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For Cameron, One Nation, Big Society and All In This Together are RIP. Ed Miliband has seized the opportunity this represents

Posted on 2 October 2012 | 2:10pm

David Cameron is likely to feign indifference to Ed Miliband’s speech when asked about it, as he will be in the coming days. But he will be worried about it.

When he PM was busy ‘decontaminating the brand’ of the Tory Party, there were a few notions that were central to that. One Nation was one of them. Margaret Thatcher was more for the ‘one of us’ approach than One Nation, and Cameron’s pre election positioning closer to the centre ground was a deliberate distancing. So was The Big Society, a deliberate distancing from ‘there is no such thing as society,’ and so, especially post election as the austerity plans kicked in, was ‘we are all in is together.’

It is what he has done in terms of policy that has shifted this clever opposition slogans into redundant notions for a government doing things that even Mrs T decided against. This has provided a big opening for Labour and Ed Miliband looks up to the challenge of taking it.

One Nation. The Tories don’t believe in it, Labour does.
Big Society. The Tories haven’t a clue what it means. Labour does.
All in is together. The Tories dare not say it any more. Labour can.

What Ed Miliband did today was bold personal and political positioning, with enough policy pointers to show how Labour would be different. He also exposed, without going overboard, what an empty vessel this government is turning out to be.

I said at the start of the conference that the door was opening to a proper hearing for Labour under Ed. As that hearing continues towards an election, he is in a much better place now than he was even a few weeks ago. A lot of that is down to the calm and resilience he has shown, and the content of a speech what has been getting a remarkably good response so far. A lot of it is also down to his fellow party leaders. As the shine continues to come off them, more opportunities will open for Ed and today suggests he will know how to take them.

  • Anonymous

    Yep, replied just to Andy Burnham just, on an email he sent me a couple of days ago. Good capricorn lad, like me! : )

    Pic for Andy B, the Beano book that year he wos born, when I was eight. Would you like to see some puppies Andy…. : )

    Tidy spot on performance by Ed M.

  • Olli Issakainen

    Miliband vs Miliband.
    New Labour was continuation of the Thatcher project with a bit of social justice added to it.
    Tony Crosland, the author of influental 1956 book The Future of Socialism, emphasized EQUALITARIANISM rather than nationalisation and planning of the Bevanite Labour left.
    Crosland believed that capitalist state had become welfare state. Private sector profits could be reinvested in socially desirable projects.
    Keynesianism would provide prosperity.
    Capitalism could be TAMED!
    Ruling class is now against the postwar social democratic settlement.
    New Labour practised neoliberalism with light regulation of the City.
    Today we have no material basis to return to Croslandism. Instead, Ed Miliband has come up with the idea of predistribution. Fair society can no longer be created by simply redistributing.
    Transfer social democracy symbolised by Tony Crosland has ended.
    David Miliband has warned about “Reassurance Labour”. Central national state is not the only instrument of delivering social democratic goals.
    RALPH MILIBAND, anti-capitalist of the Marxist left and the author of 1961 Parliamentary Socialism, believed that capitalism could not be tamed.
    For him, SOCIALISM meant complete democratisation of society INCLUDING THE ECONOMY!
    He thought that Labour could not provide serious challenge to CAPITALIST POWER STRUCTURES.
    Labour wanted to be seen respectable in the eyes of the media, CBI, financial markets and Middle England.
    Ed Miliband wants now to save capitalism from itself with his responsible capitalism.
    He today made some radical demands. TUC, UK Uncut and the Occupy movement are not alone.
    Distribution of wealth to middle and low-wage workers is essential to economic recovery.
    Austerity means that even more income is being shifted from labour to capital resulting in the collapse of capitalism as Marx foresaw.
    Karl Polanyi understood that state and markets must work together.
    In the global economy markets rule – not politicians. Markets mean big corporations controlled by bankers.
    Ed Miliband today stepped on the toes of real power.
    But capitalism is the least worst system.
    We need to preserve it.

  • redrugbyfan

    Well done Ed – you were calm and measured.
    He’ll not get praise from the journos though – their instructions from their paymasters are to attack and belittle – so he won’t get a fair hearing from them. The bottom line is that they will be told to present it as “not convincing, not done anything to change anyone’s mind” or even “lots of empty rhetoric” etc etc.
    As for the BBC they tend to follow the lead of the printed press.
    The press in this country is so utterly depressing.

  • I was very pleased by Ed Milliband’s appropriation of “one nation”. As all here will know very well historically this has always been a phrase the conservatives have used to describe the type of conservatism of Edward Heath. This form of conservatism is the antithesis of the kind of conservatives now dominating parliament. We now have many post-Thatcher radicals with an ideology of economic liberalism who wish to privatise everything. For them the poor are simply to be damned. The idea of society is repugnant to these sad people. About a year ago I think that Cameron tried fitting himself a bit into the “one nation” category, but then went quiet about it. I guess that he simply fears this large group of economic liberals in his party so he cannot use that phrase. So now Ed Milliband has appropriated it and well done to him.

    His use of this phrase also highlights to the conservative party membership that they have so many MPs that are not like them. The ordinary conservative party members tend to be one nationists, it is only the ones who go on to become MPs who are the anti-society nutcases. So there is quite a division in the conservative party between the, often rather nice members, and their often horrible political representatives in parliament.

    Ed Milliband’s intelligent use of historical references gives him the gravitas he requires. He was very well educated at his comprehensive school and he demonstrates that you can get a much better education at a comprehensive school than you can at Eton.

  • Dr Ojedokun

    I had always thought from the first time I heard him speak during the leadership contest, that he had it in him. However, the press was not ready so soon after the elections to give him a hearing. I also thought that he was very much underestimated and I said that a few times. Cameron is no match for this man on so many levels I canot wait for the battle of ideas to commence!

  • Simon

    Negative vox pop reactions on the PM programme though.

  • Dave Simons

    Someone tell him to stop waving his arm about and pointing. He did it on the Andrew Marr show and he was doing it at the Party Conference. It doesn’t look good.
    There has never been one nation in this country, not even during the Blitz, when looters were at work immediately after the bombs had dropped. Disraeli was one of many Tory opportunists – ‘one nation’ for him was more about spin than serious intention. Capitalism in any guise has two fundamental magnetic poles – capital and labour. Try as hard as you like but you’ll never create one nation out of it.
    ‘One nation’ will quickly and easily be disproved if Labour gets back into office. The Bernie Ecclestones will home in straightaway and buy favours – and they’ll get them. The rest of us won’t.
    Sorry to be such a pessimist but I think if we don’t get real we’re going to lose the next election – and that won’t be any fun.

  • Mark Wright

    Amidst the thunderous applause and cross-party accolades it seems to have escaped just about everybody’s attention that Ed M has just delivered the most Blairite speech since, er, Tony Blair.

    This is a good thing. A very good thing.

    Welcome back to the election-winning centre ground! đŸ™‚

  • Trevor A Smith

    Certainly the BBC political correspondents speak with one voice.
    Does any individual decide the line to be followed?
    Ed Milliband is a geek!! OK??
    Well perhaps his speech has killed that “line”
    It will now be most interesting to see what new collective line is followed when they next report on Ed Milliband

  • Dave Simons

    I’m sure there are lots of excellent comprehensive schools, but Ed is not typical as a student. His parents were intellectuals with multiple connections to academia and politics. Let’s not pretend that it doesn’t count. I was at school with friends whose parents were teachers and they had a head start on that basis, whatever their innate abilities.

  • Dave Simons

    Capricorn? You’d better start behaving yourself then! Saturn doesn’t approve of too many jokes. Better be more serious, conservative even, leaden, stick-in-the-muddish, stuffed shirtish. Welsh temperament in particular needs keeping in check. Believe me – I got born under the same goaty sign.

  • Anonymous

    OK – so I thought it was a lousy speech and still am convinced we chose the wrong Milliband – however, maybe that’s just me and so I’ll bow to the majority view that Ed is up there with the greats at the moment.
    Just a small warning. At some point over the next few years the economy will start to recover. Maybe it will be in spite rather than because of anything the prsent bunch of incompetatnts have done – but recover it will – maybe because of external demand. That means Labour will face another 1992 election where people, grateful for what little is better, fear changing governments – in the old phrase won’t “let go of the hand of nurse ffor fear of getting somethin worse”. I think Ed Balls understands that – I just wish i was sure that Ed Miliband did too.

  • Anonymous

    Some papers have mentioned him as Disraeli-like with this one nation speech. Disraeli as the twice PM in the nineteenth century, where he pointed out the upstairs-downstairs corrosive society then. Suppose it is based on money more these days, rather than class so much.

    And what a shower this west coast rail franchise bidding has turned out to be, ey? What another fine mess the coalition have got into, yet again. Torys and LibDems are turning out to be as the Laurel and Hardy of recent modern political history.

  • Anonymous

    Started really getting involved in my brother’s divorce, which has been five years ongoing, and have employed someone to look into it, since my dad can’t really, since growing old and cancer scare. Get it?
    So, I am working on total investigation how it has got like this. She will contact the law society for irregular play. It seems to me the two solicitors involved seems to be in caahoots to hope my dad die, so 50% of him will come into it. But he is still alive, muggings.
    Masonic cretins!

  • Anonymous

    Yes friend, the press in our land, as many mad institutions we suffer with, are in a world of their own.

    You’re not Phil by the way, but I could be wrong, as in this interesting online place?

    Most probably not, just a chance guess. : )

  • Anonymous

    Ed B will go far.

  • Anonymous

    A B will go far.

  • Anonymous

    Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am ready for the Obama vee Mitt boxing match from Denver, CO, US, 2am our time, ding-ding round one then. Can’t wait.

  • Anonymous

    By the way everyone, if you are wondering how to put spaces in your posts, edit it immediatley after posting, after clicking show comment, and shove them in, and save.

    HTH, FYI, and all that internet innerspace age stuff. : )

  • Anonymous

    Cheers for the reply Dave Simons, and agree with all what you say, except the welsh part – I have tried but given up on being not that, I am a hopeless case there, I am too far gone, terminal. : )

    And anyway, Jesus Christ was a capricorn and a goat – claim to fame for us, ey?

  • Anonymous

    Think Obama is holding his punches, just you wait for the last round. Think Mitt’s corner are getting over-confident already. ha-ha!

  • redrugbyfan

    Hi Ehtch – no, not Phil – I’m a proud red rugby fan from South Yorkshire. Unfortunately, there are very few rugby union fans in this area which is why I chose my moniker so I could stand out a little. Red – well, that’s because I’m left of centre! Boring and obvious but there you are – that’s me!!!

  • Dave Simons

    Another possible scenario is that theTories will keep the screws tightened more than needs be until just before the next General, and then loosen up just in time. When the electorate salivates in Pavlovian style and they win another election, possibly with enough seats to be able to ditch their LibDem accomplices, then they’ll tighten the screws even further than they were tightened before the pre-election loosening up process. It’s the way their minds work – Tories love people! Well, people who are Tories, at least.

  • Anonymous

    South Yorkshire? – tidy. My great grandmother was from south Yorkshire, from Harthill, between Sheffield and Worksop, not far from Rotherham, just inside Yorkshire from Nottinghamshire. Elizabeth Laking was her maiden name. Maybe you have bumped into some Lakings. Her nephew was a fella called George Laking who was a footie player for Middlesborough and Wolves, and she was big mates with the Chapman family and Herbert Chapman, the six times championship manager with Huddersfield and Arsenal in the 1920’s and 30’s. Brillliant football manager.

    All the best to south Yorkshire, will have to come up there sometime again. And sorry for wild guessing that you were Phil. But it gave me an excuse to post that welsh coalmines historical link at least. Kiveton Park Colliery near Harthill my relatives used to work in. All the best.

  • redrugbyfan

    Nice to know some of the family history and your background.
    Obviously in this area there is tremendous empathy with the miners and I live very near to Orgreave (yes, the infamous Orgreave and saw the battles where the South Yorkshire police disgraced themselves and because of which, I suspect they thought they could act with impunity on other occasions).
    I do know Harthill and have spent many a happy hour in the Parish Oven – a lovely hostelry.
    Unfortunately, I don’t know any of the Lakings but wish I did after reading your post.
    Let’s keep in touch!!!! Think we shall, we obviously agree on many things.

  • reaguns

    I also think the wrong Miliband was chosen. I agree with David M more than Ed M, nonetheless I used to think Ed was a deep thinker, an intellectual, a policy wonk and all that, just not very charismatic. I wish charism didn’t matter but realise it does to voters.
    However in the speech, I thought there were kernels of some good ideas, but so many holes I could pick in them – don’t labour have people to challenge and scrutinise these ideas?! No wonder he never goes near Andrew Neil!

  • Anonymous

    Oh yes, Orgreave, the battle of Orgreave. Many people from the mining industry from around here were there. Nasty business by the state.

    I was up in that area around that time, girlfriend from then wanted to visit her old schoolfriend who had moved to Ilkeston in Derbyshire, and we all went out on day and night out to Nottingham. Her father ran a working mens club in Ilkeston, and when his customers heard our accents, they did think. Passed road blocks and everything to get there, in my old Morris Marina ex-electricity board van, and the old bill did have a good look if I had any passengers in the back!.

    There used to be loads of Lakings living in Harthill and surrounding area, but hardly any live there anymore, I believe. Think quite a few of them went to live in Sheffield I believe, especially with the end of almost all of the coal mining industry in that area

    Old miners down here still go on about Nottinghamshire and the UDM miners union. Maybe you can guess what they say!

  • redrugbyfan

    I don’t need to – I’ve heard what the Yorkshire/Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire (those who didn’t join the UDM) miners have said!!
    Incidentially have you read Michael Mansfield’s autobiography “Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer” – I saw him speak shortly after publication, at Sheffield Hallam University and the door he opened on the police shenanigans during the miners’ strike was truly terrifying. Why were there no prosecutions at that time for perverting the course of justice and, even worse, perjury?
    No wonder South Yorkshire Police felt they were untouchable in the 80s!!

  • Anonymous

    Haven’t read that, no. Thanks for the heads up – will go down to the local library and have a look to see if they have a copy. I am sure they will, since that sort of history is of big interest down around here. Will have a look on their online lending stock after for a look-see.

    And there was a big compensation pay out in about 1991 for false arrests, if I remember right. So that is self-explanitory how bad things were then. Not nice times, and Cameron in the last couple of days has the cheek of accusing Ed M of East German talk!!

  • Dave Simons

    My goodness I was there! Yes Michael Mansfield gave a very good talk at Hallam Uni. To think we’ve been in the same lecture theatre! Fairly recently too.

  • Dave Simons

    If your local library is Woodhouse I worked in it recently.

  • Anonymous

    RRF is from that neck of the woods. I have some distant family from around there. But my local libraries that I use are down here, Llanelli, Carmarthen and Cross Hands, in decending size.

    My great-grandmother met my great-grandfather around Harthill it is believed, went to work in the collierys around there for a while, when there was a slump in south-west Wales, in about 1908ish – something like that it was. But could be the otherway around. Will have to try and find that out exactly someday.