As I was on my way to meet the Sandman last night, I decided to enter into the spirit of conference season and indulge my inner political anorak. Navigating the BBC website, I clicked on that newsworthy oil painting: Edward Miliband plagiarising Wallace & Gromit in "The Wrong Leader". My initial reaction was that I had entered into an awards ceremoy: political Oscars perhaps.
The speech, though rhetoric is sullied by the comparison, proved an amalgam of plagiarised gratitude, modelled on the mediocrities that pollute the airwaves. Pauses, doe eyed appeal to the audience, and some choked prayer of thanks to Harriet Harman and his family, an odd combination! The lashings of sentiment only fostered cringes, as the cartoon face tried to emote. How remote from the gravitas and skill of previous leaders. Where was the steel? Where was the passion? Where was the principle?
Some would say that this was a cynical exercise in positioning. Opportunistically attack the coalition, oppose every cut and talk the economy down without bothering to temper attack with policy. Parliamentary poses which had garnered some respect were frittered away in an abasement to the Labour left, embracing change with a reactionary embracing of the past. After all, Blair was jeered and the audience compared Miliband to Kinnock or Smith.
A party that does not like winning elections and cannot learn the lessons of the past are bound to repeat them. No doubt, at the conference next year, we will be served with yet again, "More cheese, Gromit".