Land of opportunity? We've heard it all before
David Cameron's speech was notable because of the lack of anything notable in it. Sometimes a speech can change the political weather. At others you've heard it before. Yesterday's address could be filed in the latter category. That was very deliberate.
In contrast, Ed Miliband in Brighton was a news bonanza. A promise of an audacious energy price freeze the most eye-catching move. Some consider his second successive roaming, no-notes speech to be the mark of a future Prime Minister. Others that "Red Ed" has revealed his true colours, a throwback to the 1970s, price-fixing and black-outs. Either way, the analysis was breathless, and any lingering doubts over his leadership have disappeared.
Mr Miliband is the conference season winner. His improving poll rating will reflect as much. Though Nick Clegg's anti-Tory "no, no, no" speech to the Liberal Democrat congregation, married to Vince Cable's grumpy fall from grace, will leave the Deputy Prime Minister in a decent position too. His poll rating is somewhat more parlous.
And so to David Cameron. His speech was presaged by populist promises on fuel and "work for the dole" in the days before. Those were the headliner grabbers. Yesterday's only announcement – a manifesto pledge to deny under-25s jobless benefits – was more of the same on welfare. But the fireworks were in store.
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Instead, at times disconcertingly, Mr Cameron opted to stare directly into the lenses of the television cameras and outline the reforms he wants voters to remember on polling day. Welfare, immigration, free schools, NHS spending. And, of course, the economy.
This year's speech was almost identical to last year's. Just swap "aspiration nation" for "land of opportunity" now. The big difference is positive rumblings on the economy. Tory strategists believe if voters credit them for living standards actually improving by 2015 then they might just sneak election victory. So don't get drawn left or right by either Labour or the UK Independence Party. Nigel Farage's party wasn't mentioned. The Labour-bashing was lengthy but as much for the gallery as anything else. What we saw yesterday we will see ad nauseam for the next 18 months. So get used to it.