Ed Miliband gave an amazingly confident performance at conference.
It was a high-risk strategy to go in front of a packed conference hall and massive TV audience with no lectern, notes or teleprompt and speak for over an hour in what turned out to be a structured and logical speech - a far cry from Tony Blair and his electronic prompts on each side or earlier Labour leaders who spoke at enormous length with the help of pages of notes.
The welcome parts of the speech were the clear commitment to repeal the disastrous Tory health service reforms and restrict the private sector's operation within the NHS. This is to be the centrepiece of Labour's pre-election work.
The second, equally welcome, narrative in his speech was an understanding of the frustrations and anger of many highly motivated school, college and university leavers who are denied jobs, opportunities and career paths because of austerity Britain and the unwillingness of many companies to undertake proper training programmes.
While more detail is needed on Miliband's ideas of a vocational baccalaureate, it does indicate a recognition that we need much better quality training.
It also reveals a suspicion that many of the apprenticeships now under offer are very limited in the training that they actually give and can be used as a source of cheap labour by employers.
However, more curious was the attempt to invoke Disraeli's one nation Tory speech of 1872 - delivered at the lost and much-lamented Free Trade Hall in Manchester.
Miliband used this as a jumping-off point into a post-Olympic one nation Britain, where all put their shoulders to the wheel equally to propel society along.
It is an odd choice because, while Disraeli's government did introduce some positive reforms, particularly in education and public health, it also sought to create a class of support for the Tories above the mass of the working class who were still denied the vote.
Disraeli also presided over the most rapid and brutal growth of British imperialism in Asia and Africa.
How much better if Miliband had instead invoked some of the other great historical heritage from Manchester - the development of a free press following the Peterloo massacre, the foundation of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) at the Mechanics Institute or the historic pan-African congress of 1945, which laid the foundation for the huge anti-colonial movement of the 1950s and '60s.
For one so well educated, Miliband could have offered more history.
It was also sad that in his eulogy of the successful Olympics he omitted to mention that it was in fact Ken Livingstone who won the Olympics for London and it is inconceivable that a Tory government with Boris Johnson as mayor would have got anywhere near winning it.
However, the gaping hole in the speech was on international affairs.
The party is still stuck in the groove of pretending that the Afghan war gives us peace and security when in reality it's a death trap for the soldiers and the ordinary people there.
Miliband has always been right to criticise the Iraq war, but he needs to go further and oppose the Afghan war and any putative attack on Iran.
Significantly, he said nothing about nuclear weapons and the rapidly growing support in the Labour Party for non-replacement of Trident. Indeed, shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy gave a speech on Monday morning which was a eulogy of militarism and adventurism.
There is everything to campaign for to win Labour around to the non-replacement of Trident.
And we also have to be honest with ourselves that the Labour Party's Achilles' heel is its economic strategy.
It's obvious that the Tories are using the recession as a means of reconfiguring society in an image of the 1950s or even the 1930s by increasing the gap between the rich and the poor.
A wage freeze is in reality a wage cut and for both Ed Balls and Miliband to claim that we have to put jobs before wages is simply not acceptable.
The huge demonstration against austerity measures planned for October 30, in solidarity with the similar demonstrations in Madrid and Athens, shows that potential Labour supporters are looking for something much more radical than Liam Byrne's promise of yet more welfare and pay cuts.
Miliband was quite right to attack the banks, their profligacy and their reckless gambling.
They are already mostly in public ownership having been bailed out by us, and should remain in public ownership but also, crucially, in public control.
The positive sides to the conference were the clear commitments on the National Health Service, the very welcome composite motions on construction and housing put forward by Ucatt and the GMB motion on employment rights.
The fringe and large attendances at the Labour Representation Committee and Stop the War meetings show that radical ideas are alive and well in the Labour Party.
But Banquo's ghost of new Labour and Blairism was still stalking the conference hall in Manchester.
The dramatic news that the Department for Transport, having staunchly defended the auctioning off of our railway system, had got its figures and procedure wrong and was therefore suspending the refranchising of the West Coast mainline to First Group was an amazing admission of the failure of the government's franchising system.
It apparently means that the West Coast mainline franchise could be handed over to Directly Operated Services, the public-sector arm of Network Rail, to run it until such time as a new franchise can be awarded.
East Coast mainline, whose franchise collapsed three years ago, is still publicly owned and it is run and operated very efficiently.
Now is absolutely the opportunity for the West Coast mainline franchise to become publicly owned, and indeed for every other franchise to be handed over to the public sector so that we end the rip-off by the train operating companies.
Richard Branson, ever the populist, is keen to claim how well he runs the franchise and how much he's invested in the railway.
In reality he is benefiting from £8 billion of public investment in the infrastructure of rail signalling and electrification. It's time we got the benefit of it.
Britain spends more on subsidising railways than any other country in Europe. Yet we have the highest fares and some of the most profitable rail operators.
Jeremy Corbyn is Labour MP for Islington North.
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