Ed Miliband needed to make a big impact in his speech to the Labour Party Conference. He did not do this for me, as you can see in my instant critique on the politics.co.uk website.
The speech had far too much stale politician-language – especially in the peroration, where he most needed to stir hearts and fill minds. “Fulfilling the promise of Britain … a new bargain”. Whose heart beat faster at these vapid phrases? Who remembered them afterwards?
The speech failed to make an emotional connection with its audience either in the hall or with the more important one outside it. Why?
One major reason was that far too much of it was expressed in negative terms. Time and time again, Ed Miliband defined himself by what he was against, or who he was not, or what he was not going to do. Negative statements invariably have far less colour and drama than positive ones, and in Miliband’s speech their proliferation left vital questions unanswered: what are you for, who are you, and what are you going to do?