Posts Tagged ‘Progress annual conferemce’

The Sunday review on Monday: Ed Miliband’s speech and Phil Collins’ hook at the Progress conference

14/05/2012, 07:00:07 AM

by Jonathan Todd

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be Ed Miliband was very heaven.

Rejection of our Tory government has given us 824 new Labour councillors. Rejection of austerity by French and Greek voters presages a new chapter in Europe’s history. Everything seems to be moving in Miliband’s direction. He said this would be a one-term government and maybe it just might.

He began as leader by talking about the squeezed middle and was derided for doing so – but not now. As Alison McGovern noted, when introducing him as key note speaker to the Progress annual conference on Saturday, squeezed middle was the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of 2011. Just as it is undoubtedly worrying that the definitive English dictionary conflates the plural with the singular, even if these two words demonstrate our leader’s capacity to capture the zeitgeist, so too the potency of Miliband’s omnishambles line has been undeniable. No wonder Mary Riddell told the conference: “Ed Miliband has proved himself to be so far ahead of public opinion.”

A new dawn has broken, has it not?

Phil Collins opened his remarks to the conference with this quip. And the sun was shining on Saturday. But it was chillier in the sun than might have been expected.

Collins suspects the Tories will try to turn the general election into a leadership referendum. Recent polling gives some support to this view. He also expressed a “slight worry that the return of growth will let Labour off the hook of answering the key question: What does it mean to be Labour when there is no money?” We’ll need a return to growth, which seems elusive, before that becomes a live concern. But there are several crucial points here.

First, the possibility of pro-growth rhetoric, rather than the reality of growth, creating a false sense that Labour can get off Collins’ hook.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon