Posts Tagged ‘leader’s speech. Labour conference 2011’

Leader’s speech preview II: holding our breath

26/09/2011, 01:00:05 PM

by Rob Marchant

Let’s get things straight. This is not a make-or-break speech (very few are, as John Rentoul recently pointed out). Only a small number of people, apart from the political media and the usual political anoraks, may even pay this speech much attention, for reasons which are, to be fair, not Ed’s fault at all.

To wit: we are a quarter-way through a now-stable electoral cycle; all three main leaders and the government look secure. Labour is highly unlikely to form a government before 2015 and quite conceivably not even then. Many journalists, in the unusual situation of coalition, perceive that the Lib Dems are providing as much of an opposition function within government as Labour are without it, and often pay more attention to their words (as they are more likely to have a direct effect on outcomes) than those of Labour.

Oh, and there’s the little thing of a major European and world economic crisis occupying the news bulletins.

So, what is the real significance of this speech? First, it’s Ed’s first “proper” conference speech as leader – it’s clear that last year’s didn’t count, being all of two days after his election as leader, except as a thank you and a rough statement of intent – and this time people will expect him to set out his stall. Second, and more importantly, as Paul Richards points out over at Progress, the issue overshadowing this conference is that not just Europe’s economy, but the world’s economy, is looking distinctly vulnerable. So everything will be viewed through that prism and it is important to be wise to that.


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