Ed's Vision for Britain

Today we saw a speech that was in all aspects the speech of a leader. A Labour Leader.

Ed Miliband connected with everyone in the auditorium, as he demonstrated, without a doubt, why the next Government should be a Labour Government, with Ed as Prime Minister.

It was a speech of the personal and the policy, of politics and personality. As Ed explained his vision of 'One Nation' he told the members;

"We must be the party of the private sector just as much as the party of the public sector. As much the party of the small business struggling against the odds as the home help struggling against the cuts. We must be the party of south just as much as the party of the north. We must be the party as much of the squeezed middle as of those in poverty. There is no future for this party as the party of one sectional interest of our country."

- A unified approach from a unified Labour Party.

It was also good to see Ed come out fighting and saying exactly what the public want to hear from the party leaders on banking. This wasn't just a policy announcement, this was Ed effectively rolling his sleeves up and asking the banks to 'step outside' - the public can be in no doubt about Labour taking strong and definitive action on banks; if they don't sort themselves out ahead of a Labour Government coming to power.

The NHS featured strongly with Ed reiterating the place the National Health Service holds within our society, it is founded on Labour principles and he confirmed that the next Labour Government will return those principles back to the heart of the NHS.

The whole hall echoed with applause as Ed reminded us of what we knew all along: "You can't trust the Tories with the NHS!"

Further, to more applause, he repeated what he has said in recent interviews, the next Labour Government will repeal the Health and Social Care Bill.

There were, in amongst the serious moments, several comedy moments, with Gove and Cameron being booed and Ed showing the personality that some elements within the media would have the public believe was lacking.

Further policy announcements included the awarding of public contracts to businesses, which would only go to firms offering apprenticeships. This would back up an education system that was working to get young people to leave school and college with relevant, transferable skills.

Ed told conference that it is now time to focus on "the forgotten 50%" - those who do not go on to university.

A Labour Government would offer those pupils English and maths until they are eighteen, as well as courses that are relevant to the modern workforce and lead to a qualification they can be proud of - a technical baccalaureate.

It is important that vocational qualifications are seen as just as valuable as a degree.

The elderly, disabled and unemployed all featured in the speech too, with a commitment to greater fairness and equality.
Ed was clear, a Labour Government would NEVER give a tax cut to millionaires while raising taxes for ordinary people.

"Those with the broadest shoulders will always bear the greatest burden."

Obviously, in a speech that lasted over an hour - and was delivered without notes - there was much for members, trade unions, the media and the public to consider. Overall, I believe it was an excellent speech; it had all the elements that a good conference speech should have. Ed certainly didn't shy away from any of the big issues and firmly set out the stall of both Labour and himself.

This speech laid out quite clearly, the benefits of a Labour Government for Barnsley Central. I look forward to hearing the response from my constituents when I am out campaigning over the next few weeks.

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