I was proud to be at Labour's Manifesto launch in Manchester today.
Ed Miliband gave a cracking speech - straightforward, direct and hard-hitting.
And he was noticeably much more confident, relaxed and, seemingly, enjoying every minute.
It was noticeable too, that the assembled media came away impressed by Labour's practical and serious approach, in stark contrast to the Tories unfunded spending commitments. They dont say where the money is coming from.
But as Ed said: "Every promise we make is a promise we can pay for."
People have had enough of the Coalition's broken promises - no top down re-organisation of the NHS; reducing the deficit; scrapping tuition fees.
Instead, Labour offers:
- Raising the minimum wage to more than £8 by October 2019.
- Protecting tax credits in the next parliament, to support working families.
- Introducing guaranteed childcare through primary schools, with a new National Primary Childcare Service.
- Pledging not to raise income tax, National Insurance or VAT for working people.
- Freezing rail fares in the first year of a Labour Government.
These build on our existing commitments:
- banning zero hour contracts, freezing energy bills and cutting business rates
- guaranteeing apprenticeships, cutting tuition fees, getting homes built, and giving the North West more power
- giving the NHS time to care, with more doctors, nurses and scrapping the Tories health and social security bill
It was also good to hear Ed Miliband robustly supporting Labour's investment in decent public services, better schools and hospitals, investing in our future.
And he was clear that it was the greed of the bankers and financial recklessness which had caused the global financial crisis.
At the heart of our manifesto is a pledge to balance the books and cut the deficit every year in Government.
Unless we deal with the deficit it is working people and their public services that end up paying the price.
Britain can only do better if working people do better.