Three things puzzled me about Ed Miliband’s conference speech yesterday. First, I
didn’t understand why Miliband did not attack Cameron for having talked about the need for ‘moral
capitalism’ and then have not delivered it. It would have been far harder for Miliband’s speech to be caricatured as left wing if he had pointed out that Cameron had promised
‘to place the market within a moral framework – even if that means standing up to companies who make life harder for parents and families’ – and then not delivered on that pledge.
The second thing was the absence of any policy at all. Any shadow minister sent out to defend the speech was, inevitably, going to be asked what it meant in practice and the absence of any policy
detail left them looking foolish. Again a raid on Tory territory could have helped Miliband. He could simply have picked up George Osborne’s old idea for "http://%20http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/article-1197204/Tories-debt-tax-plan-vandalism-say-private-equity-bosses.html">ending the favourable tax treatment of debt which would make it far
harder for private equity firms to do buy-outs.
Third, there was the presentation. Speaking behind a lectern does Miliband no favours. He is never going to look more conventionally Prime Ministerial than Cameron. Rather, he needs to emphasise
his youthful energy. He’d have been far better off yesterday pacing the stage in his shirtsleeves, as he did when he announced his intention to run for Labour leader, than stuck uncomfortably
behind a lectern.