Labour conference week: winners and losers

A bad week for? A good week for? Scott Payton weighs up the winners and losers from the Labour conference

A bad week for…

Journalists

Shadow culture secretary Ivan Lewis suggested that hacks should be put on a professional register and struck off for malpractice – just like doctors, accountants and other professionals.

Journalism professor Roy Greenslade led the outcry following the proposal:

“There is a danger, if the Lewis nonsense takes hold among the Leveson inquiry panel, that we will end up with unacceptable constraints on press freedom,” he declared in the Guardian.

“Predatory” companies (whatever they are)

In his flagship conference speech, Labour leader Ed Miliband launched a salvo of attacks on “asset stripping” businesses and the “fast buck” culture that he claims supports them.

Champions of business queued up to lambast him. Lord Digby Jones, erstwhile CBI chief, labeled Miliband’s attack a “kick in the teeth” for recession-battered firms.

Ed Miliband

Does the British public think that Ed is a credible candidate for Number 10? A ComRes poll on Tuesday found that just 24 per cent do – and a damning 57 per cent don’t.

Tony Blair

“Boo”, shouted a number of delegates when Miliband mentioned the former PM’s name.

A good week for…

Students

Ed Miliband opened the conference with a pledge that his party would cut the cap on university tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000 per year.

Though NUS president Liam Burns half-heartedly welcomed the move, he added that the announcement “doesn’t go nearly far enough.”

Tom Watson

The Labour MP who, along with improbable allies including Hugh Grant and Steve Coogan, led the onslaught against the Murdoch empire over the phone hacking scandal. Conference delegates loved him – giving him a series of standing ovations throughout the week.

Ed Balls

The shadow chancellor’s conference speech made a decent impression among the leftist portion of the political commentariat.

Jonathan Freedland wrote in the Guardian: “…on one of the rare moments when an opposition party gets some attention, he did what any opposition must do – he took the fight to the government and did so effectively.” 

The New Statesman also felt moved to give praise, with contributor George Eaton describing Balls’ speech as “perhaps the most confident and memorable he has ever given.”

What’s your verdict on Labour’s week in Liverpool? Let us know below…

 

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