Ed Miliband said most of the right things in his Labour conference address today. It was a speech that did a job—more than competently—but it did not inspire. And yet, to the relief of his audience, it also suggested that he might be able to inspire in the future.
He used his Jewish heritage to tell a compelling personal story and express an unforced patriotic attachment to Britain. There was plenty of north London, but perhaps a surprising amount of “Blue Labour” too: the stress on strong families (from the first unmarried father to lead the party), community, solidarity and even scepticism about mass immigration. He also said the right things on the deficit and put the unions in their place. With the exception of his Iraq apology, most of the speech could have been given by brother David—indeed it is very possible that it was mainly the speech David would have delivered.