At the conference in Manchester yesterday, the Labour leader spoke without notes and entirely from memory for more than an hour, in a highly personal speech.
Touching on his family's story of their experiences as Jewish immigrants fleeing the Nazis and making references to his young sons, Miliband said: ‘It is this upbringing that has made me who I am. A person of faith. Not a religious faith but a faith nonetheless.’
Weber Shandwick director of public affairs Alex Deane told PRWeek: ‘This was Miliband's best speech yet - by miles. He's distancing himself from Blair/Brown, but remaining in the mainstream centre, where he needs to be to win the election.
‘His big challenge will be resisting demands from the unions and some of his colleagues to go to the left – but he's well positioned to do that with this very good speech.’
Ketchum-Pleon MD of corporate and public affairs Jo-Ann Robertson said that the most significant thing about the speech was that it was ‘so heavily based’ on the core philosophy of Benjamin Disraeli, the founder of the modern-day Conservative Party.
‘In doing so Ed has made a massive political land grab and Cameron will be forced to chose between trying to defend that territory or appeasing his increasingly irritable backbenchers on the extreme right. In terms of style, this is the best speech Ed has delivered: what the voters need next is the substance.’
Writing for the Huffington Post, Cicero Consulting director and chief corporate counsel Iain Anderson said: ‘He went beyond the amorphous "fairness" so loved of the left and put a coherent philosophy together. It is just that philosophy has been owned elsewhere before.
‘He didn't do geek – he spoke in ways which will connect outside the party faithful – in a way many of us thought he could not do.’