This afternoon marked the moment in history when Labour finally began to believe its own spin. Never in the field of conference politics was so much praise heaped upon so little inspiration by so many.
“Today we saw Ed the leader,” was clearly the script, and true to form several senior Labour luminaries said these very words like so many Stepford wives. Listening to them, I first of all wondered if they’d been watching the same speech as me, and then realised with a slight frisson that I was watching the process of mass delusion so common to barmy religious cults. Had the whole assembled gathering taken a death-pill in admiration of Ed the Miliband of Hope, you couldn’t have called it entirely unexpected.
There have of course been so many of these new dawns for Labour since the only asset they ever had was dragged screaming from the limelight to pursue new careers as estate agent, arms dealer, banker, after-dinner speaker and writer of blockbuster fiction. Gordon of Ourdoom was himself relaunched many times with speeches that weren’t half bad – speeches which became “mesmerising” once the cameras were on a senior delegate. But this effort from Mr Ed was well over half bad.
The speech was delivered competently. That’s it. As The Slog predicted yesterday, however, it became both bogged down and utterly directionless as as Miliband’s didactic style and high-spin moral compass set out to please several types of mad person. Where Blair was once a master illusionist, Labour’s new leader was a masturbating delusionist.
On the podium in front of him was last night’s late-night cobbled-together slogan, ‘A new generation for change’. Straight from the Labour Bollocks Mint, it showed that in fact nothing had changed, and this was almost certainly another Change We Can’t Believe In. People often take the mickey out of my former profession of advertising, but at least we knew when to give the client stern advice. My advice to the inventor of this effort would have been to take a course in current events, after first of all shutting up for the next five years at least.
He kicked off with lame jokes about people giving him advice about not wearing a red tie, after which it got steadily worse: back not forward, perhaps.
“We will pursue rigorous reform in a gradual manner” he began, “and not tackle deficits too quickly while spending to ensure that the cuts are spread out fairly in order to blur the focus of our economic strategy for full employment and an empty Exchequer. I will personally work to show that fleeing from the Nazis in order to be the sibling of my extraordinary brother was not in vain, and also to work day and night for everyone in this country who belongs to a Union, the land that gave so much to my parents and ensured that I, a simple Oxbridge intellectual, might one day lead this Party beyond awful New Labour and all its great achievements to another world where women must be a third of everything but the needs of real people like asylum seekers must be met by reaching out to the ordinary middle class people like me who don’t vote Labour any more and don’t get married but not forgetting our core support…..”
Actually, he didn’t say any of that, but he might as well have done. This afternoon I said to my wife Jan that if by some ghastly twist of fate this bloke winds up running Britain (and given what’s coming, this could so easily happen) then I’m selling up and leaving. She usually takes these things with a pinch of salt, but on this occasion she knew I meant it.
Surely no electorate could do such a thing, I hear you think. Wrong. Whatever you might make of Ed the Younger, he’s not as bad as Brown, and he’s exceedingly unlikely to call his core supporters bigots – even if Charlie Whelan, Jack Dromey and Harriet Harman are exactly that.
And now in the way of light relief, I can announce the results of The Slog’s What Can We Call Him contest that has had the nation gripped by torpor for the last three days. I shall announce the result backwards while wearing a wire-wool wig and a string of pearls.
While here in Slogger’s Roost we were particularly taken with Mildred, Ed Militant and The Other One, the surprise winner due to a late surge of Welsh Nationalist support is Captain Kayos, who suggested EdAche.