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:
Perhaps the Labour Party should now be renamed Friends Together. #Miliband
— David Aaronovitch (@DAaronovitch) September 23, 2014
— James Masters (@Masters_JamesD) September 23, 2014
— David Wooding (@DavidWooding) September 23, 2014
Don’t really like how Miliband keeps on describing his vast audience as friends
— Hugo Dixon (@Hugodixon) September 23, 2014
How many times will @ed_miliband insincerely say ‘friends’ to the hall at conference? I’m going 15-20
— windy de la touche (@john_neptune) September 23, 2014
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: