The Leader of the Opposition and the Labour Party, Ed Miliband MP had come to give the annual address to conference.
It was at times a bit of roller coaster reception for him. Mind you far more applause than heckles. A very self confident and assured presentation that just about managed (I think) not to condemn future strike action over The “cuts” and Public pensions as a last resort but did criticise the recent one day strike on the grounds that negotiations were still ongoing. He is one of those very annoying people who can make long speeches with only occasional glances at his notes. He is more thick skinned than I thought. He thinks he is right, he expected to be given a hard time at Congress and while he hopes he can persuade us that he is right, if not, so be it.
He’ll now be able to show the Daily Hates that he can stand up to the unions while still come up with some potentially radical “Red Ed” policy statements. He will resist any attempt to break the Labour Link to the trade unions; The Tories have forgotten you cannot cut your way out of a recession; every large company should have a employee representative on their Board’s remuneration committee; those who caused the recession should pay their fair share; further Bankers tax and Yes to a (Robin Hood) Tobin Tax.
It’s the “shared values” and “there is more that unites us than divides us” that was his key message to this audience. Especially when compared with his examples of Tory shared values – cuts that are too far and too fast while they chomp on the bit on tax cuts for the rich and making it much easier to sack people.
I think he got the message back in the form of the question to him from UNISON delegate Mary Locke. "Public sector workers feel that they are under attack from all sides - jobs cut, pay frozen and pensions worsened. A lot of the time it feels that we get a worse press that the bankers who caused the economic crisis. Many of us here have always stuck by the party. So, what can Labour do now in Parliament and in the media to stick up for us?"