This wasn’t a relaunch. Thank goodness, because you’d never keep grumpy hacks waiting for over half an hour for a relaunch speech. Would you? The media already have already begun to take a dim view of the Labour leader, and that certainly won’t have helped the general “atmos” (a word that Ed seemed to invent at the end of the speech…). Nor does noting how many questions you’ve been asked, as if you’re unhappy with being questioned, rather than relishing it.
But enough about the media management, what about the speech itself?
Those who you who read my post this morning will know that I approached it with trepidation rather than enthusiasm. I still think that the most pressing issue for Ed is to unveil a keynote policy that defines him, and gives Labour people something to get excited about. On that score, Ed (unfortunately) didn’t provide any surprises. His adviser Stewart Wood quite rightly notes that there were policy pledges in Ed’s speech, but they aren’t going to knock anyone’s socks off or shift the debate. That still needs to be done. Quickly.
That slowly, slowly approach to policy making seemed to be reflected in Ed’s speech delivery. There were too many pauses and too little pace. The underlying tone of every single speech Ed guess should be that he is impatient for change. But this speech, apart from an improved and more pacey final two minutes, was a little bloodless. If this was Ed coming out fighting then it didn’t look like it, because it lacked passion. That’s something that Miliband has in spades but the public rarely sees.
This wasn’t a gamechanger, and whether it was meant to be that way we will never really know. There’s still work to do for Ed to steady the ship. He clearly has “the vision thing”, but enough with the clever phrases and rhetoric – he needs to show how he’d put that into action.
And not annoying the media unnecessarily would help too.