It was, like last year, a bravura speech. But whereas 2012's One Nation schtick was an intervention within the Westminster bubble, albeit a masterful one; today Ed's message was geared toward the "real people" for whom politics is something to be indulged every four or five years. For the assidiously-courted swing voter of the "squeezed middle", action on energy, housing, and business rates will go down very well indeed - what the Tories can promise in return to woo them over would be difficult to say. By being canny, by, for example, allowing Rachel Reeves to say people on £60 grand aren't rich and then going on to pledge tax rises on the tiny numbers pulling down over one hundred and fifty big ones, the tax bomb the Tories have used in the past to shore up the middle class vote is diffused before they can lob it. There will also be quite enough here to lure back a lot of Labour voters who've either gone elsewhere or have mostly stayed at home.
From an activist standpoint, these are what you might call "proper" Labour policies. However, take them together they're not a panacea. After all, they are still framed within the language of "strict spending limits". But it is a beginning, and are what could be described as a stride in the right direction. They point towards a radically different political economy to that touted by the Tories. This is something positive, something that can offer hope and security at the time our enemy can only talk about fear and misery. And if that's how they really want to fight the next election, roll on 2015.