Ed Miliband needed to give a leader’s speech that appealed on the doorstep, to unions, and catapulted him into the public’s imagination as a prime minister in waiting.
With a well-received, noteless, hour-long speech, Miliband might just have done it. Our team of leading Labour writers and thinkers asses how he did.
Ellie Mae O'Hagan, organiser for Unite and Guardian columnist 2.5/5
"I think it cemented his position as leader. He'll definitely lead Labour into the 2015 election now. It showed he was relaxed and personable and self effacing. He bashed the tories but at the end of the day he pledge to carry on with the cuts. So what is he here for? There's an alternative out there.
"I was so disappointed not to hear him say he would reverse the cuts. At the end of the day people don't care about Murdoch and the banks, they care about their lives and futures."
Anthony Painter: Labour activist and think-tanker 4.5/5
"I thought was an incredibly strong speech actually. I think it was a well-delivered speech. I thought the theme was a very powerful one.
"Does it fundamentally address Labour's weaknesses? Probably not but it does remind people about Labour's strengths. People will be better able to relate to him out of that."
Well, of course his wife liked it
Rowenna Davis, writer and Labour councillor 4/5
"This was the sound of a man who is starting to believe in himself. He laid out some strong radical ideas on vocational education and breaking up the banks. But he also delivered a real emotional connection with the audience. He proved that Labour can talk about patriotism, family, faith and hard work and still be true to its values.
"It is exactly what I thought was needed, I am still slightly concerned that the rhetoric is more ambitious than the policy ideas we've been given.
"In 2010 it was considered impossible. In 2011 it was improbable. After today it just might be possible."
Mark Ferguson, editor of Labourlist 3.5/5
"It was clearly a very impressive speech. It was a brilliant speech to do something like that without notes but my concern is I still don't have something I can take home to the doorstep."
Will Straw, Associate Director, IPPR 4.5/5
"One Nation is absolutely the right argument. A very positive way of setting out his vision and setting a clear division with the Tories.
"He definitely projected leadership, in a way he's not done before. he was very clear about what he wanted to take on, including the banking sector. he didn't take on the fiscal crunch but he has done that at other points this week. Ed Balls did that yesterday. I think the only criticism would be a criticism of omission.
"As a political strategy One Nation is inspired because it's a positive way of framing the divide with the Tories but it will still need some work on the doorstep."
My verdict: 4/5
It took forty minutes before we got to a policy but it was a speech so well-delivered I barely noticed. The talk at conference is about how impressive it was that he spoke for so long without notes (and without boring journalists.) Last year, from the moment Ed delivered his speech it was almost like a cloud of gloom descended over conference. This year, the atmosphere has perked up.
The only problem with Ed's delivery were his hand gestures - at times I thought he was waving an invisible lasso. The 'One Nation' message (which is very Blue Labour) could also be difficult to resonate with voters - it was always the part of A-level politics I could never understand. Having said that, my colleague Ned pointed out to me it's better than 'predistribution.' There's no meat yet but that's the point - the policies will come in the next few years. First let's get to know the man.
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