NAHT leader David Hart described his effort as "excellent". The New Labour golden boy was even funny. When a mobile went off in the hall, he quipped:
"I hope that isn't Number 10 saying I am off-message." Oh how they laughed.
In reality, of course, Miliband, son of a Marxist historian, couldn't be off-message if he tried. The night before his big speech, he had a private dinner with heads at the Palace Hotel, Torquay. As others wined and dined and downed the booze, the clean-cut young minister drank soft drinks (he probably didn't have his ID) and asked for an apple for dessert. He was duly presented with a choice between a crisp green apple and a worryingly red one. No prizes for guessing that he opted for the non-socialist fruit.