Ed Miliband’s speech at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester today seemed to please many people. Twitter was ablaze with compliments and positive commentary. Tories in my timeline were surprisingly – and uncharacteristically – quiet. Usually they relish in pooh-poohing any/all views that aren’t shared by their number. But today there was no prattling about immigrants or the poor; no condemning the disabled to a life of isolation and almost no snide comments about Ed.
Except for one person – Fraser Nelson, The Boy From The Omen – who, after Ed spoke about how Cameron will be signing a 40 grand cheque for the country’s millionaires (including himself) with his tax cuts for the rich – wrote on Twitter “Okay, a lie: Miliband claims Cameron will be “writing a cheque” for £42,000 to each millionaire”. Since the fact of the matter is that this is almost exactly what’s happening, I suppose Fraser must have an issue with the literal accuracy of the wording of the comment.
And fair enough: It is very unlikely that David Cameron will personally sign a series of cheques, then pass them into the hands of the country’s millionaires. It’s all a bit more electronic than that. But if the strongest criticism this spectacular knob can come up with is a quibble about metaphor and semantics then I think Ed’s got little to worry about.
All in all, unfortunately, though the speech was a triumph which showed Ed to be much more eloquent and confident than previous speeches (and this one was an hour long, given without notes or an autocue) it’ll be the actions that follow that will ultimately decide if he can save this country from the godawful government we have now. I’ll be voting Labour at the next General Election, there was never really any doubt about that in my mind, and I hope they will do as they say: repeal the NHS Bill, sort the banks out and create what they are calling One Nation.
“One Nation”: that sounds a little like “All In This Together” or “Big Society” (or even “4th Sector”) and yes, I suppose the idea is similar. The difference is, we’re not all in this together – that much is evident. And Cameron’s Big Society seems to actually mean a bunch of jobless poor people doing all the menial work for free while the rich people sup swan’s blood from a golden teet. Labour seem genuinely determined to fix the divide between rich and poor, north and south, black and white, straight and gay. They seem to want to be the party that can represent all of Britain, not just the rich or poor.
Is this a good thing? Does this mean we’ll see Red Ed becoming more Purple (“because for red to go purple you need blue!” or something equally as childish)? I suppose we’ll see. Same applies to whether he was just talking the talk with no intention of walking the walk. I trust him. I see no reason, at this stage, not to. This is hardly a heavy political commentary on a monumental speech; it’s more a garble of opinions rushed together while my parents watch Emmerdale. But that’s the point! His speech was good. It was impressive. It’ll get him headlines…
…but we will all have to wait and see if he can deliver on his promises. What’s that? You hope he will but then all politicians are the same; untrustworthy weasels with no backbone? To you I say this: At the next General Election why not give Ed your vote? Give him a chance! You did it for Nick! Then if he breaks his promises we’ll know that you were right all along and that they are all just as bad as each other.
And if it’s proven that this is the case then I think Robin Ince’s tweet from last week offers the only option left to us: “whatever way you vote,a politician always gets in, which is why I believe the system should be replaced by a tombola with everyone’s name in.” Lets hope it never comes to this, eh?