You are on page 1of 2

Political Intelligence Briefing - Miliband to the floor #lab13

There isnt a great level of positive media attention stemming from the Labour Party Conference in Brighton this week. Proceedings continue to be over shadowed by the Damien McBride revelations and the constant question how much did everybody know?. Miliband has been quick to disassociate himself from the latest stories of party in-fighting towards the end of Gordon Browns tenure. He stated that its a matter of public record I was concerned about the activities of Damian McBride and, indeed, I complained to Gordon Brown about it. This hasnt stemmed the tide of criticism and cynicism. Further criticism has rained down on Labours most recent immigration policy. The policy would require all companies hiring a non-EU employee to create an apprenticeship for a British citizen, though in reality these apprenticeships would be open to all EU citizens. It has already picked up the unpopular title of the apprentice tax, though perhaps foreign workers tax would be a more accurate title. To make matters worse, Milibands performance on yesterdays Andrew Marr show did little to convince would-be voters of his credentials to lead the country. Talking around issues rather than addressing anything head-on, the shadow leader appeared uncertain and non-committal with answers such as, that's something we are going to look at," or an explanation that they will set out their plans at the next election. This spurred on critics to suggest that he really has no policies to speak of. It would be easy to look at much of the recent coverage and come to a predictably gloomy conclusion. However, Miliband can draw on his experience of past conferences to suggest all is not lost. If we remember this time last year, expectations were similarly low with even his own supporters were surprised by the impact he managed to deliver with his One nation address. This attempt to reclaim the centre ground together with the personal and relaxed manner in which he delivered his speech brought praise from all sides. The set piece speech suits Miliband and so it would be wise not to underestimated the Labour leader. So can he do the same again? He has actually set himself a high benchmark from 2012. The excitement surrounding One Nation ebbed away as Labour failed to deliver coherent policy proposals to move its ideas forward and people need something more concrete to support as the election looms eighteen months down the road. Today the party took the first step in undercutting these critics by announcing various policies during Ed Balls speech. Amongst them were a number of key policies, such as the Compulsory Jobs Guarantee, pledging a paid job for the unemployed after a year for young people, or two years for adults. Similarly, the promise of
23 September 2013 Page 1

childcare being offered by primary schools for the length of the working day and an increase in the hours of free childcare for young families, demonstrated Labours commitment to jobs and families. The key demand from Labour supporters is to see genuine leadership from their party leader and so it will be interesting to see if they have withheld some other policy nuggets for tomorrows speech. This is more than likely because if Miliband expects to change opinions (and headlines), tomorrows speech needs to go beyond broad aims and ideas in order to convince the floating voters and show he can set and shape the agenda ahead of 2015.

23 September 2013 Page 2