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?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Read Next
William Hague with his former special adviser, Christopher Myers  

Who needs special advisers? We all do

John Rentoul
Vivienne Westwood and her son Joe Corré deliver an anti-fracking letter to No 10 last week  

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

DJ Taylor
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick