young Britons' Foundation for example).

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.


    2a.A pledge to do.
    b. Something pledged, especially an engagement by contract involving financial obligation.


    Remind me, sagamix, why are you trying to assert that you can find a distinction between two words which are, essentially, synonyms?

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    JR 113

    Ok, probably it's best if we cease arguing about what exactly it is (policy commitment) or it isn't (pledge).

    Time will tell in any case.

    When they're in power again (2015 that's looking like) let's see if they actually do it.

    If it really is a pledge they certainly will (nobody wants to repeat the Clegg mistake).

    So if they don't that means it was only a policy commitment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    'Sorry, still not impressed by moribund. They picked the wrong brother.'
    Odd. DM would be open to the same mocking jibes as Ed. And then there was that awful banana photo.
    'Labour should go back to their previous strategy ...
    ... Keep their gobs shut ... Let the disaster which is being inflicted the tories win the next election for labour.'
    Odder. You saw this speech as policy heavy?

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    Not a lecturer, lefty (97) - research scientist working for an SME in the private sector. But your rather pejorative approach to purveyors of tertiary education - surprising, given your "official" Labour status and that they are one of you party's target groups - is noted.

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    sagamix 107. I'm very aware that you feel a compulsion to make a semantic distinction between a pledge and a commitment (poor choice of words by you - "aspiration" would have been better).

    But in this case, the weight of numbers of centre-left news sources calling Miliband's fee reduction a "pledge" confirms the point in my favour.

    Stupid though it may have been, pledge it definitely was.

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    #108. L11

    I guess if you are trying to grow as a party from a relatively small base, votes are your priority, not deals or coalitions.

    Myself, I don't really do tactical voting, lefty.
    One of the few principles I have left.
    And you may not need my help the way things are going.

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    #110 labour "are to blame for the lot of the idigenous poor"

    they brought in the min wage then never policed it.

    and then let literally millions in to do low paid work thus displacing the "indigenous poor" from the ladder of work.

    it that what you think of yr fellow UK residenence that r poor indigenous

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    jh @ 102

    He was rebutting the notion that immigrants are to blame for the lot of the indigenous poor. That's not 'viewing the issue through the prism of class'.

    Interestingly, I did once hear an interview with him where he pointed out that for the plumber a new migrant might mean a wage cut, whereas for the city lawyer it means a cheaper plumber.

    That was more what you're talking about.

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.


    John, according to you and to an even greater extent some of the more harpie like right of centre contributors, Labour needs to apologise for every single policy decision taken 1997-2010. No specifics, just scattergun, based on a position that they caused the financial meltdown. Now if that is Tory HQ calling then fine. From so-called free thinking posters - a bit dull.

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    105. Blame
    No particular gripe with the green party. Except the green party particularly target labour voters. Don't know why they are so keen for the Tories to remain in power? Which in effect is what that achieves. Anyway, any thoughts about going red blame and getting rid of this appalling coalition?

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    jrp 96

    Oh come on, JR, you're not a 4th former. It's not a pledge (which entails signing your name on placards and the like) it's merely a policy commitment. Surely you grasp the distinction.

    Policy commitments are what grown-up politicians do. They can be made and if necessary broken according to changing circumstances. No big deal.

    Not a partisan point, this. Applies to all the parties.


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