From the party conference: Miliband will be seeking a departure from the past

Security arrangements are low profile, the Big Beasts are avoiding the limelight in the McBride fall-out, the fast-changing, delegate-free nature of conferences and the proximity to London, which means many are travelling this morning, all contribute to a Sunday scene at Brighton that was less raucous than past years.

Picture Credit: Thinkstock
Picture Credit: Thinkstock

The Opposition Leader set the tone on the Marr show yesterday when he arrived empty-handed and determinedly avoided any accidental policy commitments, leaving Marr struggling to elicit content and the lobby generally commenting negatively.

Today, we can hope for juicy morsels on immigration (turning the tables on exploitative firms), minimum wage (trailed on Marr yesterday and elsewhere), OBR auditing (half-denied already), bedroom tax and taxing higher earners.

The overall theme will be the cost of living and a heartfelt commitment to equality that chimes with the mood of our times.

But the greatest achievement for Miliband’s team will be to somehow flip the rows about union funding and McBride’s black arts, which dominate the headlines and the bar-room tittle tattle, into a solid departure from the past.

For example, Clegg’s team where able to use conference to significantly damage Vince Cable’s counter-narrative and put the Social Democrat wing of the party "back in their box", at least for the moment.

After a seemingly rocky start, the Deputy Prime Minister ended the winner of the week.

Miliband’s team will be seeking to pivot on this week’s conference to similar effect.

James Bethell is director at Westbourne Communications

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