By DAVID WOODING in Liverpool
ED Miliband makes the most important speech of his career tomorrow – and must convince Labour doubters he is the man to lead their party back into power.
Many still wonder whether they made the wrong choice when they picked him ahead of hot favourite and big brother David just a year ago.
Their mood echoes opinion polls which show Ed (pictured) still lagging behind Prime Minister David Cameron in personal ratings.
Even when asked publicly whether they picked the right Miliband, grass roots members are reluctant to say “yes”.
This was illustrated to dramatic effect during a Radio 5 Live show live from the bar of Jury’s Hotel in Liverpool.on Sunday night.
I was a guest on the lively show Pienaar’s Politics when, for a final flourish, presenter John Pienaar grabbed a microphone, waded into a group of delegates and asked them for their views on Ed.
Of the four people he asked, not one was willing to give their own leader a full endorsement.
It’s gob-smacking that support is so tepid among a group of paid-up party activists. John tried several times to coax a word or two of approval from the bar but all he got was a mood of uncertainty.
If that’s the view on his home turf, what do the “silent majority” of ordinary voters he needs to win over think?
So when he stands up to make his second speech as leader tomorrow, Mr Miliband must outline his vision of Britain under a future Labour government. He needs to think not only of those doubters in the conference hall, but the millions outside.
He must do some straight talking on the economic crisis – and give a clear idea on what he will do to boost growth, create jobs and improve law and order.
With the coalition suffering problems of its own, now is the time for Ed to step up to the plate. And show us what he’s made of.
Hear it for yourself: Listen to John Pienaar trying to get find an Ed Miliband supporter at the Labour conference: http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/pienaar