Tuesday, 28 September 2010

New Labour to the New Generation – What a great gimmick!”


The Leaders speech at the Labour Party conference is always an occasion for the delegates, press and political pundits alike. And a new Leaders first speech is that defining moment he arrived the party began."  I remember Tony Blair’s first speech to conference, when he started to unveil his New Labour project, the jettison of clause 4, part 4 of the then party constitution, the fundamental political principle which had up till then defined and clearly characterized its mission – if not always to its leaders, but to the broad membership. I was at the conference where to all those assembled Blair made clear that he intended to rip up and rip out, as if something encumbering, had from his view to be cast aside, cast away!” The rest as they always say became history and New Labour was delivered.

So now the Labour Party fraternity 16 years and two months on from the election of a Leader who changed the Labour Party as millions had come to understand, know and rely upon it; was addressed today by a new Leader chosen in one of the closest almost cliff hanging finish’s ever staged in its whole history.

How then did Ed Miliband’s first conference speech scrub-up, what was it about and who was he reaching out to, what change if any could be seen from this his very beginning?

I missed the first few bars, which was about the first ten minutes of his speech, but joined it where he said that he was so honoured that the party had chose him to lead them. So I missed all the family background stuff that leaders like to wax lyrical about, remembering that Brown used to rumble and ramble on about his ‘missis’ and the Scottish upbringing, of his father, a minister of the Church of Scotland and a strong influence on his life, you know all that guff as if feeding cattle the fodder, but it never hit the trait of sincerity with me, it really did fall short.

Having read now the full text of Mr. Ed’s speech, I can understand why he built the picture and felt he had to build in peoples minds a visual representation of his own life and family background. The camera shots that I observed of the delegates, gave me the impression that some delegates were still really not that happy that he was king and not David; and whether this evaporates, and he is able to reach out to the membership in the time that lies ahead of him, remains to be seen.

However I did like his reminder about his Dad the late Marxist theorist Ralph Miliband and what he said of him: that not everyone has a dad who wrote a book saying he didn't believe in the Parliamentary road to socialism.  

What is it about some generations, when they turn their noses up at their poor old parents?”

And the generation thing that Mr. Ed is clutching, kept reoccurring as the theme, melodic like, constituting or characterized he must have thought, a pleasing melody to win over the doubting Thomas.

“Conference, I stand here today ready to lead: a new generation now leading Labour.”

And then:

“Be in no doubt. The new generation of Labour is different. Different attitudes, different ideas, different ways of doing politics.”

Well whatever all that means I don’t really know, but possibly a break from the Blair, Brown years of arrogance and bitter rivalries so unrestrained, which came to underscore them New Labour years. So have we now moved from New Labour to the New Generation?

It was interesting that the conference set had a glow of red about it, and that projected upon the walls was the images of the Red Rose. Not of course that this in the least means anything, but I do think that it indicates Ed making that break with the past, a break from the Cain and Abel politics that have dominated the top tear of the Labour Leadership for over a decade.

The image of Labour maybe changing then, but I am very certain that it’s content and approach to running capitalism will not. This was spelt out when the new leader said he supports a future where the small businesses and entrepreneurs can be the lifeblood of our economy, David Cameron will be telling us the same thing next week from their do!" 

Although I would like to know what those remaining few socialists in the Labour Party think of Ed’s reference to clause 4 when he said that it was right to get rid of it under New Labour.”

So on a quick refection then, I think that the new leader gave a good performance and-that's all it was, he has lots of work to do in winning over many within his party, but at the end of the day it really is business as usual from Britain’s second party of capitalism, with a new leader and from New Labour to the New Generation – what a great gimmick!”  

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