Labour Party Conference

This week saw the Labour Party convene for their annual Party Conference in Manchester. Historically party conferences were a time for policy to be debated and decided. However in recent years the rank and file membership have become less significant to the debate and party conferences now serve chiefly to act as a forum for the announcement of policies. With a general election due in May 2015 the Labour Party conference was no different.

The key event in a Party Conference is always the leader’s speech. And Ed Miliband’s offering in Manchester was no different. This was the last chance for Ed Miliband to look Prime Ministerial and convince the highly sceptical electorate that he is worthy of moving into Number 10 next year. However, there has been almost universal agreement amongst the press that Ed Miliband fluffed his lines, forgetting a portion of his speech (on the deficit) and generally failing to look convincing. The ability to look prime ministerial and deliver set piece orations is a key skill for a Prime Minister.

This article in the Economist offers a good overview of the problems facing Mr Miliband.

http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21620260-labour-leader-flunks-one-his-last-opportunities-look-worthy-prime-minister

For the parties topic of Unit 1 it is necessary to be able to describe the policies of each party in the context of their ideological traditions. Labour made several interesting announcements at the party conference, two of the biggest were:

Child benefit is to be frozen to act as a source of revenue for the Treasury.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-party-conference-ed-balls-to-set-out-plan-to-freeze-child-benefit-9747431.html

The minimum wage is to be increased to £8 per hour

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29299230

An overview of Labour’s policies has been helpfully put together by the BBC.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29367645

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