James Forsyth

A contest that sets brother against brother

A contest that sets brother against brother
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Ed Miliband was on impressive form at the Fabian Society conference this morning. Early on, he defused the tension over the fact that he was running against his brother with a well-delivered joke about how, given her politics, he his mother would be voting for Jon Cruddas. Throughout he showed a real lightness of touch when addressing the brother against brother question.

After today, there can be little doubt that Ed Miliband is running as the candidate of the soft left of the Labour party. He claimed that ‘the state can do extraordinary things’, said that New Labour’s’ ‘combination of free markets plus redistribution’ had reached the end of the road, and argued that the Labour party needs to talk about class more.

One interesting thing was how consistently critical he was of Labour’s deal with the financial services industry. The architect of that deal was, of course, Ed Balls who is likely to be one of Ed Miliband’s rivals for the vote of the soft left in this contest.

This was an audience that wanted to like him. But Ed Miliband’s delivery today was impressive. He did the whole no notes, walking the stage thing but it didn’t seem forced or Cameron-lite. He talks left but doesn’t seem angry or scary. He will be much more than just the second Miliband in this contest.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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