The foreign secretary, tipped by some as a future leader, was discussing his speech with staff who told him that it was being given six marks out of ten. He was heard to reply: "I couldn't have gone any further. It would have been a Heseltine moment." His aide replied: "No, you are right. You went as far as you could. That was what the party needed to hear."
I'm not sure this is as big a story as the BBC are making out. It really would have been a big story if he had said: "I wish I had gone further and done a Heseltine."
I listened to Miliband's speech driving up to Manchester on the radio. I was underwhelmed. He made all the errors David Davis was said to have made in 2005. The delivery was wooden, he fluffed too many lines and he stuck too rigidly to his brief. Most people here seem to agree with that analysis, with the likes of Quentin Letts and Kevin Maguire also panning it. It got a perfunctory, rather than ecstatic, standing ovation and left the audience wondering if he had been built up beyond his reputation. If only he could make a platform speech like his brother Ed.