Ed’s Hogwarts Moment and the return of Barbara Castle.

Written By: Tribune web editor
Published: September 29, 2011 Last modified: September 30, 2011

To the Conference hall for the first, and almost certainly last time this year, for Ed’s speech, with all the apprehension of a parent watching their child in a Nativity play. Have the hotel room rehearsals paid off? Will he make it through without fluffing his lines? We have to wait until page 3 for the first sustained applause. We’ll have to wait a lot longer before we discover whether his plea for trust with the economy is heard beyond Conference.
Like everyone he is outraged by the recent riots, but manages to refrain from describing the kids who took part as ‘feral’, instead praising the ‘young people with brooms’ who came out the next morning to help clean up. ‘Young people with brooms’ ! A collective raising of the eyebrows, perhaps in the hope of a Harry Potter fly-past.
Silence as Ed’ praises Eighties tax-cuts and the Right to Buy, but by page 17 he’s back on track and announces a policy. Government contracts will only be awarded to companies who offer decent apprenticeships. Excellent. Towards the end of his speech Ed is finding his feet. A joke featuring the line ‘the computer says No’ would have been delivered with comic flair by Blair, complete with funny voice. But the laughter would have drowned out all belief and meaning. Ed is right  to stick to being himself, and by the end of this speech we are finally beginning to find out who that is, although the final over-annunciated talk about ‘bargains’, (the word was used 6 times in one paragraph) does make it sound as though he would like to turn Britain into a Poundshop.
On the way to the Tribune Rally, I am impressed to see Christine Blower manning the NUT stand in the exhibition hall. A few hours giving away pencils should be compulsory for all Trade Union General Secretaries.
The Rally itself was a feast of thought provoking speeches. Emily Thornberry’s diatribe against Tory gerrymandering deserved a fringe event all to itself. Definitely an issue that needs to be placed at the heart of a national debate. Ed Balls ‘warmed-up’ nicely for Tom Watson who is deservedly enjoying his moment, and then up-stepped my fellow Tribune columnist Lisa Nandy to deliver a barnstorming performance at the podium. For me her speech, recalling a young Barbara Castle was the most believable ten minutes of Conference. All in all an excellent few days. Never in the years that I have been attending conference have we been so welcomed by our host city. From waiting staff, to train drivers (and even a policeman) it seems that Liverpool is anxious for a Labour party victory. Now it’s up to us to convince the rest of the country that we deserve it.
CG


2 replies to “Ed’s Hogwarts Moment and the return of Barbara Castle.

  1. Anonymous

    Gosh you had a welcome by staff did they bow.

    Yes he did look back to Thatcher to tell us she was right, but of course Tories sold  council houses and built Council houses 397,0000 how many did labour build while still flogging them off, not a lot really 1000 mostly large houses for larger families.

    But of course it was a weak showing it was all about the people in the hall not the 1 million or 2 million people watching it on BBC parliament channel.

    We learned that people on welfare have to accept cuts because of the Banking crises this came again with a Gordon Brown smile switched on when the person interviewing him attacked him, then the frown and then the loss of thread, before it came out, ” welfare has to accept cuts, Because, ya Because of the banking crises.

    Miliband came across to me and others in the pub as a rich bloke trying to play politics with real peoples lives, it ended before I had a chance when the Land lord switched it off, that was the working mans club, where the labour party has it’s meeting.

    People ordinary people not in this set up spectacle of a Conference saw nothing just a rich kid telling us welfare kept him alive ah yes not the millions from his dad then. A conference in which Ed Balls and Ed Miliband walk out side in the sun speaking private we are to believe with a BBC camera with them and the words are.

    Ball’s  they all want to know which direction we are going.

    Miliband Ya

    Ball’s They want to know if we are going to the left or the right.

    Miliband Ya.

    Balls well we are staying in the middle.

    Miliband chuckle….

    Camera stops Miliband and Ball’s walks off into the sun set, and we are supposed to believe this was not a set up but a little chat, nobody except the camera man sound man grip anywhere around.

    The conference as it has been for years is a complete set up, but at least we have the red flag sung, but you could see the mouth moving but the words were not coming out,  a Tory moment then.

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