Ed Balls pre-briefed so much of his conference speech there was little of it left to report.
However, one major policy announcement stood out. It is not the kind of thing which wins over wavering voters, but it is a sign of an advanced political strategist and gives a good indication of how Balls wants to shape Labour's image when the 2015 general election comes.
In an echo of Gordon Brown's decision to grant independence to the Bank of England, Balls wants to hand long term planning and infrastructure projects (the national grid, high-speed broadband, that sort of thing) to a non-governmental body. The plan is to stop day-to-day party politics from scuppering much-needed projects and reducing business confidence in the UK.
It's very interesting. One of the main problems of democracy as a system is that it is very bad at addressing problems which take more than four years to fix. There is simply no incentive for a government to fix a problem it won't get credit for.
Balls deservesRead More »from Balls has some good ideas – but do his figures work?