The Parties | 23rd September 2014

Apparently Ed Miliband only said "friends" once

If you haven’t heard, you are Ed Miliband’s friend. His conference speech was littered […]

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If you haven’t heard, you are Ed Miliband’s friend.

His conference speech was littered with his favoured phrase for the assembled audience in the hall, at home and on Twitter.

Except it wasn’t and we aren’t, according to the transcription the Labour Party just published.

It suggests Miliband used the term just once, towards the very end of his speech. These tweeters must have been hearing things:

It appears Miliband’s constant use of the word was quite unscripted. But his other endless refrain was deliberate. According to the transcript he invoked the word “Together” 47 times.

47 is also exactly one more mention that his now-dead “One Nation” phrase earned two years ago, in what seems to have been a more well-received speech. The abstract “Together” has clearly replaced the more historic “One Nation”, catchphrase of Prime Ministers from Disrael to Blair.

And given Miliband’s speech was 64 minutes, that means he used the word every 82 seconds. For those that fear an hour long speech may have deterred some listeners, the striking word is sure to have kept them interested.

Why watch something else when you could stay “together”, as “friends”, and watch this?

UPDATE: The Labour Party have sent round an actual transcript of the speech and it suggests Miliband used the word 31 times. Which means his use of the word looks like this: