John McDonnell MP's verdict on Ed Miliband's conference speech
Since Ed Miliband became leader, the strategy of the left has been to make issues safe for him by building support within and outside the party issue by issue. Only when it's safe is he confident about moving on an issue. Today's speech demonstrated that we are setting the agenda but there's so much further to go. A major housebuilding programme is needed, but it needs to be public housing alongside rent controls to stop landlords profiteering from housing benefits.
Challenging the scapegoating of unemployed and disabled people needs to be made a reality by scrapping the rigged capability tests associated with Atos and abolishing workfare. Time limited price controls won't end the rip-offs. A clear commitment to end privatisation is needed, especially in the NHS, and to bring rail, water and energy back into public ownership plus, if it goes ahead, Royal Mail.
To tackle low pay, we need to make the minimum wage a living wage by right, re-establish trade union rights and restore a commitment to full employment. People already suspect this is a recovery for the rich and ongoing recession for the rest. This is exactly the time when people want more radical action. Make today's speech a beginning.