Skip to Content

Coffee House

Ed’s “something for something" society

27 September 2011

7:00 AM

27 September 2011

7:00 AM

Fraser’s already commented on the welfare angle of Ed Miliband’s keynote speech to the Labour party; the welfare proposals
are part of a broad analytical sweep that can be reduced to the catchphrase, ‘the something for something society’. Miliband’s vision of society will reward those who work and
abide by the rules at the expense of those who do not – those who loot, who fiddle expenses, those who pursue short-termism in business. According to the Guardian, he will also emphasise the importance of social mobility and equality. To
that end, he will encourage universities to take more people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Society and government should stand up for those who are being engulfed by what Miliband has termed the
“quiet crisis”.

The speech is, of course, vital. Miliband has failed to connect with his party struggling to make poll breakthrough, with only one four voters believing him to be a credible prime minister in
waiting according to the latest ComRes poll. This exposes Miliband’s
failure to connect with ordinary voters. The trick of any conference speech is to speak at the assembled delegates but not to them. Miliband’s “something for something” society is
a pitch to the audience outside the hall, assuming there is one. Throughout this conference, Tessa Jowell and Hazel Blears have been warning that, at this stage of the electoral cycle and after
last year’s election drubbing, the public is not yet listening to Labour. Miliband may have to tread water a while longer.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments


The Spectator Comment Policy

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.