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That Ed Milliband Speech In Manchester

Councillor Joan Davies gives a Labour Party insider's view

Published on October 3rd 2012.

That Ed Milliband Speech In Manchester

THERE'S a mixed mood before the leader’s speech. The polls are alternately cheering and mildly depressing. There are still rumblings, particularly from outside the Party, that we should have chosen the other brother.  

Ending the day with a drink in a very lively Midland Hotel I find the mood has swung from previous nights. Relaxation replaces nervous expectation. 

Manchester is where Ed triumphed, just, only two years ago; sometimes it seems much longer. How will he cope? 

Already we’ve seen brief glimpses. Leaders tour the fringe meetings throughout conference and I’ve already seen him relaxed at Manc Night in Sam’s Chop House and sincere in a brief speech to the Arab Ambassadors, his communication much more assured and relaxed than when he spoke to 700 women two years ago in our Town Hall’s Great Hall. 

A knee problem grants me early admission to the hall and I watch the room fill up.   

Ed arrives to a brief standing ovation and begins, affectionate about Manchester, feeling older and hoping he’s wiser, and articulating an increasing pride in being Labour Leader.  

Quite quickly he relaxes. He’s much more natural, speaking strongly and without notes. There’s passion. 

His one nation theme is rooted in his experience. His parents came to England fleeing Nazi persecution of the Jews. “Britain has given my family everything”. His education at a London comprehensive brought him friends from a genuine cross-section of society. 

He talks of his faith, not a religious faith but values and beliefs that the religious would recognise. “I believe we have a duty to leave the world a better place than we found it. I believe we cannot shrug our shoulders at injustice, and just say that’s the way the world is. And I believe that we can overcome any odds if we come together as people." 

He cites examples of Britain as one nation: its defeat of fascism and defence of freedom, its post-war rebuilding of the nation and provision for all through the NHS and a welfare safety net, even our brilliant staging of and performance in both parts of London 2012 Olympics. This is Britain at its best, a Britain that can achieve great things and offer opportunities to all.

The one nation concept, runs like stream of steel through hour-long speech, with a nod to Disraeli’s 1872 speech in Manchester’s Free Trade Hall as the origin of the concept. 

Ed, like a good few successful politicians today, has attempted to humanise politics by the exchange of personal stories: not fictions but a factual account of the circumstances that made them who they are, formed their beliefs, convictions and actions.   

And it worked.  

All in the hall know his background, but the speech, delivered entirely without notes, is emotional, motivational and logical. Cleverly structured, the logic and the emotion interwoven. A comprehensive education ensures you know the 50% who don’t go to university as well as the 50% who do, and wish to harness and reward their contribution to the nation. 

For the three audiences watching, the Labour Party, the British voters and an international audience wondering about the make-up and mettle of the person who might just become Britain's next PM it seems to provide a narrative that can work.  

There’s no detail yet, that will build between now and the next election, but the speech gives a picture of the man, coherent, thoughtful, intelligent with hints of steel and a pinch of humility.  

Post-speech crowds build round the exhibition’s TVs to see external reactions. Shadow ministers are nabbed by journalists for quick interviews. The general mood, internal and external is positive.  Fairly favourable comparisons are made with Blair, the great communicator.  Ed is not expected to match those skills, but is judged by many to have come second. 

Nobody thinks the speech perfect of course.  There was little in the speech about detailed policies. Conference thrives anyway on fringe meetings and policy seminars. By the end of a day starting at 7.30 I’ve attended debates about parking, economic and business policy, youth unemployment and child poverty.  

Ending the day with a drink in a very lively Midland Hotel I find the mood has swung from previous nights.  

Relaxation replaces nervous expectation.  It’s not yet electoral confidence, but it is optimism.  

Joan Davies is a Labour Councillor for Manchester city centre ward.

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51 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Poster BoyOctober 3rd 2012.

...a vacuous speech directed entirely at the captive audience in the hall, desperate for a 'feelgood factor', from the most invisible leader of the Opposition in living memory. At times sounding like a parody of the middle class 'rapper' trying to big up his 'street' credentials. I'll bet Chuka was squirming in his seat.

'One Nation Labour'? Jesus; a statement of the bleedin' obvious that applies to each of the main parties.
He'll be invoking the spirit of Ted Heath next...

3 Responses: Reply To This...
the Whalley RangerOctober 3rd 2012.

most invisible? have you got the memory of a gold fish? IDS



Poster BoyOctober 4th 2012.

How far do you want to go back? He's more invisible than Duncan Smith, more invisible than Hague, more invisible than Douglas-Home.

He's a sacrifical bench-warmer. Out of his depth and with nothing to offer, apart from forlorn hope to his hopeless followers.

Open your eyes and mind, and get over it.

the Whalley RangerOctober 4th 2012.

Do not underestimate the determination of a quiet man...

hahahaha! You are IDS, aren't you posterboy?

DavidOctober 3rd 2012.

Is this what passes for objective political comment on Manchester Confidential.You have a Labour Councillor Joan Davies writing about his speech.What is she going to say that he is lacking in charisma,dull,plodding and that he is unfit to be Prime Minister?
The editor and owner of this website are a complete joke when it comes to political coverage.You are totally in the pocket of the Labour Party,the only Party who ever gets to be allowed to write on this website.Even Rupert Murdoch reflects more political balance than you do,and that is not saying much

6 Responses: Reply To This...
Poster BoyOctober 3rd 2012.

I understand there is an open invitation from ManCon to local politicians of any political persuasion to profer their opinion. It would appear that the Conservatives and LibDems are lying low.

In any event David, I think you would rather miss your opportunities to continue with your fundamentalist crusade...

DavidOctober 3rd 2012.

I am a douche bag

Jonathan SchofieldOctober 4th 2012.

Oh David, did you not see this line: 'Councillor Joan Davies gives a Labour Party insider's view'

AnonymousOctober 4th 2012.

David, if you don't like the content, move on and read the MEN... BYE BYE!

DavidOctober 4th 2012.

I see that it is Joan Davies writing Mr SCHOFIELD but what is the point you having her writing about her own leader.Dont you have one writer,one friend,who not a Labour supporter?.Even one who in the closet still about not being pro Labour.

DavidOctober 4th 2012.

Anonymous. There would be no point moving on to MEN,because if you had not noticed it is exactly the same,being owned by the Labour supporting Mirror Group.

AnonymousOctober 3rd 2012.

There are no Tories in Manchester and the soon-to-be extinct, LibDems are heading the same way... suck it up.

Rail franchise, anyone?

7 Responses: Reply To This...
DavidOctober 3rd 2012.

The majority of people in Manchester are not Labour voters.Just the majority of the pathetic number who bother to vote.
This city is run like one part state,there is a chronic lack of political opposition and a supplicant local media,hence the council does whatever it likes,since it does not have to really consider local people opinion,cause it knows it will remain in power no matter what it does.

DavidOctober 3rd 2012.

The editor of this website claims he cannot find one Tory,Lib Dem etc to write for him.Not one out of 2.5 million people in Greater Manchester.This is clearly nonsense.

DavidOctober 3rd 2012.

A biased media is wrong,And I would say the same if the positions were reversed and was biased against Labour.

AnonymousOctober 4th 2012.

There are plenty of Tories in Manchester during the day.

But a night they go home to Trafford, Cheshire and other pleasant places.

AnonymousOctober 4th 2012.

I'm Conservative and I live in Manchester.

Duke FameOctober 4th 2012.

The reason Labour do well in Manchester is that the appease to unemployed and lazy public sector. Nobody has to work too hard and they live on hand outs from the state, why wouldn;t they support Labour?

Ghostly TomOctober 4th 2012.

Time we had proportional representation so that the true make up of the city could be reflected. One party ruling the roost is bad for the city and profoundly undemocratic.

the Whalley RangerOctober 3rd 2012.

Andrew Neil was flabbergasted after the speech - he had nothing to criticise. That tells you how good it was.

6 Responses: Reply To This...
DavidOctober 4th 2012.

One Nation Labour that is just empty rhetoric.Ed Milliband was at the heart of the last Labour Government one that associated the interests of the City and London as being the main national interest.
He may choose to talk about coming from immigrant family and going to a comprehensive,but his background is just as upper middle class as Cameron,and just
as much a career politician since Oxbridge.

the Whalley RangerOctober 4th 2012.

I am not interested in what class section he comes from. I am not interested which school he went to.

Only in Britain will we see this a relevant topic in politics - this sort of thing is irrelevant in France Germany Holland Denmark Sweden et al.

What interests me is c o n t e n t.
Dissecting his speech briefly:

1- Banking regulation: he is right
2- Apprenticeships: he is right
3- we're all in this together nonsense: he is right
4- Tories raking up bigger debts than anyone before: he is right
5- NHS privatisation: he is wrong, as his predecessors facilitated one-sided PFI contracts that cripple us now.

4:1 is my verdict.

Duke FameOctober 4th 2012.

Oh Whalley you are a silly Billy.

The class crap from Milli put me off, I don;t care how posh he isn't, he looks stupid pretending to be from the hood when in reality he's posher than the majority anyway.

Let' slook at your points:
1- Banking regulation: He was in with hte hapless Brown, mumbling Balls and W... Whelan in cocking up banking so it's a bit rich to claim some great alternative.

2- Apprenticeships: he supports teh current governemnt.
3- we're all in this together nonsense: Yep, as is 'one nation'
4- Tories raking up bigger debts than anyone before: err, it was his fault. His party plan to create more debt
5- NHS privatisation: I think most people agree that the NHS needs to be more efficient and private provision is good.

the Whalley RangerOctober 4th 2012.

Duckster, did you buy your title online? ;-)

5- NHS privatisation is the death nail to what was a public service. I agree there should be a two tier system and those willing to pay for extras should pay, but the increasing privatisation glosses over the fact that even b a s i c provision will soon become unattainable for all. That is wrong.

4- this comment is not about what he would do. It is about the common misconseption that the current government are supposedly reducing expenditure. They are not. Read Stiglitz to understand economics.

3- one nation and we're all... are quite different ways of putting it. Don't you see the difference?

2- the current alternatives to an obvious move away from university qualifications (a good thing) do not in any way acknowledge the scale of the issue. More work needs to be done here.

1- banking regulation will happen. Investment gambling will be separated from retail. If the UK does not act soon, Europe will act for us.

Ghostly TomOctober 4th 2012.

labour plan to rack up even more debt which, along with greedy, avaricious bankers, was precisely the same policy that got us in this mess in the first place. Didn't he say something about changing the medicine and the doctor to solve the problem? Maybe he should listen to and take his own advice. More of what Labour did prior to 2008 is NOT what this country needs.

the Whalley RangerOctober 5th 2012.

Correct, what we need is a strong opposition that gets the biggest wooden spoon out to stir the u-turn pot.

DavidOctober 4th 2012.

Just to reiterate; Please from this moment forth will everyone ignore me? Every time I post, I request that you all ignore my vitriolic bullshit.

Seriously. Ignore the foam of crap that froths from my chops. The flow of faeces from my fingers. Don't even tell me that there's dribble down my face. I will get bored eventually and move on.

1 Response: Reply To This...
DavidOctober 4th 2012.

Writing as if you are someone else is a bit sad.You may be called David,I don't know.But you are pretending to be a different David.If you want to rubbish my views,just rebut them with your opinions.Dont resort to pretending to be me.

KakeOctober 4th 2012.

Crickey David's drinking whisky in the morning again. He's got all maudlin and confessional

AnonymousOctober 4th 2012.


AnonymousOctober 4th 2012.

Irrespective of which government we elect we need one that will get us out of recession. One that takes a wide global view as this is a global recession.Surely surley this is the one thing that affects everyone, irrespective of class, race, colour, creed, education or political alliance. To think we can progress with anything else before we sort out basic finances is ludicrous - we can't. And a government one that stops messing with education, instead of introdcuing more fancy schemens and qualifications, how about we try to ensure that all our children attain a basic level of English and Maths for starters? And a government that stops interfering in global warfare. We have enough problems on our doorstep to be dealing with than worrying about fighting in the deserts of Afghanistan - we are achieving nothing there, just running up debts and having the lives of the innocent destroyed. A reintroduciton of some basic common sense, old fashioned values and human decency would be welcome irrespetive of the party. History repeats itself, and we would do well to learn from our mistakes.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Duke FameOctober 4th 2012.

THat's pretty much the coalition agreement

Phil MurphyOctober 4th 2012.

"To think we can progress with anything else before we sort out basic finances is ludicrous - we can't" I find that an odd statement. Everything in my life continues to progress, nothing has stopped, become less of a concern or become absent due to the recession.
"A reintroduciton of some basic common sense, old fashioned values and human decency would be welcome irrespetive of the party" perhaps they could mail them out with council tax bills to avoid people having to take any responsibility what so ever, how convenient would that be?

1 Response: Reply To This...
erhmOctober 4th 2012.

perhaps a council tax bill for a two bed flat should be a quarter of a million quid mansion in Didsbury?

Duke FameOctober 4th 2012.

He managed to say very little in that time. He evel claimed credit for Seb Coe and Mo Farah - two people who stand for everything Labour are against

2 Responses: Reply To This...
erhmOctober 4th 2012.

which is what exactly? care to put some meat on the bones of your statement?

Duke FameOctober 4th 2012.

Working hard to achieve success

Duke FameOctober 4th 2012.

Both of them have worked hard to achieve and be the best at what they do and rewarded accordingly.

Labour are against this.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
the Whalley RangerOctober 4th 2012.

Ah yes, you are a school teacher who has been prevented by authority to teach his kids competitiveness. What a load of bollocks.

I recommend you join the local boot camp on Saturday 10am Alex Park. This and more is available in your socialist run city...

Duke FameOctober 9th 2012.

That's not the point I was making, I think we both know this.

Ghostly TomOctober 4th 2012.

He quoted the amount of poverty in the city giving the impression that we are a down at heel place. He hinted that it had all appeared in the last two years of course. Problem one would be what did he mean by Manchester? The core city which does have a fair amount of poverty like any big city in the country including London. But Greater Manchester is doing relatively well in these straightened times. No mention of that as it didn't fit his political point. And, of course, he didn't say how much of the poverty in the city was inherited from the previous government or how it had grown between 1997 and 2010. Doing that would have been politically embarassing.He must think we are stupid. And he is a political lightweight.

DavidOctober 4th 2012.

If He is truly one nation,maybe he would like to pledge equal investment in transport infrastructure in every region of Britain,rather than London getting the vast amount of it
National politicians never talk about our transport needs,about our airport,instead the agenda is set from London,and its all about expanding or not expanding Heathrow.

6 Responses: Reply To This...
the Whalley RangerOctober 4th 2012.

You have got your cronies mixed up - that's CallmeDave and Boris's agenda, and it's in full blown motion as you speak.

Ghostly TomOctober 5th 2012.

Boris is the mayor of London. It's his job to fight London's corner and he does it well often to the irritation of his political pals at Westminster. So no problem with the mayor of London doing his job. Greater Manchester needs a similar charasmatic figure to be mayor of Greater Manchester and fight our corner. No local person leaps to mind though.

the Whalley RangerOctober 5th 2012.

We had that chance. Remind me, did we take it?

DavidOctober 5th 2012.

No we did not have that chance Whalley Ranger,we were not offered that.We we offered a elected mayor purely for the city of Manchester,not an elected mayor for Greater Manchester.thats why nobody was interested.
Only a elected mayor for the whole of Greater Manchester would have the clout that Boris has as mayor of London.

AnonymousOctober 6th 2012.

There were also precisely zero new powers and responsibilities available to the new mayors unlike their London counterpart.

The whole thing was a sham and a cynical attempt to persuade the public that the coalition government is interested in localism.

In fact their actions speak of increased centralism with responsibilities in key areas such as skills, inward investment, schools and planning actually taken away from local government and transferred back to Westminster.

All in all, absolutely shocking and infuriating behaviour.

the Whalley RangerOctober 7th 2012.

Bang on anon. I might add:

1- subsidy of London transport only perpetuates high house prices in the capital, as it keeps the plebs out.
2- airport capacity talks are all about London, the estuary airport will only benefit London, as it is located on the periphery, just like London
3- HS rail, something that three countries on the continent have proven independently can be run in public ownership, is dead on the track. What its development would do is connect the centre with the periphery.

Absolutely shocking and infuriating indeed - do we have a representative who exposes this one-sided nonsense?

Paul SmithOctober 6th 2012.

Ed the close second great communicator to Tony Blaire who was perhaps a close second to Adolf Hitler another great communicator.

DavidOctober 6th 2012.

Why does he have to preten to be something he is not.To say he is not price lagged like Cameron,but he lives in a £2 million pound house,and earns £130,00 a year.Nothing wrong with that,but he is as far from being like the ordi sry voter as Cameron.
Sadly our leaders are becoming more rich and upper class.In previous generations the grammar school meant we had more leaders from a humble background.Thatcher was from a much more humble background than the likes of Blair and Cameron.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Ghostly TomOctober 10th 2012.

He likes to give the impression he went to a comprehensive school whichever won't have been some inner city sink one but one in an affluent suburb run more on the lines of a grammar school,for the middle classes. And he's not shouting about going to the same primary school as Boris. He likes to keep quiet about that. He's a closet posh boy.

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