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By Tim Montgomerie
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Reflecting on Ed Miliband's speech to the Labour Conference here's a punch-in-the-face paragraph from Matthew Parris' column in today's Times (£):

"In
a speech of 7,369 words lasting an hour and seven minutes, none of the
following words appeared even once: individual, enterprise, freedom,
liberty … not one mention. The word-cloud is unmistakable and the
fact that the speech was delivered ad lib makes the unwitting testimony
to Mr Miliband’s instincts more telling. All the language was
collectivist, always it was about group, co-operation and acting
together. There was not a single positive reference to a private sector
achievement and the remark that “tough settlements” will be needed in
public services (much trailed for the media) comprised one lone
sentence."

This certainly chimes with my experience at Labour's Conference in Birmingham last week. I was there for three-and-a-half days. I met policy wonks, local councillors, union representatives, researchers, university lecturers and researchers, NGO staffers etc etc. I didn't meet one businessman or woman. Labour has become the party of the state collective – defending the better pay, better pensions and shorter hours that the average public sector worker enjoys compared to their private sector counterparts.

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