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Miliband speaks to the Arena...

...or was he talking straight into the TV cameras instead, asks Larry Neild

Written by . Published on September 28th 2011.

Miliband speaks to the Arena...

LIKE a gladiator striding towards the coliseum that is the Kings Dock Arena, Ed Miliband left the comfort of the Jury’s Inn ready to slaughter the remnants of New Labour.

He was more Victor Mature than Tony Blair, more Charlton Heston than Gordon Brown. He was his own man. His missus stood shoulder to shoulder with him n as cameras captured every giant footstep.

The loud music beamed out, and maybe some could have been forgiven for thinking Simon Cowell was about to enter with a special edition of the X Factor.

Social housing should be prioritised for those who
show responsibility,he said. Won’t that punish kids
who, through no say in the matter, happen to be
the offspring of irresponsible parents?

That, though, is what Ed is after, those valuable ‘X’s’ on ballot papers across middle England.

Ed Miliband woke up to a breakfast of scouse on toast, gazing at a poll in the morning Indy. Is Ed Miliband a credible Prime Minister in waiting? Fewer than a quarter of the respondents, 24 percent, agreed he was the man for Number 10.

Worryingly, more than double that number, a variety of respondents adding up to 57 percent, disagreed. Even worse, the poll showed the Conservatives were one point ahead of Labour in the popularity stakes, 37 percent against 36 percent.

One of Ed’s faithful servants, our very own Angela Eagle, Labour MP for Wallasey, tweeted…. “When the time comes, Ed Miliband will be the next Prime Minister”.

Somebody tweeted that the atmosphere in the arena during the speech was so muted, it was like a morgue in there.

Ed continually used the word “bargain”. And it made me wonder whether he and his band of spin doctors and advisers have been burning midnight oil around a bargain-bucket, plucking out one-liners to chuck in,

Some of those one-liners fell flat. There were boos in the hall when he mentioned Blair, and I’d wager a two percent pay rise on the union bosses not being best pleased when he mentioned how right it was in the 1980s to abolish the closed shop.

Ed was all for the something-for-something people in society, and against, well, let’s not mince words, the scroungers.

He was saying this in a city where many people are forced to live on benefits because under both Labour, Conservative and Coalition governments, there has been a famine of jobs.

Social housing should be prioritised for those who show responsibility,he said. Won’t that punish kids who, through no say in the matter, happen to be the offspring of irresponsible parents?

Was this Ed addressing an arena packed to the rafters, or gazing into the cameras to address Tory Blue Britain: often those who would bring back hanging, flogging and banishment to Christmas Island for people who so much as nick a pair of socks from Primark.

During the speech, there were hopeful signs that  Ed had the audience on his side. The rapturous applause when he shouted, or rather repeated an old adage …. “You Can’t Trust the Tories on the National Health Service”. I was half expecting Ed to sit down then while the going was good.

Claps galore when he attacked Cameron, Clegg and co for their mantra …. “We’re All in it together.” Well even my whippet knows we are not.

He attacked predators of the business world, guaranteeing instant alienation in boardrooms everywhere from London to the Cayman Islands. But nevertheless popular among a party of the working classes.

He shifted the party slightly to the left, shovelling some ashes on the grave of new Labour. Problem is he may not have moved left enough for the Labour diehards, and too far left for the majority who view even the centre as far too left for their liking.

N0605211317069087884aBack at the Jury's Inn with Hugh GrantIn what seems like a generation ago, Gordon Brown became Prime Minister in what was a political coronation. Even those obliged to support and serve under Brown whispered the party had dropped a clanger, and the decision of the electorate, in May 2010, delivered the final answer.

As the age of sound-bite politics gathers ever more pace, watched by a world wide web, everything new media can chuck at you, wall to wall television and radio coverage, a leader has to appeal to the people more than to his or own party members. That is a modern fact of life.

Ed Miliband ended his speech saying: I aspire to be your Prime Minister. With You’ve Got the Love by Florence and the Machine echoing through the Echo arena, he was given a standing ovation.

Whether his aspiration will be met, though, is not in the hands of the cheering masses in Liverpool.


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Marxist-SpenceristSeptember 28th 2011.

In what way is he 'left wing', exactly?

Nye BevviedSeptember 29th 2011.

He took a long time to say nothing. To be fair, I think his one-liners went down okay but there was nothing there other than trying to say he is different and unable to show how. He just doesn't look like a potential primeminister and makes it worse when he speaks about people being out of touch. In what way was he In-Touch? What did Ed say?

Well he can't say much really can he, as the problems we face are fundamental to the very core of capitalism. The concentration of the wealth into the hands of an increasingly smaller number, which is exactly what is happening on a world scale. Very small groups and individuals orchestrating events to get even richer and more powerful. He can't do anything about them, the best we can hope for is that we can eventually ride it out. Let's face it, nobody is going to overthrow them. Well not yet anyway.

But then Ed, rather than talking about the real culprits who have detroyed the economies of the world for personal interest and gain, he seemed to think it was all a question of people on too high a salary. That's mainly what he went on about. And instead of the banks and international finance groups, he even turned turned the argument into one about vested interests in local authorities, thereby justifying the policy of cutting local jobs and local services.

We won't solve the inherent nature of the capitalist crisis by cutting a few managers or chief executives salaries, no matter how upset we get when we hear about huge paychecks and golden handshakes. So with that brutal attack out of the way, he moved onto attacking those on welfare benefits, mainly to appease middle England.

Now there are lots of arguments around that issue but it is cheap claptrap and political opportunism in order to win votes from reactionaries and the uneducated who see anybody in receipt of benefits as a scrounger. There was no need for it. He was just trying to look tough and stupidly ends up targetting and saving his biggest anger for petty little benfit cheat crooks, too scared to really go for the big crooks like the ones that gambled the economy down the pan and stole and cheated the wealth from everyone.

He had a quick nervous go about immigration. said it didn't work for some people in their communities and their jobs, and quickly moved on. Quick pander to the racists, sound bite he can later expand on if challenged. It's always good to hear somebody in one breath telling us how their family had to flee from Hitler's death camps and then having to find a way of saying no more foreigners to keep the bigots happy.

The problem is that all the talk of equality, the bargain fairness and protecting the most vulnerable, well we heard it all from Blair, only the delivery was sharper and more convincing. It turned out he was a liar and one of the most self promoting, nest feathering, warmongering nutcases we have ever had as primeminister, which could be why he won 3 times as half the electorate are mad or easily lead into bigoted reactionary views by an unrelenting diet of targets for hate and blame and the other half are either apathetic or vote for a colour.

And finally, there was at least some honesty in that he and Balls both made it clear that you and I will still be the ones paying for the crimes of the bankers and they will still get their bonuses.

If you want a policy Ed, use the profits from the sale of bank shares to re-nationalise the rail networks, promise to restore civil rights that Blair and New Labour carefully systematically eroded turning this into a semi police state.

And above all, prosecute the bankers. Be like Kinnock and the 47 , you were proud of that, expel them, have them arrested, surcharged and banned, lock the bastards up. Then we might take notice. What's the difference between them and that rogue trader, it wasn't their money they gambled with, it was all ours. Because wealth only exists through the labour of working people. The ones Labour is supposed to represent. Ha Ha!

Marxist-SpenceristSeptember 29th 2011.

That's what I mean. Apart from the Conservatives and the right-wing press who want to make the voting public frightened of Miliband, who else says he is left-wing?

AnonymousSeptember 29th 2011.

For me the speach encapulated all that is wrong with modern politics where the rules seem to be: If your in government your obliged to have some policies. But if your not in government you spend four years of mud throwing at the other guys talking about being diferent, then when there is an election round the corner you check which way the wind is blowing, make up some policies that look popular, harp on about change and hope you get elected. Its no wonder fewer and fewer people bother to vote.

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