Ed Miliband's conference speech on 'one nation' Labour may have gone down well, but he is still a hypocrite on the deficit, austerity and public spending.
By Charlotte Henry
Ed Miliband’s speech has received various plaudits for both its content and its delivery over the last couple of days. While I'm still convinced he is a naughty boy for his time in the last government, rather than the messiah as leader of the opposition, that's fair enough. He said some interesting things, cracked some good jokes, and fired up his activists.
Whether anyone else gives a damn remains to be seen, but such is the nature of conference speeches.
At worst Miliband has stopped most of the talk of him being useless and replaced by his party. At best, he showed he has fire in his belly and that he is credible leader. There are worse positions to be in at this stage of an election cycle.
The problem was he did it all whilst talking hypocritical nonsense. I don't expect him to come up with a Budget; goodness knows he caused enough damage when that was his job, but he has rehashed a decades old idea and presented it as new, and completely ignored that the foundations for the problems he cites come from the government he was a minister in.
"[People] think the system just doesn’t work for them. And you know what? They’re right," Miliband said. "It doesn't. It doesn't work for them but for the cozy cartels and powerful interests that government hasn't cut down to size."
He forgets it was his government that spent 13 years entrenching some of these vested interests, and failing to break up the pre-existing ones. When he discusses a new relationship between public and private sector he ignores that great big PFI bill that his mentor, Gordon Brown, left.
Yes, the coalition should move on from just blaming Labour, but government is a big oil tanker to turn round and radical reform takes time.
Away from all the bluster though, I think Miliband may have helped the Lib Dems. He has decisively returned to the Ed of the leadership campaign, left wing wonk Ed Miliband.
Miliband is not a centrist, nor has he really ever claimed to be. As many have pointed out, he wants to move the centre ground to the left and believes there are votes there.
It leaves the real centre ground, the radical, reforming, centre ground, wide open for the Lib Dems . It's there, but only if they are brave enough to plant their flag firmly in it.
After interning in parliament for Lib Dem MP Don Foster, Charlotte began working with clients to develop their social and web presence, as well as running websites. She has worked with a wide range of commercial, political, and third sector clients, and runs the blog digitalpolitico.net. Charlotte often appears in the media commenting on political issues, and stood for the Lib Dems in the 2012 Greater London Assembly elections. She is @charlotteahenry on Twitter.
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