Game ON says Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband and Carwyn Jones Ed Miliband and Carwyn Jones

Game on. That was the message from the Labour leader Ed Miliband during his campaigning visit to Cardiff South and Penarth this afternoon. But he was looking beyond the likely byelection date of November and beyond the Police Commissioner election to take place on the same d

What came over from his speech to activists was that the two party conferences of the past fortnight - Labour and Conservative - have crystallised the political battleground between the two from now until the next general election in 2015.

Mr Miliband received plaudits and scepticism in roughly equal measure for his audacious appropriation of Disraeli's "One Nation" concept for his party during his conference speech. It's clear he sees those two words as a vital message for his party to get across.

His advisers have equally clearly picked out three words from David Cameron's conference speech yesterday - "sink or swim".

"It's now out there" he told activists gathered in the Splott community centre.

"This is argument. This is game on for the General Election.

"Yes, he wanted to talk about One Nation, yes, we have defined the battleground, who can deliver One Nation in this country.

"He says he can be the person who delivers One Nation. I want to submit to you that you can't be a One Nation Prime Minister if you're cutting taxes for millionaires."

So there it is. The dividing lines have been drawn, certainly as far as Mr Miliband is concerned. It's worth remarking in passing that neither concept - ON or SOS, if we can abbreviate them to that - is terribly clear, and both sides are reading what they want into them.

One Nation for Mr Miliband is a unifying concept, aimed at reassuring those who fear a lurch to the left and a return to the unions calling the shots. For the Tories, it's camouflage for exactly that, hiding a radical left agenda behind a distinctly conservative concept.

Time and again at the community centre, the Labour leader told his audience that Mr Cameron's idea of "sink or swim" betrayed the Tory leader's willingness to leave the vulnerable in the lurch in the pursuit of spending cuts.

The Prime Minister would surely disagree. For him yesterday's "sink or swim" was surely more a warning (somewhat counter intuitively perhaps) against conservatism, against political and economic solutions which failed to produce a more competitive Britain as a whole.

But ON and SOS are here to stay, whatever the public finally decides they mean.

Mr Miliband was facing a far from hostile audience this afternoon, but seemed relaxed and energised, spending just over an hour on a Q+A session.

There were some occasionally strange verbal constructions, for example the peculiarly legalistic and repeated "I want to submit to you..." when making an argument. It's not a turn of phrase you'll hear that often in a discussion in Splott.

But Mr Miliband was amongst friends - mostly. At least one pointed question came his way - namely when would Labour would get rid of the pay freeze for public sector workers?

He would not give any guarantees on thawing it even if Labour wins power in 2015, saying "I don't want to become Nick Clegg" referring the latter's failure to keep promises made before the 2010 election.

It was a reminder that for all the talk of One Nation, there will be multiple competing calls on the shrinking public finances whoever walks into Downing Street in 2015.

Betsan Powys Article written by Betsan Powys Betsan Powys Former political editor, Wales

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  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    I look back and think what has devolution brought us and the other home countries. Well fact is nothing, all it has done is line the pockets of the political elite. Lets face it nepotism rule, from Kninock through to our current politicans they all think of themselves only. And how much has this cost us well we will probably never know as billions have slipped through their mucky little fingers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    ... "pork barrel politics" has been the ruin of Britain, the illusion that some things in life are free, or that someone else will pay.

    The reality is "we are all in this together", unfortunately some of us are better off than so many others, this is where Ed Miliband could make a difference, he could create a stakeholder society ....

    .... good luck Ed Miliband !

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    #4 Yes.Labour Party are just as guilty as the Conservative Party for the ruin of our country over the past 50 years.

    Same policies, same money.
    Nation ..... de-nationalised.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    #1 Same party yeah? Try telling that to families in your town when the benefit cuts start to bite next year.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    "Game on" - God I hate it when politicians try to be use American buzz words to give the impression they are "down with the folks!" Ed the prat.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Look at that picture.
    Payroll vote.
    Our public money/devo money pays for this.
    Where are the electors ? Either working to pay bills in the economic ruins of our country or on the dole.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Miliband No Nation speech “You know there is no more important area of our common life than the United Kingdom itself” (speech 7300 words – words on Union 236). The nation is in ruins. Conservative and Labour one party just a different name.


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