The morning after the speech before
Ed M’s own verdict, given in private after his speech to members of his team, was that he didn’t get it right. He neither communicated with the nation particularly in a conversational TV-style nor with the hall in a speech short on clap-lines. He was “a bit low” about the big speech according to one who saw him last night in private.
In interviews this morning there was a bit of esprit d’escalier – slightly punchier lines than he managed in the speech. There was also some damage repair and rowing back. We were briefed that the levers of government would be used to incentivise “producers” and punish “predators.”
The speech itself talks about the tax system and regulation being tools available. This morning, Ed M was pulling his neck in a bit on this, the central thrust of his entire speech. One MP close to the leader said the team recognised that putting something that wasn’t “cooked” in policy terms at the heart of the speech was a mistake. Ed M today was talking about it all in more general, aspirational terms.
You can see Jon Snow’s interview with the Labour leader tonight. It’s particularly interesting on whether the self-proclaimed ripper-up of the rule book intends to carry on negotiating a £1m donation from Andrew Rosenfeld, who only recently returned to the UK from Geneva and was criticised for refusing to accept responsibility for a pension deficit at Allders even though he had a chunky stake in the firm (you can read a bit about it all in today’s FT).
Ed M says that on this donation he is playing it all by the rules: “we are not flouting the rules.” Hmm. Not ripping up the rules exactly? The predator/producer check will be run very tightly by the media on who donates from corporate Britain to the Labour Party in future. Also who advises and who endorses.
In answer to the question “When did you last speak to Gordon Brown?” Ed M says he spoke to him a few weeks ago (I suspect contact with Tony Blair goes back quite a bit before then). Ed M says he’s taken a big risk with his speech and “let the chips fall where they may”.
Not quite the rousing conference clarion call leaders normally give. But then he’s a different kind of leader and it was a different kind of speech.
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