Ed must show that he’s impatient for change

10th January, 2012 1:00 pm

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.

Value our free and unique service?

LabourList has more readers than ever before - but we need your support. Our dedicated coverage of Labour's policies and personalities, internal debates, selections and elections relies on donations from our readers.

If you can support LabourList’s unique and free service then please click here.

To report anything from the comment section, please e-mail [email protected]
  • Johndclare

    I think we need to concentrate on what Ed said.  He has given three ideas on which Labour will base its policies: sharing the wealth, job-creation and tackling the vested interests.
    I fear people haven’t realised how brilliant these are.
    They are unanswerably fair and decent policies, and they are also achieveable within a framework of fiscal responsibility … even even economic stagnation.
    AT LAST we have as a Party now three principles which will resonate with the public, which everybody can understand, and on which we can now begin to take the battle to the Tories.
    (And have you not realised that Cameron’s recent ‘leftwards’ swing shows that he appreciates this a lot more than many Labour supporters.)
    This is GREAT, Ed, long-overdue and PLEASE let’s bang on and on about these three principles until they become branded into the public psyche.

    • Anonymous

      Then as a thick moron explain it to me…….

    • Anonymous

      Fiscal responsibility?

      Has Ed dumped Balls then?  

      Spend spend spend was the policy last time I heard Ed Balls.

      • Anonymous

        I can recommend:

         “Memo to Ed and Ed: Ignore the call to embrace austerity;”

        M. Hasan, New Statesman.

        “…The New-Labour, me-too approach on cuts
         is a political and economic dead end.”

        I think we are seeing evidence on that over time;
        also I heard a good discussion on “Start the week”
        with A.Marr, R4 yesterday, about Ireland starting
        roughly its 6th or 7th “austerity drive” but still being massively
        in debt with little prospect of growth.

        On the other hand, countries like Germany have kept
        their manufacturing industry alive, pumped resources
        into that and created jobs, has low unemployment,
        and successful economy with completely different approach.

        I’m no economist, but many experts have said this needs
        to be a mixed response, not just massively cutting back
        and depleting services- but creating intrinsic growth
        and thereby jobs, in a whole range of fields.

        I couldn’t care less who does that; there needs to be
        cross party consensus on the economy
        and all hands on deck I believe; a bit like
        a post war effort.


        • Anonymous

          Germany has benefited massively from the Euro in terms of currency value. If they still had the Mark it would be revalued substantially and this would make them less competitive etc.

          Also, it is Germany which is insisting that Greece, Portugal and Italy reduce their debt levels with some real cuts (not just reduced spending growth as per UK) and have effectively replaced the government of Greece and Italy without troubling those pesky voters.

          • tankus

            Also …the half a trillion CEB euro print run last month is eventually going to push inflation up right across the eurozone .
            The Greeks are probably going to be allowed to write down around 50% of their national debt , which means that the french banks will take about a €80bn hit  …the country will probably get downgraded after its banks .
            The Greeks run out of money in 3 weeks time , expect another bailout , but with socially severe pre requisites
            The Italians have to roll over nearly half a trillion euros in debt this year , now going to cost over 7% in interest on renewall.
            The bank of the German tax payer is rapidly going to hit boiling point and if Merkel doesn’t play hardball with France (even more austerity) she will be dumped by her coalition, and the country will move more politically to the right  …She will shaft france first …..

            Socialism (high borrow spend policies) will be made illegal within the eurozone after the march eurosumit , with massive fines for government’s not committed to austerity , or have its national government removed ..like Greece or Italy ….  

            there is an absolute monster coming down the tracks and none of our politicians here or abroad have any idea what to do other than print and delay  ….
            (not even bothered to mention the other PIIGS or even …us !)

            The euro is being held together by political vanity and fear , It has already past the point of economic  sustainability.

            ……there is no money left …..other than chop a few more trees down and print and watch inflation take the common man to the cleaners ……

            And ed wants to put us in the middle of it  ?

    • GuyM

      Cameron is just eating into the middle ground, knowing those to the right of him will continue to vote Tory.

      Much as Blair moved firmly into the middle ground and had those to the left of him chose betweenn not voting or supporting.

      It seems though that most of you in Labour have short memories that you forget that Blair tactic and now actually believe CAmeron is shifting leftwards in ideology.

      • Anonymous

        well as a person who is disabled I have always had a better deal under the Tories, DLA was given to use by Thatcher, she removed those  seriously bad three wheel disability Carriages and allowed us to pick cars. She always gave us a good solid rise in benefits unlike Blair  who forced benefits down with his 75p offer of pension and benefit leading to heating allowance to keep people happy.

        This year has seen the biggest rise in benefits since  Major, you could not make it when you hear Miliband state vote for me I will look after you.

    • Anonymous

      So the middle class rule, the rich will be OK under labour, if your over 75 labours the party for you, if your poor need a council house a get a job, if your sick or disabled get a job, ah yes Jobs, it will be difficult vote me back in and I will make you jobs, but I cannot say much in case the Tories pinch it.

      We have been here before it sounds and looks like the Tories after Thatcher.

      But Miliband speaks with a drone, he then picks up the glass and your waiting he puts it down looks at the script and carry on, you can count how many seconds before he looks back at his written script then picks up the water.

      Sorry and I will say it again Miliband is not a leader to take labour back to power.

      • derek

        treborc, In all honesty, I think he is referring to the JSA  seekers, I’m pretty sure Ed didn’t refer once to forcing the disabled into work. remember when you care for the elderly, you also commit to the sick and infirm.

        • Anonymous

          My father at seventy ran nine miles a day, my great grandfather worked until he was 88, you cannot equate age to the infirm or sickness.

          But labour is now a middle class middle of the road party, which will find it very hard to get people to see it as anything else but the party of the banking crises.

          • derek

            Sorry treborc, I was trying to relate illness to any age.

          • Anonymous

            Yes sadly labour has not been relating to very much over the last thirteen years in power and fourteen months out of power they have been more related  to the Tories. That’s the problem Labour has been slammed it lost Scotland for a reason, it nearly lost Wales for a reason, if it does not get back on track soon Thatchers period out of power will look like a blip.

            But of course when your ill being told your a work shy Scroungers not something you need

    • girlguide

      I’m interested to know exactly what his policy is on job creation.  Did he outline exactly how he will go about creating  jobs?  The public aren’t stupid.  Anyone can get a soap box, stand on it, and say `we need to aim for job creation’.  Until they say precisely how they will achieve that aim, they won’t be taken seriously.

      • derek

        Did you miss the 5 point plan? Osborne did and having all the advice he needed he still went ahead with his reckless plan “A”  

        • GuyM

          As Ed Balls can’t explain the 5 point plan in terms of full cost, how it’s funded and what effect Labour analysis predicts it will have, maybe you can?

          UK business has stated very clearly it wants one thing above all others… low interest rates.

  • Anonymous

    I think Ed is doing a great job. Just because he has no idea what to do,, you should not criticise him.  I hope he is in position until 2015.. the Country needs him there.

  • derek

    Sorry @Mark I tend to think it was a clinical speech, hitting the proper tone and an honest approach to the economic argument, with all the foundations of labour being the party of fairness, creating jobs and the living wage are paramount to growth, asking business to be more equally aware is  taken the fight to where it’s at. I saw a different Ed today, I saw the Ed who took gripe of that leadership election, for me it’s game on.

  • Pourmia

    As usual you are more focused on image as opposed to the message (substance). What the party will do for the public is what I and many are interested in and it would be nice if those who supposedly write for the benefit of the public, would come to realise this.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe part of the problem is relying on the speeches as “defining” alone, Mark?

    I think there are limitations.

    But I agree things have to be developed much further this year,
    and far more of an open inclusive process.

    I think it would really help though not to have so much media hostility constantly on his back though; it might produce “kneejerk” reactions and too much pressure going in the wrong direction? Also- hostility and an agenda from one section of the party that appear to want to dictate to the rest?

    It must have been very interesting being present though Mark and seeing first hand;
    I can only observe from my recollections seeing Ed directly at a speech and Q+A with the public last year- and I thought had very much the right ideas to go forward with, and a great rapport with people and understanding of the public issues.

    The frustrating thing seems to be getting this across and articulating clearly perhaps;
    but also a real lack of clarity on policy areas?

    Maybe it would help to inform us all of timeteable of rolling out announcements as time goes on.

    Hope to return later also and hear other views.

    Thanks again, Jo.

    • derek

      I going to disagree there @Jo, I think he batted every news correspondent for six today. I think it the sky news guy who asked at least 3 questions and got hit for six three times. Policy? Living Wage, tariff regulation, Jobs, wealth creation, company directors held to account and knocking 3 thousand off the tuition fees, would you refuse those? and stick with the present lot? sorry @Jo but Ed moved up a gear and their plenty more where that came from.  

      • Anonymous

        Sorry the question about Cameron wanting  him to stay in power, was of course a Tory question, and he failed he should have had a real good put down ready, but he did not and he was flustered.

        • derek

          For sure treborc, it’s been a slow burn and frustrating at times but there are things in that speech today we can all agree on going forward with.

          • Anonymous

            Yes when he said good bye, thank you.

            Look I would love to see labour back in power, but sadly telling the people we are not New labour but  keeping the idealism of New labour is not going to work.

            Labour is in massive trouble people do not see labour as a party which you can count on, it stated to day yes we got banking wrong, nice of him, but you also got housing wrong Immigration wrong, pension wrong,  labour was in power for thirteen years not one term

          • derek

            Yep! I can understand that, I think we all were seriously let down by new labour.

          • Anonymous

            Likewise Derek (above;)

            What do you think would be the immediate
            priority for the party to address at this stage
            of reform? 

            I’ve read it many times on the party pamphlets that members are the “lifeblood”for its functioning; also now opening out to wider “supporters?”


          • Anonymous

            I agree it’s likely to be a long haul Robert; so many issues to sort out and much less funding?

            That’s why I think they would be wise to draw upon the grassroots of the party and open up much more to become more of a democratic movement rather than top down partisan party.There seems to be a wealth of ideas and experience out there, judging by what’s been written on LL and elsewhere.

          • Anonymous

            My Grass roots has written to Miliband to state unless the party remembers the people at the bottom, then sadly  labour will die.

            The reason we have six people who go to meeting and a 100 who have not paid up their membership fees, which means they cannot vote, what it actually means 100 people have left the part.

            This from a local party that once had over 500 members.

          • Anonymous

            Gosh, Robert, that is very sad to hear.

            I agree very significant, and must be heard. I wonder how that situation compares with other local parties up and down the UK?
            Certainly, compared to Scotland- the picture seems to be one of feeling let down
            and possibly alienated over the years?

            It’s party activists like you, Mike H, Peter B, Ian R and Derek who should have some major input for future plans I think.

            How do you think people could get involved or have more impact, eg on policy direction?

            Cheers, Jo 

      • Anonymous

        Hi Derek my main comments have always remained supportive of Ed M,
        although I do think important to be honest also about how we think things are going and what could be improved?

        I wish I could have seen the event to make observations.
        But really glad to hear he nailed them!
        He does know his stuff in my view, but I agree with Mark and others
        he has to go much further and put into practice.

        But on the ideas front- I totally agree with you, and that was the impression
        I got on the one occasion saw him make a speech and interact with about 2000
        people; the response was excellent, and he has an amazing ability
        to store up questions and issues and answer each in detail and with great thought
        and humour.

        I feel extremely uncomfortable with the nature of the flack he has received
        via one group in the party, and possibly allies in the media- it has been so personalized.

        As has been said on LL where does constructive criticism start and end,
        and how can things move forward that bring all of us on board?

        Really glad to hear such a positive view Derek; I look forward to seeing that coverage if I can find it. Might turn to C4 News and Newsnight later.

        I know it’s easy to be cynical, including me- but I don’t think it helps;
        it just battens down the hatches even more.

        On an upbeat note Derek- I think Ed M performs much better under pressure,
        but like anyone relatively new to role also needs support and unity from
        team working I think.

        Gosh- I bet he’s so fed up hearing feedback from so many quarters!!!

        Let’s hope he retains his sense of humour….


  • Ed is thinking ahead. Cameron’s problem is that he isn’t even aware of the difficulties that are pressing in on him. His response to the banker’s recession has been woefully inadequate, hence high unemployment, flatline growth and the need for more borrowing. 
    Cameron’s inability to grasp the causes of the present predicament prevents him from realising why his own policies are failing.His befuddlement becomes more obvious just as his behaviour becomes increasingly erratic – hence his hysterical response to Ed Ball’s gestures in the House and the totally over-the-top presentation of the euro (non) veto as a ‘success’.

    • GuyM

      Oh look it’s the man from a different dimension….. how are thing in a world where people believe the crap you write?

      “Cameron’s befuddlement” – strawman?

      “response to banker’s recession” – strawman?

      I think only you and a few school drop outs at 16 who can barely add up think the two Ed’s know f all about the economy.

      Who was it who was most to blame for lax financial regulation under Labour? That would be your shadow chancellor then would it?

      • Anonymous

        Guy, I thought you’d got fed up with too many comments today?

        I don’t undertstand why you feel the need to be so insulting to other posters
        when they are simply expressing a viewpoint, just like yourself.

        Is it not possible to disagree with points without hurling insults
        in such a personal fashion?

        It hardly opens up debate- just closes it down and makes people angry
        and fed up.

        This is meant to be a community forum, not a slanging match.

        • GuyM

          Jo, read some of Dave Stone’s comments at me over hte last week or so before diving in on one side once more.

          As I’ve said before either you play even handed with your calls for politeness else there’s no point you bothering.

          As for your first lie, you mistook my point on another thread. I meant I had no time or interest in life for talking to the sorts of people you had recommended. Nothing personal but I don’t have any working class people as friends (nor never had), or ever had a Union member as a colleague or friend and I’m happy to keep it that way.

          • GuyM

            Meant “your first LINE”, not “lie”… apologies for the typo

  • GuyM

    Relaunch number 7 coming up some time around the May elections i’d imagine.

    If anyone saw Tristam Hunt’s dire performance on the Daily Politics today they know Labour has no policy and no clue on the economy.

    As has been said on LL, all Labour has is a blank sheet of paper and a few soundbites. Not good enough.

    • derek

      LoL Guy, look at the economy under Cameron, Jeez! he fell out with Europe so he’s now picking a fight with the Scots, who next? Iran?

      • GuyM

        You mean he didn’t give away UK rights in Europe for nothing…. something he was correct on.

        And you mean he expects Scotland to get on with the vote, not dance an SNP tune, as well as use someone like the electoral Commission to decide on the referendum question and not leave it to the SNP to manipulate? Sounds correct and Labour seem to agree.

        As for Iran, someone will bomb them this year I’d imagine.

      • You can be sure that Cameron’s ‘diplomacy’ will gift the SNP the vote they want. 

        And as was reported in the Economist, at the E.U. Cameron didn’t even achieve the safeguards for the City of London that had been the aim. Meanwhile the Institute of Directors survey (22-12-2011) showed that the majority considered Cameron’s E.U. fiasco to be against the U.K.s interest.

        And in the U.K. unemployment rises, borrowing rises and growth flatlines.

        You have to hand it to Cameron, he’s establishing a very strong record for failure.

        • GuyM

          You really do need to read up on things a little before comng out with silly analysis.

          The legal advice as i understand it is that the SNP can not hold a binding referendum as constitutional matters are in Westminster’s power.

          If Salmond tries to hold one it is almost certain an individual will take him to court.

          Therefore the Uk government has to pass control temporarily over to the Scottish Parliament, that of course will part of a negotiation.

          Salmond is trying to “cook the books” by picking 2014 for the vote.

          I do find it funny though that you eternally berate the PM for not rolling over and playing dead in any negotiation. Tell me, would you really say “what a cracking job Cameron did2 if he’d signed up to the EU treaty having got no concessions? Or if he gave Salmond a completely free hand?

          Anyway, the sooner Scotland leave the Union the better. They don’t get auto EU membership and England keeps the Maastricht opt-outs and the UN security council place etc.

          • Cameron’s blundering intervention set an astonishing new low, even by the dismal standard now expected of him.

            Who would have thought that a Conservative P.M. whose party can only boast of one Westminster MP from north of the border, would pick an unnecessary fight with a party that has the sort of mandate the Conservatives can only dream of.

            This sort of arrogance might play well in the common rooms of Eton but in the real world it looks like ham-fisted idiocy.

            If Cameron pulls any more stunts like this the momentum for independence will become unstoppable. The result will be the exact opposite to the one Cameron wants.
            The SNP will be home and dry, all thanks to Cameron.

          • GuyM

            Again… you do need to read up a little bit.

            Constitutiol matters rest with Westminster, therefore the legal advice seems to be that Salmond can’t call for a referendum without almost certain legal challenge.

            Further Cameron’s position has been backed by Labour and the LibDems.

            So it seems you are out no your own on this wit your crappy analysis.

            But anyway I’d be happy to see Scotland leave the Union, the sooner the better than English taxpayers stop subsidising them and having their voters force loads of Labour MPs on us.

          • The constitutional aspect is clear and can be found at 
            Schedule 5 Part 1 of the Scotland Act 1998.

            This is unarguable.

            But the referendum is there to be won and lost. And this where Cameron as fallen even before the first hurdle.

            Cameron’s monumental foot-in-mouth blunder has gifted Salmond a propaganda victory. Salmond must feel that all his Christmas’s have come at once. 
            Salmond will, of course, be compelled to conform to Cameron’s Westminster diktat and as he does so you can be sure he will deliver an Oscar winning Braveheart performance to end them all.

            This was entirely avoidable. But the hapless Cameron blundered in blissfully unaware of how this would play to the Scottish electorate.

            One can only ask… what will the prat do next?

          • Bill Lockhart

            The Scots will toy with independence right up until it looks like becoming an actual imminent possibility. Then they will reject it again. They’re not stupid.

  • Rallan

    Waste of time. Was this event really much of anything? I wonder how many people listening today were not already convinced, one way or another? My (negative) opinion was just reinforced, while I’m sure Labour supporters were encouraged instead. 

    I honestly don’t think this will make any difference at all.

  • Ecolludiod

    I’m impressed that some of the comments here are so understanding and tolerant of Ed’s efforts as leader. As much as I’d love to, I can’t imagine there’s the slightest chance of him ever being elected as PM.  

    Share the wealth. Well, yes, but how exactly? The national wealth is already being shared between the 1%  and soon there will be nothing that is publicly owned except debts. There’s something quite fundamental to address here but Ed won’t. He hasn’t got the Balls (sorry…)


  • Bill Wells

    Ed gets angry when he gets annoyed.   His advisers need to make sure that a few hecklers are in the audience- that should do the trick.

  • Anonymous

    Earlier I wrote a post saying that Ed needs to have concrete policies that show what he’s about. It’s about substance and style, obviously.

  • Pingback: Politics Live blog featuring Ed Miliband speech on the economy - Government Tenders, Government News and Information - Government Online()


LabourList Daily Email

Everything Labour. Every weekday morning

Share with your friends