The first really big applause line in Ed Miliband’s Leader’s Speech this afternoon was his affirmation that he would be true to himself, his own instincts and values. And the big roar of approval came when he said:
“You know, I’m not Tony Blair.
I’m not Gordon Brown either.
Great men, who in their different ways, achieved great things.
I’m my own man.”
And then later he brought the Conference to its feet with a mid-speech standing ovation following a passage on the NHS:
“There is no greater public interest than our National Health Service.
Cherished by all of us. Founded by Labour. Saved by Labour. Today defended by Labour once again.
Why does Britain care so much for the NHS? Because, more than any other institution in our country, the values of the NHS are our values. It doesn’t matter who you are. Or what you earn. The NHS offers the highest quality care when we need it. ….
And when I look at everything this Tory Government is doing, it is the NHS that shocks me most.
Why? Because David Cameron told us he was different. You remember. The posters. The soundbites. David Cameron knew the British people did not trust the Tories with our NHS. So he told us he wasn’t the usual type of Tory. And he asked for your trust.
And then he got into Downing Street. And within a year – within a year – he’d gone back on every word he’d said.
No more top-down reorganisations? He betrayed your trust.
No more hospital closures? He betrayed your trust.
No more long waits? He betrayed your trust.
And the biggest betrayal of all? The values of the NHS. Britain’s values. The values he promised to protect. Betrayed.
Hospitals to be fined millions of pounds if they break the rules of David Cameron’s free-market healthcare system. The old values that have failed our economy now being imported to our most prized institution: the NHS.
Let me tell David Cameron this. It is the oldest truth in politics. He knows it and the public knows it.
YOU CAN’T TRUST THE TORIES WITH THE NHS.”
The Conference loved it. It is the sort of stuff that will reinvigorate the Party and the Party’s base.
And that after all is the first step to winning in 2015.