Ed Miliband shows he can speak human, but he must do more
Opinion digest: Ed Miliband's transformation - and his problem with the electorate
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ED JUST MOVED CLOSER TO NUMBER 10 MARY RIDDELL ON A MILIBAND TRANSFORMATION
“Ed Unplugged caught most unawares”, says Mary Riddell in The Daily Telegraph. “He [can] talk human.” Addressing a packed audience at the Labour conference, the party leader achieved a transformation that many had thought impossible. There were few new policies, and even his rhetorical reliance on Benjamin Disraeli had previous precedent. But nonetheless, he managed to chart a clear route to the future and for the first time proved he might be bold enough to follow it. His one-nation message may have been shorthand for a conservative land grab, but it was convincing. Now he must explain some home truths: good-time Labour, the party of tax and spend, is doomed, and the social democratic landscape will mean sacrifices unmentioned at this conference. But hard times require a great man, and Ed has shown a glimmer of the qualities required in a towering leader. If he can reveal any more, then perhaps he really can change Britain.
HASTEN THE MOVE AWAY FROM NEW LABOUR
SEUMAS MILNE ON THE PATH AHEAD
Ed’s speech might have been policy-lite, but his performance will have surely silenced critics both within and outside Labour who claim he is too geeky and weird to be prime minister, writes Seumas Milne in The Guardian. Miliband’s attempt to seize the mantle of one nation politics from David Cameron's rightward-moving Tories could easily have become an exercise in New Labour-style triangulation. But he used the device instead to attack Rupert Murdoch, banks and cartels, and committed Labour to narrowing the gap between rich and poor. Even if his ‘responsible capitalism’ slogan is unlikely to inspire the masses, it must be remembered that Ed’s attack on corporate predators and the broken model of neoliberal capitalism has been richly vindicated. “The journey away from New Labour is in its early stages”, says Milne. If Ed is to reach his intended political destination, then he will have to fight many both inside and outside the Labour ranks.
POLITICIANS MUST LEARN: NO ONE BELIEVES THEM DANIEL FINKELSTEIN ON ED’S PROBLEM
Despite his “well-scripted" and “well-delivered” speech to the Labour conference, Ed Miliband yesterday faced the same problems as all other politicians, says Daniel Finkelstein in The Times. Firstly, almost nobody is listening to anything they say; and secondly, if anyone, by accident, catches any of it, they don’t believe what they hear. In fact, the only people who believe their own rhetoric are the politicians themselves, and Miliband certainly seemed convinced by his own promises to revive Benjamin Disraeli’s One Nation theme. In reality, this will be difficult, since it was a vision first put forward for a different age. In a nation where political speeches meet with so much public cynicism, politicians should try harder to espouse realistic rhetoric if they want to be believed.