A very strong speech, I thought and an unusually good delivery for Gordon. He doesn't like the big stage and isn't a natural performer in the same way that Blair was. I've seen him in much smaller gatherings and he's very impressive - burning with passion over poverty and education, issues that have driven him in politics. The choice of Sarah to introduce him - borrowing the tactic from Michelle Obama - was inspired and made him more human.
He's silenced his critics - at least for the time being - and is taking the fight to the Tories, challenging their oft repeated mantra about Labour wasting money. The past decade has seen massive investment in education, health and in tackling poverty. The Tories left the roof leaking and about to collapse - literally in the case of some of our state schools. It has fallen to Labour to undo that mess and this term, we've opened 180 new schools - the highest number in three decades. More than 30 were opened in a single day earlier this month. Well over £16 billion has been spent on new hospitals for the National Health Service. We've strengthened the house over the past decade and left it better able to survive the downturn.
Now is not the time to hand over to a novice - either Milliband or George Osborne - and it was nice to see a genuine smile on Gordon's face as that dart hit home.
Osborne was described by a well-known Tory blogger as entirely unqualified for the job of Chancellor, of course. These are serious times and we need gravitas and experience, not the Tory PR featherweights, who have signally failed to offer any alternative policies. They opposed 'nationalising' Northern Rock - and we've seen the Republicans repeat the trick in the past week. They've opposed greater regulation of the financial markets, not wanting to offend their mates on the big bonuses in the City. And remember, John Redwood wants to deregulate the mortgage market still further. Would Cameron have had the clout or the nous to bring Lloyds and HBOS together as Brown did, ensuring that the law will be changed to allow a swift merger for the overall good of the sector? The only crumb of comfort offered by the Tories has been a £1 billion tax break for the richest 4000 families in the country, as they review Inheritance Tax. Thanks George. If any other ideas flutter across that vacant lot in your head, please let us know. We're waiting.
Yes, mistakes have been made. Yes, things are tough and will get harder before they get better, but there is nobody better able to guide the ship of state through these difficult waters.