The Sketch: Unctuous Ed lurched leftwards, his eyes blazing like lightbulbs

Click to follow
The Independent Online

How nice to see the Quiet Man back in politics again. The first model had presented itself to the nation as an interim Tory leader. This time it was the interim Ed Miliband. It suits him.

Such a nice voice he has, at that volume; so sedative. He was the conference horse whisperer. He took a hold of their huge collective ear and murmured into its depths. Soothing things about the values he said they had. A little Soapy Sam in places, putting the children to bed in others. Certainly the applause was sleepy. But a great relief from his bellowing predecessor, and the passionate raving of the one before that.

And he looked better than he has done so far. Nice suit and posture. He kept his teeth under control – they can get away from him and start clattering like castanets. Only occasionally did his crescendo climax with his arm-and-wrist work, eyes blazing like lightbulbs. I glimpse a great war leader in those moments, as he denounces some loathsome group in society.

In content what did we have? Does it matter? There was one good line: the Tories believe you make poor people work hard by making them poorer – and rich people work hard by making them richer. For the rest it was bargain Britain – it's super value. And this is who I am (something about Nazis in there). "I am interested in winning back the trust of the British people!" (Back?) No more fast bucks (a chance would have been a fine thing). And your values are the values of Britain. Really? Private property, the Queen, and a scorn for grandiose social projects? Are they core Labour values?

And don't Brits distrust outsiders and dislike insiders – both of which he claimed to be?

Good luck to him. He's going to rip up the rule book, break the closed circles of Britain and create a something-for-something economy.

But anyone who rips up the rule book will need a much bigger rule book to replace it. If his speech meant anything, he is taking a big step to the left. So big that Harriet Harman will be deciding whether companies should get tax breaks for having a sustainably inclusive customer diversity base. Or something.

Comments