It was the moment we'd all been waiting for. Possibly.
The build up to Ed Miliband's speech is palpable, like that time I had to stay at home to wait for delivery of a box of tiles. #labconf14— Dean Burnett (@garwboy) September 23, 2014
And it was going to be epic:
Very excited about the Ed Miliband speech. Apparently it's going to be autotuned LIVE!— Moose Allain (@MooseAllain) September 23, 2014
Ed Miliband speaking for 80 minutes without any notes. Either means he's a genius or a lunatic being fed lines by an invisible rabbit— Tim Stanley (@timothy_stanley) September 23, 2014
I am slightly in awe of people who can remember an 80 minute speech when I can barely remember my own phone number #lab14— Tom King (@tomilo) September 23, 2014
Apparently Ed Milliband's going to do the whole of side 1 of The Hounds Of Love.— Matt Leys (@mattleys) September 23, 2014
Ed Miliband is expected to close his speech with a rallying cry of "three tits for everyone!", critically misjudging the audience.— Noun (@ncguk) September 23, 2014
Yes, Ed Miliband took to the stage at the Labour party conference in Manchester today and it quickly became clear that there was a theme. And that theme was: real conversations. With real people. In real parks.
Ed Miliband: "I met a real person the other day, and do you know, that kind of makes me a real person too doesn't it?"September 23, 2014
"The other day I was in the park." EdM. Did the Tories write this?— John Rentoul (@JohnRentoul) September 23, 2014
Miliband seems to meet a lot of people with very conveniently articulated views in parks. #lab14— Svenja O'Donnell (@SvenjaODonnell) September 23, 2014
Imagine Ed Miliband coming over in a park. Imagine it.
"He's coming over."
"He is, too."
"He'll put us in his speech."
"Shit."— Hugo Rifkind (@hugorifkind) September 23, 2014
Does Ed Miliband’s wife know that he hangs about parks in London on his own?— stuart braithwaite (@plasmatron) September 23, 2014
This is basically a list of young women that Ed's met recently. Four so far.— James Manning (@JamesManning4) September 23, 2014
Is Miliband giving a speech or playing Guess Who? He's just describing a list of people. "Does she like politics?" "Is she a chef?"— The Media Blog (@TheMediaTweets) September 23, 2014
As the only person in the country who apparently hasn't met @Ed_Miliband I could have told him what to do with himself...— Sir Ian Bowler, MP (@sirianbowlermp) September 23, 2014
Between now and the General Election, every one of us can expect to be randomly consulted by Ed Miliband about what he should do. #Lab14— Nigel Fletcher (@nigelfletcher) September 23, 2014
I've seen Ed Miliband meeting people. They swore at him, called him a liar, and trapped him up against the window of Claire's Accessories— Michael Deacon (@MichaelPDeacon) September 23, 2014
Did you meet Ed Miliband in a park this week? If so, get in touch...— The Sun (@TheSunNewspaper) September 23, 2014
Chief among these people was Gareth. Gareth, who got more than one mention:
'Earlier on I mentioned Gareth, who works at a software company'. Thanks for the reminder Ed #Lab14— Asa Bennett (@asabenn) September 23, 2014
Tell us more about Gareth. #Lab14— Andrew Mueller (@andrew_mueller) September 23, 2014
"Gareth! Gareth! You just got a callback, son!"— Ian Martin (@IanMartin) September 23, 2014
@thei100 Are two of them Gareth?— HuffPost UK Comedy (@HuffPostUKCom) September 23, 2014
Gareth currently exists in the same state as Schroedinger's cat: alive in the speech and yet not real— Tim Shipman (@ShippersUnbound) September 23, 2014
I feel I know "Gareth" better than members of my own family. Which is doubly weird as he is a figment of Ed Miliband's imagination.— Matt Bellotti (@MCMattSally) September 23, 2014
I am Gareth— Keri (@kerihw) September 23, 2014
Dear news orgs, I am willing to be interviewed about Ed Miliband!— Gareth (@ggbourne) September 23, 2014
But Gareth gave way to Elizabeth - the apprentice who Ed had not only met but also brought to the hall:
Elizabeth just sh*t herself. She wasn’t expecting that. They didn’t rehearse it. “Where are you? Stand up” aaaaargh!— Rory Bremner (@rorybremner) September 23, 2014
Hang on, did the Elizabeth section involve asking her to stand up, and nothing else?— James Sherwood (@SherwoodJam) September 23, 2014
As a result, it was 'Gareth' and 'Elizabeth' that trended on Twitter, rather than Ed's intended buzzword: 'together'.
'Together we can': It's like a Barack Obama speech if they'd stuffed him full of valium and locked him in a cupboard #Lab14— Ian Dunt (@IanDunt) September 23, 2014
"Together! We can... " Ed Miliband channeling the Pet Shop Boys here in Manchester— steve hawkes (@steve_hawkes) September 23, 2014
Are Labour plonking with slogan "Together we can"? Together we can what? Go to the pub? Disappoint? Abseil with an otter? Invade France?— Jonathan Cresswell (@JonathanEx) September 23, 2014
EM speech still not in synch. Can’t help thinking sound and picture would be Better Together.— Rory Bremner (@rorybremner) September 23, 2014
Ed Miliband is currently reciting the little known 7th verse of Go West
'Together something la la la
Together yada yada ya etc'— Mat-a-tat-tat (@MatofKilburnia) September 23, 2014
Then there was the matter of Ed's list of 'national goals':
WAIT! Third national goal? WHAT WERE THE FIRST TWO?— Hugo Rifkind (@hugorifkind) September 23, 2014
@hugorifkind Oh shit and now we're up to 5 and I completely missed 4— Tracey Thorn (@tracey_thorn) September 23, 2014
His fifth national goal will be to reinstate the traffic cone hotline.— Steve (@steveindisguise) September 23, 2014
The natives were getting restless:
This is like a Pink Floyd track. I enjoyed the opening passages but now I want to press the skip button. #lab14— Stephen Bush (@stephenkb) September 23, 2014
I'm not saying Ed Miliband's going on a bit, but Fidel Castro has just done an ostentatious yawn.— David Whitley (@mrdavidwhitley) September 23, 2014
Ed Miliband has done a wonderful thing today. He's shown the nation that stand-up is much harder than it looks.— Oonagh (@Okeating) September 23, 2014
Miliband appears to have mistaken this for The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club. Tell us the one about yer mother-in-law, Ed!— Sarah Dempster (@Dempster2000) September 23, 2014
Needs more street dancing #Miliband— Ed Morrish (@edmorrish) September 23, 2014
Is Ed's plan just to keep talking till May 2015 so no one else can get any policies in? Is it like a mega filibuster? #Lab14— Tiernan Douieb (@TiernanDouieb) September 23, 2014
Can't remember a single thing he's said, apart from Gareth— Chris Deerin (@chrisdeerin) September 23, 2014
He'd better end with a stonker of a joke.— Gary Bainbridge (@Gary_Bainbridge) September 23, 2014
Ed Miliband tries to eat a peanut, but just keeps talking and never gets around to it... https://t.co/xS004YxVcg— Media Attention. (@ukcameraman) September 23, 2014
But if you thought the Twitter crowd was being tough on Ed, the audience in Manchester was proving to be hard work, too:
"Can the Tories be the answer?" ... "Hello? Is this thing on?"— Ned Simons (@nedsimons) September 23, 2014
Ed Miliband is driving the Labour Conference into a frenzy of tepid applause.— The_No_Show (@The_No_Show) September 23, 2014
Wouldn't want to suggest the audience isn't listening, but a Labour leader has just had to say "our brilliant NHS" twice before they clapped— Michael Deacon (@MichaelPDeacon) September 23, 2014
"You're on your own."
"'You're on your own' doesn't work..."
RT @jamesrbuk: TERRIBLE APPLAUSE BREAK THERE.— Alex Wickham (@WikiGuido) September 23, 2014
"Labour Leader Startled When Joke Falls Flat Due To Audience's Lack of Intimate Familiarity With Specifics of Venezuelan Socialism"— Hugo Rifkind (@hugorifkind) September 23, 2014
"Penis!" blurts Ed, from nowhere. The room does not stir. "Haha, got away with that!" He jokes. The room does not stir. Ed taps the mic.— Thom (@MrMoth) September 23, 2014
But the biggest insult? Another speech began halfway through Ed's. And that was that...
Sky News has cut away from Ed Miliband for Barack Obama.— Jonathan Haynes (@JonathanHaynes) September 23, 2014
Not even a split screen— Chris Deerin (@chrisdeerin) September 23, 2014
Obama’s speech starts. “I met a fella called Gareth…"— SimonNRicketts (@SimonNRicketts) September 23, 2014
Just turned on my twitter, have I got this right, Obama has announced we're at war with someone called Gareth?— tom jamieson (@jamiesont) September 23, 2014