Ed Miliband gets lost in Cardiff on Welsh Night
- 1 October 2012
- From the section Wales politics
Welsh Night at the Labour conference has previously been derided as "a sing-song, a booze-up and a raffle" (copyright Paul Flynn MP).
And yes all three elements were there as Welsh delegates gathered here in Manchester last night.
Ed Miliband and his wife Justine Thornton popped in, although they didn't stay for the sing-song - or the other two essential ingredients.
The Labour leader appeared relaxed and glad to be there: "What a pleasure to see so many friendly faces here." but then, with Wales the only part of the UK where Labour remains in power, if he can't relax in such company he really would have problems.
Some "friendly faces" had yet to arrive. "Peter Hain - is he here?" Mr Miliband asked before answering his own question: "No, he's having a nice time somewhere else." (The Neath MP arrived later).
At these occasions, it's traditional for Labour leaders to rally their troops for battles to come. Ed Miliband told delegates: "There is an election coming up in Cardiff North......" a declaration met with silence from the party faithful before the leader corrected himself: "Er, Cardiff South and Penarth. I got that wrong, didn't it?"
There was unstinting praise for the Welsh Labour leadership - "the brilliant First Minister Carwyn Jones", the "huge talent" Owen Smith - and Welsh Labour policies. Mr Miliband mentioned that in a pre-conference interview one Welsh journalist (er, that would be me) had "thought he would catch me out" by asking the Labour leader to name an area of life for which the Welsh government was responsible where Wales outperformed the rest of the UK.
More on that story later, as they say, but Mr Miliband chose to highlight Welsh Labour's "Jobs Growth Wales" scheme.
The Labour leader then shared with delegates "Ed's five easy steps" to win power. In summary, they are: stay united, take the fight to our opponents, make a difference (Jobs Growth Wales again), change the economy and learn from the Olympic spirit.
Then Mr Miliband was off to Scots Night in the room next door, allowing Welsh delegates to get on with the raffle.