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

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  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    #26 ... "The "tribal wars" were the Britons looking to unify Cymru"

    You need to look at the history of Wales without rose tinted spectacles’, the tribal leaders were looking towards their own interests, conquest was the watchword.

    The Assembly provides for itself .....

    The "excesses of London control" is an excess only in the eyes of politicians and their familiars.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.


    The "tribal wars" were the Britons looking to unify Cymru. Longshanks' vanity, ego-driven conquest was the English state aggressively setting upon the British nation, and it bankrupted them. A high price to pay!

    The National Assembly provides a degree of protection against the excesses of London control, and would be able to do more for Welsh interests if it was further empowered.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    ... wrong Cythraul, the aristo's of Wales were Welsh landowners, and the conquest was as brutal as the tribal wars before and after Edwards time.

    ... and the future with the separatist agenda would be no different to the regimes we live with today in 21st century Britain, definitely a "them and us arrangement", it always has been and always will be !

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    ... so true Boxer, I think they were called "the great and the good".

    ... nothing has changed in a thousand years, just the labels the aristocracy use, in Wales some might say it is "Assembly Member", in greater Britain it is either "Member of Parliament"or "Banker".

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.


    "Remind us, Cythraul, who governed Wales in 1530, what democratic bodies passed enlightened legislation, subtly improving the work of Hywel the Good."

    Er, that'll be the English. For their own benefit. Since the brutal conquest of 1282. Although it wasn't especially enlightened of course, and by then most of Hywel's laws were a memory.

    Had you forgotten?

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    #20 'we've had less than 12 years of limited, devolved government since the 1536 Laws in Wales Acts (of Annexation).'
    Ah, the golden age of Wales, interrupted by the Tudors.
    Remind us, Cythraul, who governed Wales in 1530, what democratic bodies passed enlightened legislation, subtly improving the work of Hywel the Good. No domestic clashes here, unlike the Wars of the Roses.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Yeah. One Nation for the wealthy and one nation for the poor people who have to rely on Food banks to survive. Then there is the one nation for those of us struggling to live each and every day. We will never be one Nation while these Magicians are in charge. Rhetoric. Mind you Carwyn looks very sceptical there amongst the spives behind him and to the side.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.


    All in good time Mr Tyler.

    After all, we've had less than 12 years of limited, devolved government since the 1536 Laws in Wales Acts (of Annexation). Rome wasn't built in a day.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Sionnyn 15:
    "We all know that to the metropolitan elite like Miliband, 'One Nation' means 'Greater England'".
    Sadly I don't even think this is the case, they mean "Greater London" The rest are just part of the fauna.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    ... for "new aristocracy" read "professional politicians".

    ... "Benefits - growing national confidence", the stuff of Lear's poetry, rarely seen on a dinner plate ...

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    The most disturbing development in British politics in the past 30 years has been the rise of professional politicians i.e. people with no other life experience and nothing to offer. Nowhere is this more evident than in the People's Republic of Carwyn where the WG is run by fourth rate and inward looking nonentities.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.


    Just over a quarter actually, by a margin of 6721 votes.

    Then by a slightly higher margin of 219,792 second time round.

    Benefits - growing national confidence. You can't easily quantify that, but you can feel it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    We all know that to the metropolitan elite like Miliband, 'One Nation' means 'Greater England'. They would deny this if challenged, but subconsciously, that is what they mean, as all their subsequent words and actions demonstrate..

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.


    It was a quarter that said yes, a quarter that said no, with the half indifferent to politics, ... there has been benefits to politicians and politics.

    Devolution - what benefit, what cost, you might like to quantify !

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.


    The Welsh Government is not an "aristocracy" - what contemptible rubbish!

    It's a democratically elected national administration that reflects the direct political choice of the People of Wales, something that should have been available a long time ago.

    If it's otherwise, why has Ed not openly called for the return to London, England rule?

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.


    It is not "One nation negotiating an independence referendum with another nation", not "One nation being sued by another nation in the Supreme Court for it's political choices", this is politics playing its games to gain an advantage.

    The "One Nation" is everyone else who pays the taxes that this new aristocracy uses with a certain aplomb .....

    The losers ... the little people ......

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.


    "Kinock was right".......was he?

    Yet the "People of Wales" had the temerity to vote otherwise, twice, to escape the direct rule of a Tory Government!!!

    Sorry Neil!

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    "One Nation".....

    One nation negotiating an independence referendum with another nation...
    One nation being sued by another nation in the Supreme Court for it's political choices...
    One nation evenly split between loyalty to another nation and another nation altogether!...

    It's some "nation" we inhabit Ed, isn't it? But "One"? Mmmm......

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    ... Kinock was right, devolution is divisive and brings few if any benefits to the little people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.


    Kninock, as you call him, bitterly opposed devolution to Wales.


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