Conference diary: Did Ed Miliband deliver?

Labour conference: Not always easy to get in.
Labour conference: Not always easy to get in.

By Sean Dilley

"It was a bit long". "He were alright I suppose". "That was our next prime minister speaking there".

Those were some of the comments I heard in instant reaction to Ed Miliband's speech - but one thing most conference goers agreed on was the length of the speech. Not unusually long in my experience, but the general feeling on the floor from party members was that it seemed to drag on.

I tweeted during the speech that Mr Miliband was talking more to the TV cameras than the conference floor at times - particularly when he said, "I understand why you voted for David Cameron at the last election". As expected, a stoney silence met this portion of the speech - but when the old "you can't trust the Tories with the national health service" was drummed out, members screamed for the skies.

All in all, today's speech had a little something for everyone - unless your name is Michael Gove, David Cameron or Grant Shapps of course. "If I was Tory chairman, I'd use a false name too," Miliband joked, in reference to recent discoveries surrounding his publication history.

But I felt rather lucky to even get in to this year's speech. It's normally a bit of a battle to find the press officer responsible for dishing out the leader speech tickets - and this year proved impossible due to a meeting outside of the footprint.

But, not one to take 'you don't have a ticket' for an answer, I joined the throngs of fellow lobby journalists, all of whom had tickets other than this writer. This, however, is where having a great big yellow guide dog helps. One party official refused me access (Fair enough, they were doing their job). But fortunately another official recognised me as a lobby hack and, doggy by my side, admitted us.


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