I have just spent the last half hour or so trying to understand what commentaters and commenters are saying about Ed Milliband's speech to the Labour Party Conference. I did not see the speech and did not read it. What interests me is what people think about it. The answer is, that even in what you might call Labour safe territory, such as the BBC and the Guardian, the reaction has been a cocktail of 2 parts tepid, one part sarcastic and a dash of bitters.
For me, the hulk-like figure of Gordon Brown still casts a giant shadow. For me, it is Brown, not Blair with whom one can see parallels with the end of the Third Reich. When Germany was in ruins and Hitler was about to die, he appointed Karl Doenitz, a highly decorated Naval Officer. The usual suspects were either dead or in flight from the advancing British and American troops. Doenitz was no mere honourable soldier; he was a highly indoctrinated Nazi and he expected his navy to be likewise. At the end of the war he was unrepentent and spent ten years in Spandau (not the crap 80's band).
I don't know the full reasoning as to why Doenitz was appointed to succeed the Fuhrer and apparently it took the Admiral by surprise, but what is clear is that Hitler fully regarded him as his heir. It is laudable that to some extent Doenitz tried to negotiate a part in the salvation of German social infrastructure, but otherwise, he was an ideological Nazi.
Few realised that Ed Milliband could succeed Gordon Brown. Iain Dale did. I did. Some of us had inside information, but people like me depend entirely on analysis and pattern recognition. You see, it is very easy. The Labour Party is tribal. It is far more tribal than the Tories or even the Drip Lems. You can no more fail to work out what it will do in a certain set of circumstances, than you can predict that a fox will kill chickens. It's what foxes do.
What has happened here is that, with the Party which is now the party of losers, they have inexplicably decided to have more of the same. Well I say inexplicable. It isn't. It is what tribes do. Labour is in the grip of an ideology. They really beleieve all that crap. They really believe that they can plunder the wealth of this nation and spend it on the expansion of the state.
Doenitz was a clever man, with a high IQ. And yet, he did not, could not, see that the game was over. His fears were grounded, Russia was a threat, a real threat, but his belief was in German supremacy. When rebuffed by the Allies as a potential player in the post war governance of Germany, he was astonished and incensed.
Doenitz, and his predecessor had a vision that would take them forward indefinately, had they been allowed. If you believe the comments about Milli Ed's speech today, you might think it lacked even that. If they carry on this way, all the rhetoric, all the spin and all the combined skills of the speechwriters, will impress only a handful of diehards, whose political clout will remain on the fringe of British politics. And just like the Nazis, their inspiration begins with hatred and envy, and ends with ultimate defeat. But they will all go down believing in it to their last breath, and they will be astonished that no one hailed them as saviours of the nation.