Simon Carr:

The Sketch: Ed followed tradition in finding new ways to be obnoxious to unions

 

Share
Related Topics

Friends. Or colleagues. Or you crazy fat losers in the audience. Looking around, one question demands an answer. When's the last bus to the hospice? Ka-zing! (Makes six-gun gesture with his hands). It was a JOKE – don't all heckle at once: I'll need a gas mask. I've got one word for you guys and it's not 'modernise' it's 'mouthwash'! Ka-zing!"

Every Labour leader seeks new ways of being obnoxious to the TUC. Ed went in and told them their "biggest challenge was relevance", that they only had 15 per cent of private-sector workers and he told them what their real role was. "Your real role is..." he said.

That was a pretty good effort.

He referred to some exploited women who'd joined a union. "You might think what chance did they have against the most powerful company in the world, but you'd be wrong!" Just to go over that again. He was saying to the TUC that the TUC would have assumed there was no point in joining a union because unions were irrelevant – and that this was a wrong thing to think. "Let us applaud them for what they achieved!" Ed cried, into a baffled silence.

He's still a delight to watch; he's starting to do his own signing, though heaven knows what deaf people think he's saying with his widespread arms, like Freddy Krueger playing "Come Here Little Boy". The formal delivery still needs more work. He's got a yearning, pleading Sunday-sermon cadence like aggressive begging by Archbishop Rowan Williams. Oh, the relief when he stops speaking. And his text pumps out more than the usual flow-rate of political sewage about challenge, change and responsibility. So, as ever, much done, much to do.

Occasional specific propositions – about that company Bombardier, and fighting the NHS Bill – got applause. But his rallying cry "meaningful negotiation to prevent further confrontation" had far too many syllables. It may have been more believable than "I understand your work in podiatry", as he said to one of them, but it has robbed them of half their recruiting proposition. It's modern life – see yesterday's remarks on Christianity without hell and capitalism without destruction.

But he got the row he was looking for by refusing to endorse the strikes and supporting academies and free schools. "I'm sorry people say 'Shame'," he said, quite untruthfully. To his credit, though, he did look steady under fire.





React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A pack of seagulls squabble over discarded food left on the beach at St Ives on July 28, 2015  

Number of urban seagulls in Britain nearly quadruples: Hide food and avoid chicks to stay in gulls’ good books

Tom Bawden
 

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen