Where do Labour stand after 2012 conference?

 
Ed Miliband

There were no gaffes, no defeats, no leadership rows, and no embarrassing pictures with bananas. No one to my knowledge walked out of the conference hall in protest. The security guards did not expel an aged delegate on spurious terror grounds.

No member of the Shadow Cabinet had their resignation briefed out at 3am in the conference hotel bar. And the party leader did not fall into the surf in front of the world's cameras.

So Labour will probably leave Manchester with a sense of job well done. Yes, there were no policies too but that was deliberate. For them, we shall have to cross our legs and wait for another day.

Instead, the Labour faithful depart from the north west confident that they have not elected a dud as their party leader. This week Ed Miliband answered the doubts within his own party over whether he has what it takes to lead them back to power. Many feared they had chosen an unelectable intellectual as their leader. But he gave a good speech that showed he has grown into his role, the gawky stiffness replaced by a more relaxed style that he has thus far kept private.

One party member put it to me like this: in 2010 the idea of Prime Minister Miliband appeared impossible. Last year it was improbable. This week it is now possible. They hope that next year it will be probable and then certain in 2015. As I noted in a previous blog, Labour now believe that the geek is blessed and he may inherit the earth. The voters may still need some persuasion but the party members are now onside.

So, as Harriet Harman said as she plagiarised the words of my esteemed colleague Nick Robinson, game on!

But, as the party conference lingered on unfathomably for another two days after Mr Miliband's speech, one or two doubts have cropped up. The limits of the new One Nation tag line have emerged. This phrase will now become a fixture but it is still not entirely clear what it means in policy terms. The danger is that it becomes a meaningless catch all rather than an analytical framework that shapes what a future Labour government may or may not do.

At the end of this week, Ed Miliband is safe in his job, he has shown he can rise to the occasion, he has raised morale in his party and they leave with a spring in their step as they hum the Red Flag (most don't know the words these days) and make their way home. But what he has not done is set out what he really would do in office.

As a senior Conservative source joked: "It was an incredible feat of memory for Ed Miliband to spend over an hour standing up there speaking without notes or text. It was an even greater feat to spend over an hour up there saying absolutely nothing."

 
James Landale Article written by James Landale James Landale Deputy political editor

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 311.

    I find it very dispiriting that our society seems to place more value on a politicians personality and presentation skills than we do about the words they actually speak. David Cameron is very smooth in front of the camers but his body language tells you everything you need to know about him.He can't be trusted and his cronies are just as bad. Their eyes give them away. Give me Ed any day.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 310.

    Same old New Labour. Don't forget that this man is committed to a politcal brand that presided over inflation busting council tax and fuel duty rises; a falling number of social houses; declining wages and jobs density; a low tax free allowance (actually more generous for landlords than the working man); the introduction of tuition fees and a widening of the gap between state and private schools.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 309.

    291.MikeS
    Labour is for everyone with the possible exception of a few very greedy pigs who don't know when to lift their heads from the trough
    --
    This is a particularly intolerant & unpleasant comment.

    Greedy?

    How can anyone be so naive & rude?

    We would be considered poor, yet we know that the ONLY chance we have for a future for our kids is to never let Labour anywhere near the economy again.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 308.

    We are living in a dream world if this pre match changing room psyche up in Manchester will make any difference to the quality of players and captaincy we have in the Party.
    We can all believe we are super heros when we are telling our family and friends how gr8 we are but the reality these muppets we have leading the party will lead us to another defeat.
    Things would be different with David M!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 307.

    Enough of this 'Give us straight answers' nonsense.
    I can tell you, straight, what 2 + 2 equals.
    I can't tell you what I'm going to do tomorrow.
    I might cut the grass, but it might rain.
    We might have fish and chips for tea, but the queue at the chippie might be too long.
    I might buy a mobile phone, but the shop might have sold out.
    I might get up at 7, but I might not hear the alarm.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 306.

    'Game changer'? For goodness sake. Wasting two or three days in order to learn and parrot insincerely a speech devoid of all content and written by someone else changes nothing, and impresses nobody with half a brain. This is not Karaoke, or The X Factor.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 305.

    Any amount of blame the Conservatives try to pin on Labour pales against the crass incompetence and cronyism of the present Government. I dont thinkmthis country is silly enough to re elect DC and co.
    At least EM is passionate about his beliefs and has the integrity sadly lacking in the present administration.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 304.

    Labour, Conservatives, Lib dems, Makes no difference who is in power, we can't trust any of them after the expenses farce. If the ordinary man in the street had stolen a bottle of wine and was caught, offering to pay for it would not wash with the police, but these mealy mouthed greedy people, tried all they could to avoid persecution. and they talk about bankers being bad for the country.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 303.

    Yes, John 296 o.k, with hindsight (your own words) we might say that spending (necessary as it might have been) has turned out not to be helpful given what happened in 2008. But what about the other half of that mantra? 'Spend in a recession' With 'hindsight' we might conclude that Osborne got it wrong. Too deep may be stretching it as some on the right suspect but too soon - looking on the money.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 302.

    Perhaps someone should explain the "One Nation" concept.Mr Miliband sees Britain divided in a number of ways:The inequalities between north and south, the immensely Greedy and the rest of us, and the public & private sector.I would add to this list,the unbalanced concentration of wealth in London and it's adverse effects on the rest of the country.His idea is to correct these inbalances.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 301.

    Career politicians may be fine as back-bench representatives of their constituents but please keep them away from policy-making - leave that to professional engineers who have to sort out potentially lethal problems which don't respond to ideology and spin!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 300.

    yep they have as much chance of winning an election as elvis has of turning up for work on monday morning,carry on dreaming

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 299.

    'So Labour will probably leave Manchester with a sense of job well done.' -

    Obviously not taking into account those Labour supporters in Scotland currently scratching their heads after Lamont's speech and asking 'aren't these tory policies ?' Everything we have achieved under all governments in Scotland (Lab/Lib/SNP) she wants to get rid of. Is her plan to actually dissolve Holyrood ? Probably.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 298.

    As long as the party remains in hock to the unions through financial strings, the one nation tag is unlikely to sound convincing.

    If those strings were cut, he probably wouldn’t lose any votes and he might just gain some.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 297.

    I find it disgusting listening to the leader of the Party using his religion as a way of promoting himself, I dont think any other politician would have sunk this low! Who cares if he is Jewish!

    Is the reason he felt the need to do this is there is not much substance under the hood?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 296.

    #276IDB

    Labour ran a budget deficit during an asset boom whilst claiming to balance the current budget over the economic cycle (the Golden Rule) and borrow only to invest (the Sustainable Investment Rule)

    This is the charge against the last Labour Government. I've written it precisely; no exaggeration, no wild words, no personal insults to Labour politicians or Labour-supporting bloggers.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 295.

    Labour has lost a massive amount of REAL support - after they rode 'rough-shod' over the Electorate with their life-changing, massive immigration and NONE of these Labour MP's tried to stop - including Milliband. We will NEVER forgive that act...

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 294.

    #287“Tories too”

    Big Society was a policy theme, (albeit vacuous) to detract from the cuts program. It wasn’t a party rebrand though was it? It wasn’t as though the party decided to start believing in something different & came up with a catchy new name for itself. It was consistent with party ideology

    In fact most Tory MP’s still advocate Thatcherism, so your claim is weak at best

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 293.

    289 Tez. "the constant 'help' that Labour gets from OUR Media" - Of all the many pieces I have read here, this comment takes the biscuit! You must mean left-wing rags like The Times & Sunday Times, Telegraph & Sunday Telegraph, Financial Times, Express, Mail, Sun and Sky News!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 292.

    The Torys are looking at a leadership challenge but with only 14 MPs asking for the review, they will end up DC at the helm. I wish we could have some brave MPs challenge EM and then David Miliband would become PM, even though DC looks unchallengeable but with EM we have no one wanting to challenge someone who will lose us the election - COME ON !!

 

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