Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Ed Miliband makes hard work of building his case in speech to business leaders
Donald Macintyre writes political sketches for The Independent, having been Jerusalem correspondent since 2004, covering Israel and the Occupied Territories, as well as travelling for the paper to Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Libya and Egypt. As Political Editor and then Chief Political Commentator, he previously covered the John Major and early Tony Blair era. He has written for the Daily Express, Sunday Times, Times and Sunday Telegraph, and Sunday Correspondent. He is the author of Mandelson and the Making of New Labour (2000).
Thursday 03 July 2014
As this summer’s other advertised attractions at the Science Museum’s IMAX cinema go, it was relatively low key. Not even the most ardent Labour supporter would describe Ed Miliband’s speech to business people today as an “extraordinary journey into the birthplace of the stars and beyond”.
Anyone expecting a full-on catfight between caricature capitalists and the man some suspect of being less pro-business than his two immediate predecessors would have been disappointed.
The speech was not so much boring as tiring. All those “challenges” – Miliband identified five of them but used the word 14 times. Reversing half a century’s failure to create a skilled workforce. Devising an industrial policy which fosters science, rebuilds infrastructure and ends “decades” of decentralisation. Ensuring long-termism in business. Reforming markets “in the public interest”. And stopping Britain “turning inwards”. They made you feel exhausted just to think about.
So it was just as well that Lord Adonis had already summarised some of this in a five-minute speech which made it all sound doable – while invoking the Victorians who had built the Science Museum out of the profits generated by the 1851 Great Exhibition.
One plus was that though Miliband adopted his free-wheeling stance with no visible notes, he was in fact teleprompted. This is good news. His tours de force at the party conference are one thing. But a party leader has better things to do with time than learn every “keynote” speech off by heart.
Another plus was that the passage declaring that he was not going “to follow others” by committing “to spending the next three years focusing on an EU referendum in 2017” drew three rounds of applause.
There is a nice irony here, which is that Unite leader Len McCluskey agrees with the Prime Minister about an EU referendum. And was praised for it in The Sun’s editorial.
Which means that Miliband can now boast more convincingly if he chooses to (as he didn’t today) that big Len will not call all the policy tunes.
Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent
"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 Jimmy Carr's Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 5 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery rumours: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
FCKH8: YouTube reinstates provocative anti-sexism video showing young girls swearing
Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: The Centre for Agroecology, ...