Stalin and Mao had five-year plans Ed Miliband has a ten-year plan. But nothing in the plan was off the radar. It was all so very predictable. No surprises much of it already flagged up.
In his own words the speech was his job application as chief executive of UK plc. His application based on a six point plan, but to ingratiate himself with those hiring him he wanted it known he was a team player. It was all about being “together.”
“Together” used 50 times during an uncomfortably long speech. We heard you Ed and got the point that the other candidate for the job was not a team player and that we’re “ on your own” as far as Cameron’s concerned.
In some ways, it was a speech aimed at his core supporters. All good social democratic rhetoric, about the power of government to help people and make a difference in their lives. Dennis Healy ‘to squeeze the rich until the pips squeak’ came to mind. In young Ed’s case it was those living in houses worth over £2million, hedge funds that didn’t pay tax and those nasty tobacco peddlers.
He was on the side of the workers who like the poor got the blame and little else where the rich got all the pleasure and the rewards. And whose fault? Miliband pointed the finger of blame at the Conservatives for this inequity.
In one of his best lines “David Cameron does not lie awake at night worrying about the United Kingdom. He lies awake thinking about the United Kingdom Independence Party”.
He acknowledged that there was a problem with England and its representation, but that was for another day. So it was kicked to the long grass of a “constitutional convention.”
If in doubt have a “convention.” And still keep the votes of Scottish and Welsh MPs to get your Commons majority and the keys to Number 10.
You can’t go wrong with a Labour audience if you are seen to be on the side of the NHS. It’s his hope that this will also weigh heavily with the country at large. There is certainly enough evidence that voters care a great deal about the NHS, too. Hence the promises of extra cash not from the ordinary taxpayer but from the rich. Gain and no pain, must be a winning combination, Ed.
But voters care about the economy also and there was little to convince on this. Perhaps he was hoping the other Ed, had done enough on this the previous day.
A speech who’s purpose was to drive home familiar themes rather than break new ground. Not quite his best performance but adequate enough. Enough to give him the job? On that the jury is still out.
He has to convince that he’s got a winning team because in his own right he’s far from convincing. Atlee had little charisma and yet formed Labour’s most successful government ever. So there is hope for Ed.