Ed Miliband starts off like Chelsea – not everyone’s favourite, yet efficient, pleasant on the eye and now in need of a greater test.

Ed Miliband. (image taken from Wikipedia Commons.)

If Ed Miliband’s initial speech as Labour leader at the Manchester Party Conference, had been a football match, he would have come off the pitch a winner to polite applause from the home crowd, yet this was no 5-0 victory – harder fixtures lie ahead.

The soundbytes arising from Ed Miliband’s first speech as Labour leader have unsurprisingly focused on his criticism of the war in Iraq and his brothers subsequent reaction to Harriet Harman clapping (an original supporter of the war in Iraq), yet most commentators took an overall view similar to that of Eric Hobsbawn in the Guardian – Ed had made “a good, but not a storming start.”

Speaking to a room, where many of the audience were hoping to be hearing from his elder brother, it was unsurprising that Labour MP for Grimsby Austin Mitchell felt Ed “started off a bit nervous but gained in confidence.” Guardian sketch writer Simon Hoggard felt the positive reaction on the conference floor was as much relief “that he wasn’t bad” as it was reflective applause on the speech that had just passed.

Drawing on his family’s history as Jewish immigrants fleeing from Nazi Germany and subsequent successes in Britain, Ed hoped to add a personal human touch that would have won him favour well beyond the reaches of the Manchester conference. Meanwhile Tony Benn, having had Ed Miliband with him many years ago for a month after his O-levels, believed it was a “remarkable speech (which) will help to build up people’s confidence in him.”

Peter Hoskin was less positive in the Spectator, hoping to be compensated for wasting his time, believing that “if twenty minutes had been lopped off that speech, then it might have been quite a decent little number.” Hoskin was however kind enough to suggest David Miliband may yet offer freelance speech editing for his younger brother if he does, as expected, choose to leave front-line politics. In reality, David may find better financial rewards elsewhere and it’s unlikely to be a sole option to fill his newly found spare time.

Meanwhile Paul Bull, the Labour Candidate for Exeter City council tweeting earlier today from the Labour Conference reported that people have been joining Labour at the rate of one per minute since the election of Ed Miliband. This would appear to be a resounding success although the alternative view offered by entrepreneur Aaron Prior on Twitter wondered how many of the trade unions were actually paid up party members.

Either way, Ed’s start could certainly have been much worse. Invariably we’ll get a much clearer picture in the coming weeks and months, before we see if the Tories were right to be pleased Ed managed to beat off his older brother David.

2 Responses to “Ed Miliband starts off like Chelsea – not everyone’s favourite, yet efficient, pleasant on the eye and now in need of a greater test.”
  1. Moo says:

    Nice blog Josh. I look forward to your next holiday update/current affairs tid-bit 🙂

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