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 67.

    #62 'he soul destroying "immersion technique" (which punishes any child who dares to speak English'
    I know. Hang a board around the neck of any child that speaks English, and pass it on to the next culprit. At the end of the day, thrash the one with the board. You could call it 'The English Not' or possibly Knot.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    ... another Miliband, Ralf, wrote in 1969:

    "the dominant economic interests in capitalist society can normally count on the active good will and support of those in whose hands state power lies." (The State in Capitalist Society: The Analysis of the Western System of Power)

    Game, set and match to the establishment !

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    # 34. tredwyn ... "To say ... nothing has changed in 1000 years implies there's no difference between rule by force and rule by universal suffrage".

    ... at the end of the day, yours and my daily toil is determined by the decisions taken by a very few people, many unelected, our vote every 5 years or so makes absolutely no difference.

    Politicians know which side their bread is buttered ...

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    #57 'other nations that have incorporated "the global language" into their education systems e.g. Sweden has recently passed it's first language law.'
    Yes, but my googled articles tell me that the role of English is undefined: 3 Sami dialects (who knew ??) : Yes. English: No.
    Must have got ideas from WAG 'If we ignore it, it may go away.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    #60 is the bungalow in the Pembroke National Park, if so it might be a residency covenant designed to restrict holiday home sales under Section 157 of the Housing Act 1985.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    Now obvious that the compulsory teaching of the pointless Welsh language from just 3 years old, together with the soul destroying "immersion technique" (which punishes any child who dares to speak English, in all WM schools), is to blame for the state of education in Wales.

    Carwyn Jones should (in the words of a "certain" morning TV programme) "grow a pair" and scrap useless compulsory Welsh..

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    #57 'The significance of English as a global language of communication is widely accepted'
    Not on this site it isn't. It was reported this year that the WAG had sponsored Education at the 3y level through the medium of Welsh.
    I wonder how many graduate students will apply to study in Cardiff if told they will study through Welsh. Goodbye expensive links forged to Africa.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    The owner phoned us last week and asked if we had any relatives who had lived in Pembrokeshire for 3 years or more as that might "be a way around" us obtaining a purchase.

    My wife, politely declined his suggestion, and wished him good luck in the future.

    He said he was desperate to sell as they had bought a house in France, and wanted to move over there as soon as possible !

    Makes ya proud eh !

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.


    It's an encouraging example, certainly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    Example of Cythraul's idea of a perfect Wales ?

    We recently made inquiries about the purchase of a pleasant 3 bed/det bungalow in Tenby..All was well until the owner asked if we had lived in Pembrokshire for three years.

    When we answered no, he apologised and told us that there was some kind of covenant, and any buyers of that house had to have done so.

    Much to their cost they lost the sale !

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.


    Of course they do! The significance of English as a global language of communication is widely accepted, but don't for one moment think it lessens their attachment to their country's native language. It strengthens it, as it is in the case of other nations that have incorporated "the global language" into their education systems e.g. Sweden has recently passed it's first language law.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    #48 Con'd
    Finland is an interesting case for us all.
    Firstly, The right of minority groups to cherish their culture and language is protected by the constitution.
    BUT: English is studied by most pupils as a compulsory subject from 9 or 11 years of age.
    So, many Finns speak Finnish, Swedish, English, German & Russian !

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.


    Even (Revived) Cornish now has official recognition by government in London, England (thanks to the European Union), and a language board to encourage it's reintroduction into Cornish society.....the number of speakers is small, but on the up.....

    Such dedication, such love, such passion and pride, such quintessentially Bwitish virtues of heroism and stoicism! I feel a stiff lip coming on!

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    49 Ed didn't get a first in PPE either.
    50 What? I'm a socialist and I fill my boots at every opportunity. I won't knowingly screw the poor but if I can get a turn out of out-smarting other property-owners I'll do it in a flash. That's not hypocrisy. It's intelligence. We live in a capitalist world and the bone-headed muck-raking Daily Mail is the real hypocrite.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    Yes and a vibrant economy which produces enough to pay for itself, a viable mix of private and public sectors which provides for all.
    Unfortunately, the focus away from this, asides like language and costs put upon private sector organisations detract from such a goal and over governance kills it altogether

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.


    Yes, it's a real shame about the dark side of human nature, isn't it?

    What we need is a vociferous language pressure group to fight for our native tongue, and a Welsh Government of our own to legislate in it's favour so as to redress the balance. Plus of course Welsh-medium education from the earliest years...

    Oh, wait a minute!

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    #46 'Welsh has more than it's right to survive'
    I don't doubt that Cornish had a right to survive, as did the Dodo.
    Unfortunately, in this modern world, thermodynamics wins not compassion. If you leave ice crytals in a container, the bigger ones get bigger: the smaller ones get smaller.
    Same principle explains why Mr Gates' company got so big, even though no-one loves it

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    (2) The Daily Mail did an exposure on David Milliband in 2007,as he looked like a future leader and little Ed,barely got a mention,except he was part of a 3 way transfer of properties within the Milliband family,and all very nice and dandy for a capitalistic family,but SOCIALISTS would never use the privilege of wealth/legal acumen to fill their boots?. Read Observer for facts on COMP he attended.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    Our FM looks a little bit 'confused',but of course he did'nt get a FIRST in PPE at Oxford,so is alittle bit out of his depth when dealing with the ELITE. Red Ed who talks a good game about wealth/privilege,will have some explaining to do about WHERE he got his wealth to live in a MANSION in Hampstead. The further left you go in Labour,i.e Kinnocks have done well to say the least.HYPOCRISY

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    #45 'bilingual societies (the majority of Europeans).
    The problem is that the societies may be bilingual but the people may not be: see Belgium 'One Nation; divided under God' Two monoglot peoples linked together like two cats in a sack.
    Czechoslovakia, where two peoples spoke what were essentially dialects did not last.
    However, Finland seems to hang together, with Swedish the minority tongue.


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