Web and public give thumbs up to Miliband’s big speech

Reaction on the web to Ed Miliband's speech is fairly positive with unsurprising support from tweeting delegates and approval by supporters of his brother.

Reaction on the web has been fairly positive with unsurprising support from tweeting delegates, approval by supporters of David Miliband and criticism reserved to the Tory-supporting blogosphere.

Former Blair special adviser, Conor Ryan, blogged that it was a “clever and well-constructed” speech that “met the tests set for him by the tabloids”. But cautions that it “lacked a clear sense of where Ed Miliband will take the party.” David Miliband’s blogging supporter, Tom Harris MP, said he “genuinely thought it was an extremely accomplished performance” and was relieved it was delivered by autocue. Alistair Campbell writes “I for one totally back his line that a new generation is now in charge” and goes on:

“He dealt well with the sense, a lot of it media-driven, that he wants to take Labour wildly off to the left. He did a fair bit of distancing from some parts of the New Labour record, notably Iraq, immigration, and the failure to sort out the bankers before they wreaked havoc, but he also did a very good job of setting out the scale of change made under TB and GB and why the party should be proud of it.”

Sunder Katwala at Next Left refers to Ed as “Labour’s RFK” and discusses the “audacity of optimism” which he sees as a “challenge to the Cameron-Clegg ‘new politics’.” Hopi Sen says the “excellent speech” echoed “Kennedy, with a hint of Obama, by way of Macmillan” Economics blogger and Ed Balls supporter, Duncan Weldon, tweets, “EM – “halve the deficit over 4 years… we must remain vigilant against a downturn.” Is this 4 yr plan with escape hatch?” The Staggers’ George Eaton similarly identified a fudge and tweeted “Ed M wise to avoid risky prediction of a double-dip but deficit passage a messy hybrid of Balls and Darling”.

Leading Lib Dem blogger, Stephen Tall, writes on Lib Dem Voice that it was a “detoxifying” speech and sees it as “a conscious pitch for the liberal-left vote which the Lib Dems have sometimes successfully attracted, and which appears at risk in the new Coalition politics”. And Green MP Caroline Lucas critiques “If Ed’s new politics is adding dash of environmentalism to business as usual – as tiny bit on climate added at end of speech – it looks grim” but adds “Liked Ed’s words about pluralism though, & glad he’ll support AV.”

Times columnist Mary Ann Sieghart gives a cautious thumbs up tweeting “Unions: tick. Deficit: tick. Welfare reform: tick. Optimism? Not so sure.” Jackie Ashley of the Guardian who favoured his candidacy says he was “the right choice after all”. The BBC’s Nick Robinson focuses on the remarks about Iraq as a “break from the past“. The Indy has a similar theme remarking that “Ed Miliband exorcises New Labour ghosts”. Gary Gibbon of Channel 4 News says, “He didn’t sink, he didn’t fly. But given that most of the people in the hall didn’t vote for him and were gasping on Saturday as the results came up on the screen, he turned some opinion in the room.” Harry Mount at the Telegraph says he “came across well” but “can’t deliver a gag for toffee”.

The normally critical Iain Martin writes on the Wall Street Journal blog that it was “confident first leader’s speech from Mili E”. Real criticism is reserved to the Tory blogosphere. Iain Dale was less unimpressed suggesting that “Ed Miliband needs to make speeches in the style he is most comfortable in. And that is not behind a podium or reading from an autocue.” While Coffee House’s Peter Hoskin says, “the new Labour leader is stuck in stasis”. On Conservative Home, Tim Montgomerie said it was a speech that contained “many cliches“. Most baffling all, Con Caughlin of the Telegraph writes “Ed Miliband is not fit to be Prime Minister if he thinks Iraq was wrong”.

Tweetminster, meanwhile, reports that “the most mentioned parts of the speech were around: 1) support for AV and reform of the Lords 2) Ed Miliband’s stance on unions 3) civil liberties 4) the Iraq War 5) schools 6) the ‘good society’ 7) David Cameron 8) opening references to David Miliband 9) climate change 10) Red Ed and, of course, frequent mentions of term optimism and variations of ‘generation’ were widely present both on stage and in tweets”.

The only known reaction from the general public so far is from Sky’s Katie Stallard who conducted a focus group of non-Labour voters in Swindon. She tweets: “Ed mili gone down very well with swindon panel – asked to describe him in a word came up with ‘passionate’, ‘fair’, ‘warm’, ‘compassionate’.”

And our view? A very good start in difficult circumstances. He tackled the elephants in the room (the deficit, the unions) with an Obama-esque approach which avoided triangulation and, instead, found the middle ground.

His lengthy passage on the achievements of Labour’s time in Government may have bored the press but was essential for winning over those delegates concerned that he would distance himself from the good as well as the bad of new Labour.

The delivery was strongest at the very end when he came back to his message of “optimism” but he stumbled at times and held back from speaking over the applause of the audience – a rhetorical trick that Blair and Brown often used to generate a crescendo. But overall, an impressive first conference speech.

UPDATE 29/9:

A circular email from public affairs company, Mandate, today reads:

“A socialmention analysis of online comment suggests that the speech was well-received by the digerati, with three positive mentions of the speech to every one negative comment. Similarly, on Twitter, supportive statements about the speech outnumbered critical views by a factor of four to one. So it seems that the digital generation may be more like Ed’s generation than the party members here in Manchester.”

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25 Responses to “Web and public give thumbs up to Miliband’s big speech”

  1. Elrik Merlin

    RT @leftfootfwd: Thumbs up to @Ed_Miliband's big speech – views from the web http://bit.ly/cQcgFq #Lab10

  2. Duncan Weldon

    RT @leftfootfwd: Thumbs up to @Ed_Miliband's big speech – views from the web http://bit.ly/cQcgFq #Lab10

  3. alexsmith1982

    RT @leftfootfwd: Thumbs up to @Ed_Miliband's big speech – views from the web http://bit.ly/cQcgFq #Lab10

  4. Cornelius Griffiths

    RT @leftfootfwd: Thumbs up to @Ed_Miliband's big speech – views from the web http://bit.ly/cQcgFq #Lab10

  5. paulstpancras

    RT @alexsmith1982: RT @leftfootfwd: Thumbs up to @Ed_Miliband's big speech – views from the web http://bit.ly/cQcgFq #Lab10

  6. digby

    RT @leftfootfwd: Thumbs up to @Ed_Miliband's big speech – views from the web http://bit.ly/cQcgFq #Lab10

  7. Duncan Weldon

    It might be a “fudge” but I’m actually very keen on a “four year plan with an escape hatch”. Although it’s need a catchier name…


  8. Jared Gaites

    RT @leftfootfwd: Web and public give thumbs up to Miliband's big speech http://bit.ly/cQcgFq

  9. Fred

    Did sod all for me, it was another New Generation well it’s could be a never labour. The poorest will stay poor oh yes what about the working wage, well yes be nice if labour had thought about that 13 years ago. Welfare people who think they can sit at home with no legs doing nothing well they cannot, fine by me.

    Middle England is Labour main fight, best of luck to them…

  10. Pete Kennedy

    Ed is certainly no lefty and his speech made clear that he’s already attempting political ‘triangulation’. As with all Labour leaders of the past 25 years, he’s got himself elected as leader by playing up his progressive ideals, and will aim to win the general election by playing them down.
    There seems very little space between Ed and David Miliband on values and policy, both being centre/centre-left career politicians. Since leaving an elite university both Miliband’s have been involved in policy creation in a top-down manner with a lack of input from the party’s grass-roots or the public at large. They at best represent a progressive fraction of the managerial ‘cadre’ class that has come to dominate politics and public life in general.

  11. Mick Hall

    “Former Blair special adviser, Conor Ryan, blogged that it was a “clever and well-constructed” speech that “met the tests set for him by the tabloids”

    We now know why Blair was such a disaster from a left point of view, his crony openly admits he allowed the tabloids not only to set his agenda but to dominate it. Out of the mouths of babes.

    We will know whether Ed is up to the task, when unlike Cameron and Blair, he rejects Murdoch’s annual invitation to his suck my dick fest.

  12. Archie Hill

    not impressed – as usual the elderly have been ignored with the emphasis on the middle class, how they should get all the breaks we have to live to. i would remind Labour (new or not) that we have a potential make or break when it comes to elections and we should not be forgotten as our vote counts. Ed did not impress on his statement on Iraq – he was around when the issue first reared its ugly head – he was the silent man then!!!!

  13. Kevin Richards

    Contrary to media reports: Web and public give thumbs up to Miliband's big speech http://bit.ly/cQcgFq as contained in RT @leftfootfwd

  14. Paul Seery

    RT @leftfootfwd: Web and public give thumbs up to Miliband's big speech http://bit.ly/cQcgFq

  15. Mr. Sensible

    Not bad for a first one.

    Next it’s Cameron at PMQs!

  16. Anon E Mouse

    Found myself agreeing with an awful lot of the speech – only heard it on the radio but the delivery was very good. Certainly surprised me I have to say.

    Not sure how he’ll do against Cameron at PMQ’s but it was impressive and whilst the conference weren’t wild in their applause that is understandable.

    I do like the fact he seems very polite and doesn’t come across as hectoring like Yvette Cooper, Harriet Harman, Caroline Flint and that bunch.

    Politeness is one of Cameron’s main assets and I actually think that Ed Miliband does pose a danger to this coalition government (that I am strongly in favour of).

    The government should be apprehensive about the Labour Party. I was expecting a lurch to the left – even Fraser Nelson had to admit on R5 Live that the “Red Ed” tag may be unfounded.

    It appears an official opposition may be back…

  17. John Woods

    The best commitment was for a Living Wage and yet it is not mentioned by most of the above. At what level of society do they live? AV and Lords reform will not put food on the table of cleaning ladies and security guards, nor the tens of thousands of people who now live on minimum wage and formerly lived by working 70 hours a week.

  18. Anon E Mouse

    John Woods – What he was trying to do was set out a strategy for the future.

    The tactical decisions such as the minimum wage and the like (I presume) will be delegated to his cabinet.

    Big issue stuff, like electoral reform – especially with the forthcoming referendum – is more important at this stage because the opposition can affect a change without being a government.

    Until they achieve power they can do nothing about living wages and the like so I actually don’t have a complaint.

    I’m not being supportive of the Labour Party – heavens forbid – but I don’t think that one can really, fairly, criticise his remarks so far…

  19. BCM

    Hasn’t anyone noticed that all of these ‘passionate’ and ‘sincere’ views Ed Milliband has seem to have only emerged in the last few days. It stinks of hypocrisy to say he supports civil liberties when he voted for 90 days detention without trial! Similarly people seem to applaud his opposition to the Iraq war, ignoring the fact its not hard to make a stand 7 years after the event. He voted against an independent inquiry 7 times for god’s sake!

  20. Guido Fawkes

    Not all the web was positive. 🙂

  21. Mr. Sensible

    Well reminded, John.

  22. Colin Gilbey

    At this stage there can be no more than basic principles; setting aside the need for propaganda we need a clearer idea of just where the coalition is going to leave the country socially and economically, in Europe and the world before there can be any real detailed policies. The next Labour government will have to legislate on what it finds. As was the case in 1997 there will be a lot of rebuilding to do, hopefully not to the exclusion of the problems not tackled by New Labour.

    We, in the CLPs need a clear lead as to what Labour would do now with the economy, the NHS, education, Afghanistan etc.; and why the Tory way is wrong. Having spennt so long electing a leader we have been overtaken by events.

  23. David Taylor

    "an Obama-esque approach which avoided triangulation &instead found middle ground" @leftfootfwd review EM speech http://bit.ly/cQcgFq #Lab10

  24. Mick Hall

    Wednesday, 29 September 2010
    The Ed Miliband opposition, has clear blue water between its policies and that of the coalition government.

    more here


  25. Tony Ojolola

    Just as well I haven’t torn my membership card as I felt after writing a disparaging piece about ED in my blog(www.apostletone.blogspot.com)a couple of days ago. Listened to him with an open mind on Today (R4) this morning, and was quite impressed with him. Particularly liked him burying the ghost over Iraq. That was Labour at its worst.

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