23/09/2014 Newsnight


The stories behind the day's headlines. Air strikes on Islamic State in Syria, looking for the secret Iranian troops in Iraq and Ed Miliband addresses the Labour party conference.

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This is only the beginning, says President Obama, as America and five


Arab states take on ISIS. We're going to do what is necessary to


take the fight to this terrorist group. For the security of the


country and the region and for the entire world. The air strikes target


Jihadists in Syria and Iraq as the Pentagon insist they were about to


strike the west. Is Britain shaping up to join the attack. Bahrain's


Foreign Minister will tell us what he thinks this curious coalition can


achieve. We go in search of Iran's secret bar


yes, fighting a clandestine war in Iraq against ISIS. Anyone seen


SNOBOL no-one has heard of him. Extraordinary, the most powerful man


in Iraq, no-one has ever heard of. Here in Manchester, Ed Miliband made


his pitch to be PM, telling his story through the voters he has met.


Let's have a round of applause for her and the great job she's doing.


She is one one of the lucky few, her school helped her get an


apprenticeship, so many schools don't do. That.


Why did an important part of his prepared speech on immigration and


the deficit go AWOL. Forget everything you think you know


about the threat of Syria's Assad, the world was turned upsidedown as a


coalition was formed inside Assad's country with his knowledge. The US


launched air strikes on ISIS targets in Syria, President Obama warned it


was just the beginning. What of Britain's role in all of this? Today


our Prime Minister called it a fight you can't opt out of it, does that


mean he's opting us in. Tomorrow things become clearer as David


Cameron lays out his response before the UN gen. Gen. -- General


Assembly. We explore this action and what it means.


This is what the Americans once described as "shock and awe".


Launched from ships and bombers, fast jets and slow drones, witness


the US military action at the start of yet another US campaign. This


time they weren't doing it alone, and President Obama was at pains to


credit the five Arab nations that took part in these attacks. And this


was the result, 22 targets reportedly hit. 70 IS fighters dead,


and numerous control centres destroyed. But will a change of cast


make today's air strikes any more successful, and any less devisive


than the ones in the past? It was a three-pronged attack which began


this morning at 1. 30am. In the first, two American destroyers


launched more than 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles. Some of them headed


for Aleppo, the target was an area that was planning attacks on the


west. Most targeted Raqqa head quarters of ISIS. Phase II was more


complex, this time the Americans weren't on their own, jets caused


it, Rappers, B-1 bombers and predator drone, Raqqa the target


again. The last phase targeted IS positions in eastern Syria,


particularly at Deir Al-Zour. They were launched from bases in the


region. Training compounds, supply depot, command and control centres


and communications hubs had been destroyed or disabled. By the end of


the operation more bombs had been dropped in one night than in all


previous American operations against IS.


So did it work? Undoubtedly IS have anticipated this attack and hidden


some of their assets and resources, the point is they can't now


concentrate. IS have been successful in such a big area because they have


been very rapid and they concentrate on an area of weakness, now they are


under air attack they can't concentrate and make any more GAIPS


gains. It will frustrate their mode of working and degrade their doing


anything. Saudi Arabia apparently launched four aircraft, so did the


UAE. Bahrain's contribution was said to be three aircraft. And Jordan


admitted involvement in bombing raids. Qatar's effort was more


behind the scenes. For some this contribution was overdue. Why should


the west pull the Arabs chestnuts out of the fire without significant


political, economic and military contributions from the countries


most at threat. It is the fight of the people of Iraq and the


Government of Iraq and hitherto we have seen too much reluctance by the


leading powers of the Iranian peninsula to support the Government


in Baghdad. In Syria itself state TV reported their Government had been


informed and crucially Syrian air defence radar were apparently turned


off. IS hit back with a PR strike of its own. Hello there, I'm John


Cantly. Another video of the British hostage. Militants said the attacks


would be avenged. Attention will now drift to Westminster, and whether


and when MPs will be recalled. Meanwhile Newsnight has been told


that the British military is already on the move. Over the last


fortnight, a small but significant number of British military


strategists have been centre, rbil and Iraq, and also to embed at the


renalal headquarters in Qatar. They have been sent there to support the


Americans with their surveillance capabilities. But also to prepare


for the moment that David Cameron orders air strikes using tornado


jets. We have been told that the Kurdish Peshmerga have asked the


British to send training mission to help their fighters. They


particularly need British expertise to help them with the kind of heavy


artillery they have never used before. The request is being


considered, and Whitehall sources have told us that David Cameron will


find it hard to refuse. Public opinion is in a mood to be seen to


do something, so is parliamentary opinion. If Australia and France and


our Arab friends are doing things alongside the Americans, it seems


unconceivable we will stay out it. The question is how deeply are we


involved, do we do a more extensive back-up operation, or do we join the


takes ourselves, I think the latter. So it starts again, a new campaign


against a new enemy, but the west facing the same sold problems. Is it


legal? Will it work? When will it end?


We will come on to some of those questions. David Cameron is in New


York preparing to speak to the UN gen. General -- General Assembly.


Did the Americans have permission to do that? They informed the Syrian


delegation before they conducted the air strike, we think they also gave


some indication of timing and broadly whereabouts they would


happen. The Syrians did not oppose them. Those two things put together


in the view of some of the Americans who were planning this constitute


assent. So they approved it, they didn't attempt to stop it. The


Americans, if you like, conservative in their legal advice, but with this


line about this Al-Qaeda offshoot group that they also bombed last


night. Which was a clear and present danger-type of legal justification


for going in. And indeed it may well have been the chance to hit that


other group that brought the timing of this forward a couple of days


compared with what was expected. The other interesting area of permission


is that of Congress itself. They have gone off to fight the mid-term


election, they won't be back for weeks and week, and there are plenty


in Congress, including some we have spoken to who are quite anxious


about the President making war under these terms. At some point that will


come back and be formally debated on in Congress. Where does that leave


the UK, interesting to hear Michael Clarke say that he thinks David


Cameron will find it hard to refuse? It was interesting to hear that. The


contribution the British can make in a military sense is limited, a few


aircraft, a limited range of munition, perhaps a few cruise


missiles from a submarine. The question of whether it is


politically and morally essential for them is foremost. Even the


politics of this seem to be less attractive in the wake of what we


saw last night. The Arab countries joining in and dropping bomb,


actually attacking the Islamic State militants. That is clearly hugely


beneficial to the US. The UK-type involvement is more what they would


expect. They are definitely looking at other options too, including


training. We know the Defence Secretary has been there in the last


few days, that could be to do with setting up training bases. That is


something the Americans are accelerating. It could also be that


there will be British trainers sent to the Kurdish areas of Iraq as


well. Thank you very much. Just sort of


looking at the timetables then, how much appetite do you think there


would be from a British parliament for any interaction and intervention


now? Well we have seen throughout this uncertainty about whether Ed


Miliband would support it. There has been this rhetorical support, would


he vote to support direct action, killing people, to put it crudely,


by UK military force. I think there are still some uncertainties in that


regard. And this broader question about the military utility of it. I


sense reluctance in quite a few parts of Government about this.


Someone said to me a couple of weeks back. Look in terms of the legal and


military practicalities we can do this much more easily in Iraq than


Syria. But should we really? Would we actually add anything militarily


to the US effort and that's why I think it is the politics and if you


like the moral question, having lost a British hostage and having others


under threat, which are really paramount in this calculation about


whether it is right for Britain to join this. Thank you very much


indeed. Well the Bahraini Foreign Minister, Shaikh Khalid joins us


from New York. Thank you very much for joining us, what has Bahrain


done so far, what do you understand has been achieved? We have joined


our allies in this battle and our planes, as we heard earlier in your


programme have joined other planes in bombing targets and destroying


some of the strongholds and communications and other places. But


I don't want to get into more details of the operation. But we are


part of the coalition. When you say part of, does it feel like America


is taking the lead or the Arab peninsula, how does the coalition


work? Well we should thank America for coming to help us in our battle


against people who have deviated from our religion and trying to


destroy our culture. So this is mainly our battle that we are


fighting, and we should thank our allies for standing with us, whether


in this time or before against the Taliban in Afghanistan or as we


fought together origins the pirates and the Indian Ocean pirate, we are


in it together and we are very thankful. Do you agree with the


guest on our programme who says there has been previously too much


reluctance from the Arab powers to support the Baghdad Government


before now? Well, no. We have always maintained very good relationships


with the Government in Baghdad and we, the relationship developed in


many ways and we opened a consulate in another city other than Baghdad.


But now we are seeing the inclusiveness of the Iraqi


Government sending very clear messages to the neighbourhood.


Especially to the countries in the GCC and around. That this is a


serious Government that wants to get out of an area that caused them a


lot of problems with their own people. We are looking forward to


even move forward with the Government of Baghdad. Just help us


to understand, on a practical level, what level of co-ordination do you


have now with Syria to make sure they don't shoot you down? Well we


don't have any level of co-ordination with Syria. We have


all the levels of co-ordination with our allies in these operations. That


is what we do now, but there are no co-ordinations with Syria in any


way. So there has been no contact between your coalition and the


Syrian Government, Assad? Well, you know we are a coalition of several


countries, and this point here I'm talking about Bahrain, we did not


have any contact, but the coalition has its own way of handling the


matters in its own structure. Are you concerned that if this is a


success, as you hope, it will help Assad? Well the concern is much


bigger than the picture you are putting now about Syria. The concern


is about all our countries, so this is one battle, this is one state


that was created in an area that transcends the borders of countries,


and threatening the rest of the countries, but let's not forget this


is one of many. Let's not forget the issues in the Arabian peninsula or


Al-Qaeda, or the newly created one in the Indian sub-continent. This is


one battle we are facing. When you look at the new relations this is


creating now. You find yourself on the same side as Iran. Now for


Bahrain that must be very odd? Well, Iran is a neighbour, we do have our


relationship with Iran, we do have our differences with Iran. But we


are on the right side, we are fighting terror, we are fighting


criminals who killed innocent people, who killed aid workers from


Britain and journalists from America and around the world. This is a war


in the right direction against evil. If anyone would like to choose to be


with us in this battle then they will have to be fighting in a clear


manner. Because not doing it with other proxys. What would be your


message to Britain tonight as it considers whether to intervene or


not. Is Britain important to this? Well Britain is vital to this, to


this campaign and we have always worked and fought wars with Britain


and we are confident that Britain will be taking the decision that


would serve its own interests. Does that mean military intervention, you


want to see it fighting? Well, you can pose this question to the


British Government, but we did stand with Britain and Britain stood with


us in the past and this is not something that will surprise us in


any way. Thank you very much indeed, we appreciate your time here on


Newsnight. So back to that question then where is Britain in all of


this? Last time round the question of intervention in Syria was raised,


a year ago we were, crudely put, on the other side, then Assad was the


enemy, now it is really not so clear. So what are parliamentarian,


particularly those who came of age in the long shadow of the Iraq War


to decide. And what of the legality of war this time round. Here is what


the PM said earlier. There are other plots they have been attempting,


include anything my own country, in order to kill and maime innocent


people. The same applies to the United States of America. This is a


fight you cannot opt out of. These people want to kill us, they have


got us in their sights and we have to put together this coalition,


working with, right across the board, all the countries I


mentioned, to make sure we ultimately destroy this evil


organisation. Joining me now the Conservative MP, Adam Holloway who


served in the first Gulf War and just returned from northern Iraq,


and the former appeal Jew, Geoffrey Robertson. -- appeal judge, Geoffrey


Robertson. Does it feel like we have a role to play? We do have a role to


play. This will be settled by politics and not military action. It


is a shame that tonight's headlines are American-led bombing campaign. I


think we should have been a bit smarter about it, perhaps spending a


bit longer getting together a coalition of people from the Middle


East and seeing ourselves very much in support, but much more as


enablers, I think the last thing one wants generated around the world is


another western intervention in the Middle East. So what are you saying,


don't go in? No, I'm not saying don't go in. It was very interesting


in Iraq last week that whole swathe that fell to ISIS recently, didn't


fall by magic or indeed by force of arms, it fell because the Sunnis in


that area were completely fed up with the Shia Government in Baghdad,


so what we call ISIS in Iraq for example is made up of tribesmen, it


is made out of former Ba'ath Party members, Saddam's people, and also


international Jihadies. To treat them all together is not sensible.


What about Syria, should we be going there? No. I think if it was


possible, first of all it is a problem for those living in the


country and the people in the region. Only as a third order thing


is it for us to be doing things, certainly you know overtly like


that. Geoffrey Robertson, first question, is it legal? Yes,


absolutely in way that the attack on Saddam to overthrow a regime was not


lawful and needed Security Council backs. Last year there was a stupid


reprisal idea, we bomb Syria because they are using poison Gustafsson,


but without any kind of purpose, quite rightly you were opposed to


that, as were a number of other Conservativeso that, as were a


number of other Conservatives were against it. ISIS are not state, they


are really pirates of the desert, and enemies of human kind, and they


can be attacked because they are genocidal, they are committing war


crimes, crimes against humanity. And they are killing people because of


their religious beliefs, because they are unbelievers. As a military


man, if you don't go in to stop genocide, when do you deploy your


forces? Look the way that ISIS will finally be defeated in the large


part is when the local people, living in the areas that they


currently control get rid of themselves. If they can't? They have


got a big problem. We sure as hell won't, we failed miserably in


Afghanistan and Iraq, we have to see this as a political problem. Why do


Labour talk about the need to seek a resolution? I think Labour and a few


Lib Dems are wrong in law. What they don't understand is this is not a


state, it is committing a group of international criminals who are


genocidally intent to kill Kurd, they are killing Christian, they are


killing Shia Muslims. The call yesterday for people throughout the


world to rise up and behead people in the streets, in Australia they


foiled a plot at the weekend, there was the killing in Belgium, and so


they are international criminals. Ed Miliband, I was actually at his


speech today and he started, to everyone's amazement with Alan


Henning who was a Manchester man, and you could have heard a pin drop,


no applause until the end. And then he said, Britain can never turn its


back on internationalism. These are inter national criminals and we have


a duty to stop genocide. The feel of this is very different to the


British public isn't it? I don't know amongst your Conservative peers


how many of them would agree with your position right now, what do you


think? I don't know. All I can say is that last week with my colleagues


in northern Iraq it was really quite terrifying to hear that literally


two minutes drive away from us was 1,000kms of frontline with the most


dangerous organisation on earth, who in Mosul alone, 50 minutes away from


where we were had got 700 modern American armoured vehicle, 120mm


mortars, modern kit, they are not fools they know how to use it, they


are all the old ba'athists, not only can they use the weaponry but they


can fix it. Their social media effort is unbelievable. Their income


is about a million dollars a day in these little mini-pipelines to


Syria. We have to cut off the oil money and the hostages. The terrible


thing about the wrong thing about going for a UN Security Council


resolution is that it puts us in Putin's debt. And at this point,


because Russia has a veto, and might exercise that, what has to be done,


we should go ahead because we are in the right. And then, if Russia wants


to condemn us, let it put forward its opinion. That was done in


Kosovo. You have to get the politics right. It is the Kosovo way that has


to be done to do our duty a duty under the Genocide Convention to


stop this barbaric killing on ground of religion or no religion.


Now in Iraq the United States has been bombing ISIS since August in


support of an unlikely coalition of Iraqi military, Kurdish fighters and


Shia militia, but on the ground it is Iran that seems to be extending


its influence, playing a more and more active role, all under the


leadership of one secretive Iranian general. We have been on the trail


of the Iranian described as the most powerful man in Iraq.


In the stifling heat of August, Kurdish forces battle the Jihadists


of Islamic State. It was here, less than 100 miles from Baghdad that the


Peshmerga halted the IS advance, the Kurds are backed by US air power.


Buttal But Jalala is on the border with Iran and Iran is providing most


of the support. There is more to this than a battle of brutal


Jihadist, Iran is waging a campaign here, for control of Iraq and also


for its influence in the wider Middle East. And at the heart of


that campaign in the shadows has been one man. General Kasim


Sulimani, the covert external wing of the Revolutionary Guards and


their leader. He has the ear of the Ayatollah himself. But in Iraq he


has been sighting taking control of Shia militia groups, politicians


blanche at the mention of his name. His power comes because he deals


with units on the ground, he's not afraid to travel into Syria and


Iraq. He meets with politicians, influential in the political sphere


but also militarily. Off camera people told us that Iran


has sent artillery and advisers to support the Kurds, and that Kasim


Sulimani was here leading the Iranian forces. On the other side


there it is ISIS. At the frontline the Kurds are keen to show us how


antiquated their weaponry is. It is hard to see how they could have


taken this position from Islamic State on their own. I asked the


Colonel whether he had any help from Kasim Sulimani. Nobody has seen him?


Anybody seen him? No. No-one at all? He's like a ghost! No-one has heard


of him, the most powerful man in Iraq and no-one has heard of him!


But one local Kurdish commander confirmed to the BBC that Kasim


Sulimani had indeed visited this frontline on a number of occasions


and he agreed to reveal the extent of Iranian involvement here.


TRANSLATION: Iran sent 16 truckloads of weapons, they sent big artillery


and monitor, two big rocket launchers, three or four smaller


ones, they sent a mortar battalion too. At the Iranian border the


Ayatollahs keep a watchful eye over traffic passing into Iraq. The


battles for Iraq and Syria are part of a wider campaign for control of


the Middle East between Shia Iran and the Sunni powers of the gulf. In


Lebanon Sulimani has nutured Shia Hezbollah, in Syria he has bolstered


President Assad, in this not so Cold War, he has become one of Iran's


most potent weapons. Up until 2003, Iraq was a vast barrier, a


geographical and political block between Iran and its Shia allies to


the west in Syria and in Lebanon. But then came the US-led invasion


and the Americans, by removing Saddam Hussein also removed that


barrier to Iran's ambitions for its expansion in the region. He wants to


make sure that groups in Lebanon and Syria or Iraq are dependant on Iran


for survival, many of the militia groups fighting in the country,


there are variety arcs not just one or two, do rely directly Kasim


Sulimani, this allows the Iranians more leverage. A senior Iraqi


official told us when the city of Mosul fell, it was swift action by


Iran, more than US air strikes that prevented a broader collapse. Many


fear their country is becoming dependent on Iraq for its very


survival. That the militias as providers of security are becoming


an instrument of Iranian political control. The weakness of Iraq with


the unstable situation, giving them a bigger role. Because most of the


Iraqi decisions were made in Iran not Iraq. All the Iraqi politicians


when they have a bigger problem they went to Tehran to solve the


problems. They go to Tehran. Kasim Sulimani is a veteran of the


Iran-Iraq War, he appears in public only rarely, sometimes for a funeral


of the member of his Quds force, where he's known on occasion to shed


a tear. Those who have met him describe him as a man who says


little and achieves much. He has been up and down the country in the


north and south, in the capital, making sure that the Iraqi states


and the Shia militias assisting the Iraqi security forces are able to


confront the threat from ISIS. After eight years of occupation and


billions of dollars spent, the Americans are being outmanoeuvred.


At the end of last month American air strikes helped break the siege


of a town that had been encircled by IS. But who sweeps in to take credit


for this victory? Enter Kasim Sulimani, here he is celebrating,


evidence of his presence on the ground.


Kasim Sulimani came to visit us, he saw the situation and his visit


helped raise our spirits. At the Iranian border the advance of the


Jihadists has been checked, but they are not defeated. Iraq is becoming a


client state, reliant on the muscle of the Shia militias and weapons


from Tehran. And in the battle against Islamic State, the Americans


as much as the Iraqis are now dependent on Iran.


Here in Manchester it was leaders' speech day at the Labour Party


Conference. And Ed Miliband pronounced that this was the


beginning of his eight-month interview for the top job. Listening


to his speech, more than an hour, you would have been in no doubt


about his belief in the NHS and his desire to tax mansions and close tax


loopholes on bankers. In a sense Ed Miliband quite clearly framed how he


would like to see the election campaign. For Labour we are all in


it together, stealing the Tories' line, if f the Conservatives, you


are on your own. But there were some hefty omissions from the speech too,


hardly a mention of welfare, almost nothing on national security, and


hard as it may be to believe, it appears he forgot his section of the


speech about the deficit, the same with the section on immigration. So


was Ed Miliband trying to present a philosophy, and did it work? Our


political editor's report contains some flashing images.


Four years ago on the fourth floor of this hotel Ed Miliband stayed the


night on the night he became Labour leader and took his first steps.


Today from the same hotel room he set off to make the big speech. In


year one it was the big idea. The producers or predators. Year two the


big slogan? One- nation, the country where everyone has a stake. And last


year, year three, the big policy offer. The next Labour Government


will freeze gas and electricity prices. So to Manchester 2014, his


last big moment before the general election. Our country nearly broke


up. A country that nearly splits apart is not a country in good


health. Lessons from Scotland were fresh in his mind, and people too? I


don't know how Josephine voted in the referendum but I do know the


question she was asking, is anyone going to make life better for me and


my family. That wasn't just the referendum question. That is the


general election question. Once he talked about one-nation


Labour, today it was even simpler? Together we can build a better


future for the working people of Britain. Together we can rebuild


Britain, friends together we can. He said the word "together" over 50


times, this was primary colour politics, hit the Tories where it


hurts, friends of the rich, butchers of the NHS. If you are a


Conservative-supporting, gold-mining, Russian oligarch and


you have got ?160,000 to spare to bid in an auction, you won't be on


your own! You will be on the tennis court, playing doubles with David


Cameron. That's telling you all you need to know about this Government.


We will set aside resources so that we can have in our NHS 3,000 more


midwives, 5,000 more care workers, 8,000 more GPs, and 20,000 more


nurses. And NHS with time to care. Paid for by a "Mansion Tax" and


windfall tax on tobacco companies, but so far the barest mentions of


Britain's deficit or debt. Later it would emerge that without notes the


Labour leader had forgotten the sections. The recovery would be for


the many and not few, he tried to name check all the population too.


Like a young girl called Ziamara, Gareth at a softwarep k I met


someone called Elizabeth, I met an amazing man called Colin in his 80s.


5 minutes the speech sagged sending Labour's biggest funders to sleep.


Today I want to lay out ten years of goals, plan for the next ten years.


Increasing wages, NHS funding, apprenticeship, house building,


green jobs by 2025, because trust in politics is so low, but also perhaps


to help wavering voters who can't yet see Ed Miliband in Number Ten


imagine it a little more easily. Ed Miliband waving at Newsnight, but


that was one of the flattest to my mind of his big four speech, he


didn't have the humourous and dramatic moments he can sometimes


pull off. There was a good message on the NHS, very popular. There was


good language about basic bargains for Britain's workers. But the thing


is Labour as a party is polling well enough, speechers like this may not


matter. The party may be in Downing Street in seven month's time. There


is a sense in Manchester this evening that the speech didn't


broaden Labour's appeal, Labour's big tent has been replaced by a


bivoac, one source said. By boosting the NHS, Ed Miliband has tonight


made things very unfortunately for the Conservatives. That speech came


to an end a few hours ago, people here have been on absorbing what it


meant. Can we be clear, did Ed Miliband forget to mention the


deficit? You know it was an hour-long speech and you know things


always change in the delivery b you I don't think anybody in the cabinet


is under any illusions of the challenge we face with the deficit,


how we need to live within our means and balance the book. Ed Balls set


out a range of things yesterday and we will carry on making the case for


the future. As might be understanding in a big speech,


trying to do it without notes, he happened to forget a particular


passage which is available for all to see on the Labour website. Isn't


it telling that issue isn't at the forefront of his mind? I think it is


at the forefront of his mind. He has been very clear, and the Chancellor


has been very clear, And we are all-clear as members of the Shadow


Cabinet. There isn't going to be extra money around. We have to stick


to the limits that this Government has set for the first year and make


big reforms to the economy, and big reforms to our public services if we


will live within our means. But there was not any of that in the


speech, surely to re-establish economic credibility, which


everybody agrees Ed Miliband has to do for the Labour Party, there had


to be language about hard choices fast, you read what he meant to say


about it, it was a matter of three or four lines and saying I will get


on it? He was clear on the NHS that there wouldn't be extra borrowing


for the commitments. He talked about new taxes to put more money? It is


also those extra staff will be tied to reform, to make sure that we get


a care system we need for the future, keeping people at home,


rather than in hospital. Our public serves do need to change, and the


economy needs to change. Actually if you look at his section on the


economy, if we are going to get the deficit down we have to turbo charge


jobs and growth. Good jobs with decent wages that is part of the way


to get the deficit down. Hasn't he just given the Conservatives all the


ammunition they need for the next six months, they can say Ed Miliband


forgot the deficit? I think he set them a challenge. He has set them a


challenge and rightly so. That we need a different kind of economy,


that helps ordinary people, that we need to have the jobs for the


future, decent well-paid jobs. We need to give people a sense of hope


that their lives are going to be different. I think that is a


rightful challenge to the Tories. And he's saying, which is the really


big question, how are we going to achieve this. Will it be by working


together and make sure everyone benefits or a few at the top. That


has always been the big debate between Labour and the


Conservatives, I think he nailed that argument. In the hall, however,


the huge rounds of applause, which were far and few between were for


those attacks on bankers or for the support for the NHS, isn't it really


the case that speech was about the core votes, the 35%? Absolutely not.


I take it you would assume you are a middle-class person, do you use the


NHS? I do use the NHS, but let's not make assumptions about anyone else.


The NHS is from all walks of life. Being able to afford a decent home.


That is what people of all walks of life aspire to. The section on


people who are self-employed, more and more of those people. I think


that you are really wrong to say that was a core vote strategy, it


wasn't. It was appealing to ordinary people across the country. That is


very positive message for us. In terms of the messages about


aspiration, you have written for the pressure group Progress, about the


importance of having that message of aspiration. Where was that in this


speech? What is more of an aspiration than wanting a decent


job, getting great skills, being able to afford a home. I think that


is what all people want. That is a message about aspiration. People


wanting to own their own business, the entrepeneurs, that is what he


talked about, that is a complete misinterpretation of the speech, if


you don't mind me saying. You are entitled to have your views, that is


why we asked you on the programme. Thank you very much for joining us.


Let's hear some other views on Ed Miliband's speech today. Because


caught on camera in there was even Len McClusky, Labour's biggest


backer falling asleep at the back. We have Phil Collins for the times


with us. You used to write these for a living, you wrote some of Tony


Blair's speeches, what did you make of it? I thought Liz said more about


the deficit to greater effect in the answer she gave you than Ed Miliband


managed to say in the speech. I think she did a very good job. It is


very telling, not only that he forgot to say what he was going to


do, which was a consequence of learning the speech. Which he had no


need to do. He should have done it behind a podium with an autocue, we


didn't need to know he can audition to play King Lear, he should have


done a prime ministerial speech. The fact is even in the scripted version


there was hardly anything in the deficit, tells us Labour want to


forget it, we will hear about that again and again at the Conservative


Party Conference. Is it the new note saying there is no money left? What


I'm worried about with the speech which I really wanted to support was


indeed that it would appeal to the people who are already convinced by


Labour. If you already thought Labour's heart is in the right place


and on the side of fairness and justice and more equal society and


more opportunities for the people who are left behind and against the


privileged, then he reinforced all of that. I thought the messages on


the NHS were excellent, I think it has been under threat. I was


reassured to hear him talking about Europe. If you are worried about how


Labour will deliver this land of unicorns and milk and honey, then


you didn't get many answers about how it was going to get from where


we are now to where they hope to be. If you are a worried sceptic it


wouldn't convince you. Phil it is 35% strategy that you shore up the


core and get to the door of Number Ten? There is some of that but let's


find glimmers of hope in it. The long section on policy was dull, I


say that as a compliment, it is always boring. Part of being


primesal is saying I'm man with a -- prime ministerial is saying I'm a


man with a plan. I didn't mind it was tedious, underneath that it was


a good policy. There was good stuff in there. The thing that didn't


work, I have some sympathy because it is hard to do the speeches is the


governing idea of together didn't work, together is not an idea it is


just a word. The idea that Labour likes to do things together and


Tories sometimes like to do something on their own was slightly


preposterous, and it fell apart quickly. I disagree with that. Come


on! From George Osborne's first budget which made it clear that


basically the Tories are stripping away a lot of the safety nets that


underpin people's lives, I think there has been a theme from the


Tories which says it is a cold, hard world you have to make it on your


own merits. I think for Ed Miliband to come back and remind people that


the Labour Party is about saying we believe in co-operation,


particularly with the Scottish vote. He is reinforcing in people's minds


the idea with the Labour Party we are trying to bring everybody up.


That is a wonderful that he's trying to make our society more equal, I'm


still worried about the fact that for instance when he talked about


the fact that we are going to give people better jobs and we are going


to make sure that wages rise along with productivity. The things that


he then announced that would deliver that had nothing to do with the


first. Perhaps, Phil, the scepticism in this conference hall afterwards


was pretty high, to be honest with it. The chat was it had been quite


flat, it didn't do that much to alter things for him, except that


people have underestimated Ed Miliband before, nobody thought he


was going to beat his brother and Labour are still ahead in the polls?


That is true, that is because the economic recovery is not translating


into improved living standards, that is the explanation why Labour can be


a long way behind on the economy, but still extremely competitive for


the next election, which it is. Briefly, we are almost out of time,


did anything happen on the stage today that actually shifts the dial


in terms of the election? Can I say this was one of the rare speeches


that worked less well in the hall than on the clips on television. I


think the clips we have watched where Ed looks as if he as really


passionate about the NHS or Europe or the Tories constructing a society


rigged against ordinary working people, that worked very


effectively. One thing I would say is stop going out and talk to


people, so don't talk to anyone ever again. S it the dangerous thing of


talking to public people and then mentioning them on the stage. They


are not always aware that it is even going to happen. We failed to track


any of them down. But thank you very much indeed for joining us tonight.


We couldn't track down any of the people who as Phil said were


mentioned as nausium in Manchester. Perhaps you could have found them


somewhere Emily? Some of you will remember Joe the


plumber made famous in President Obama's campaign as the every day


voter who speaks volumes to the nation. Today it was Ed Miliband's


turn to fixate on a random member of the public and make him totemic, one


of those was Gareth, a software developer, quietly coming home from


a work do and approached by none other than the Labour leader.


Gareth's life will never be the same. We tracked him down and made


him watch the speech that some how he had completely missed. We have a


duty to look each other when times are hard, together, the way we


restore faith in the future, together a different idea for


Britain. I think this is the first conference speech I have ever


watched. I hope it will be my last claim Gareth is here now, do you


mean you are not a convert? Some of the things he said in his speech


sounded quite sensible. But it is an hour-long speech by a politician.


You met him on the Heath a few weeks ago and they told you you were going


to be in the speech? I got a call from his office a week or so ago


they talked through some of the things he was going to be saying. I


thought I would get one mention and maybe one call from a journalist but


the phone has been off the hook today, it has been a surreal day to


be honest. Did you tell people you were going to be mentioned? I told a


few people, but to be honest I thought I don't want to jinx it, I


thought he might not mention me in the end. Getting quite as much


attention as I have was a big surprise. Did he convince you on a


personal level? I was very impressed I think by the meeting. I didn't


know him that well as an individual, but he came across as very sincere,


very interested and actually I came away certainly very positive


impressions. Leaving the secrecy of the ballot box, would that meeting


turn your mind, would it make you vote Labour? I don't think it is


transformed my opinion, but certainly it has pushed me in that


direction, yes, I think so. And fame awaits presumably? Well I'm on


Newsnight, so, yeah! And you are great sport for coming in. Thank you


very much. Really appreciate having you here. That is all from us, but


if you haven't had your fill of conference coverage yet, Andrew Neil


will have further highlights and analysis in Today at Conference,


here on BBC Two in a few minutes. Wondering how to sum up the theme of


the today in one word, Ed Miliband did 52 keeps. Keeping our country


together. We are better together.


Together. Together.


Together we can build a better future for the working people of


Britain. Together a different idea for


Britain. # Together Together.


# Together Together we bring up our families.


# Together. On this Britons pebble of together.


Can the Tories be the answer? Together we can build a better


future for the British people. Together we can make Britain


prouder, stronger in the world. # Together.


Together, thank you very much. # Go west On Wednesday we have a


cloudy start to the day, the remains of old weather fronts across England


and Wales producing patchy rain, it is clearing eastwards,


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