28 September 2010


Today I made a point of watching television coverage of the Labour Party Conference in Manchester. The new leader, Ed Miliband, delivered his keynote speech as his defeated brother, David, looked on. I have always voted Labour. It has never occurred to me to vote any other way as Labour is the party of welfare, free health care for all, decent educational provision for every one, local authority housing, the minimum wage and social justice. My vote is habitually a vote for decency, fairness and a squeezing of the gap between the haves and the have nots. Tactical voting is a total anathema to me. I have often tramped the streets delivering Labour Party leaflets. So naturally, I am interested in how Labour's doing at any particular time.
If I had had my choice it would have been David Miliband up there. I felt he had more of the aura of a true leader about him. Erudite, sharp and quietly confident, he would surely have ripped his Tory opponents to pieces in the House of Commons. Nonetheless, I must admit that Ed Miliband's opening performance was impressive. There was a certain dignity about his delivery and a clear command of the issues but there was also a passionate sense of Labour's democratic, campaigning history. He's only forty years old but that could be a big advantage in winning over younger voters. Perhaps he will grow on us. We will see. But in the meantime - if you're reading this blog Ed - good luck brother! As you said in your speech, this great country cannot allow the anti-social ConDem monster to be in office for more than one term. After all, the people's flag really is deepest red...


  1. You know I have to say it from over here across the pond: There is no such thing as "free health care for all"...What percentage of your earnings go (or went) to fund national programs? That is the true cost of "free" health care. I'm not saying that government shouldn't help those that need help. I'm just saying it isn't "free"....

  2. RHYMES Of course everything costs and in a way you are of course right but I don't resent the fact that every month of my working life I paid out a significant sum in National Insurance - not just for me and my family but for all British citizens. I call it civilisation and it emphasises what it means to be a member of a society - together, interdependent.

  3. Elizabeth4:48 am

    I echo YP's ethos.

    I once saw a piece of footage about a tribe of elephants in their natural habitat. The female members all supported a fellow female whilst she gave birth to a little one, helped to clean it and the mother up, encouraged its mouth towards the nipple. After a while, the other members of the tribe were introduced to the new arrival, but an elderly 'grandpa' was too lame and weak to walk across the clearing. Two younger elephants immediately went to him and acting as crutches, helped him to his feet and walked him across.

    Obviously, any illustration is finite, but it should be a natural, inate desire within us to love, support and care for each other. We aren't islands; we ARE woven together, sometimes in extraordinary ways and I don't believe that this dog-eat-dog mentally that pertains in our society was ever meant to be.

    That's not to say that the Labour party always gets the translation of those concerns right; its as fallible as any other party - but the deep-rooted concern for humanity and especially those who find it harder to get through life than others is still there at the historic core and as an ideal to reach for. x

  4. Elizabeth6:04 am

    *'mentality', that should be.

  5. From afar, with very little knowledge of either brother, it does seem a little "nasty" - after years of knowing David would stand to be the next leader, at the last moment his little brother stands and beats him!! I'm sure the Romans had a name for that!
    Doesn't exactly cheer me up either to see he got more Union-backing than Labour-members-backing. However, fair dues to him, let's give him the benefit of the doubt and hope that in 2014 he makes a great PM :)

  6. Rhymes is right of course: our health and other public services aren't free. The point is that we each contribute according to our means for equual access when we need it.

    I wasn't quite as positive about his keynote speech. It was okay, but tried to be everything to everyone in the party which is probably what you would expect at this stage. The big test will be across the dispatch box.

    My main reservation though was that some of his mannerisms of speech sounded a lot like Tony Blair.


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