Labour delegates were clearly out late last night, as it took them quite a while to get going this morning. It was only when Unite general secretary Len McCluskey took to the stage in the conference hall that there was a resounding round of applause for the first time in several hours. He even garnered cheers from delegates, and a small standing ovation when he sat down from one block of seats in the hall. The reason? McCluskey was continuing his hunt for cuckoos in the Labour nest, urging Ed Miliband to abandon the policies of his New Labour predecessors.
The biggest cheer from the floor came when he said this:
‘We can tell the country that the next Labour government – the one all the polls are telling us people desperately want – will act. That it will be different from the present class war Conservative-led administration, which is leading the country on a path to poverty. And that it will be different from the last Labour government, which put too much faith in an unregulated City and allowed inequality to worsen.’
He then told Ed Miliband to ‘reject the siren voices’, saying it was ‘time for Labour to once-and-for-all turn its back on the neo-liberalism of the past’. Doing this would be the ‘only way’ that Labour will return to government. Ed Balls is speaking now: will he respond to these calls, especially as McCluskey was speaking in support of a motion opposing Labour’s support for the public sector pay freeze?