I am a Party conference addict and have attended every Labour Conference since 1974 including those after previous General Election defeats in 1979, 1983, 1987 and 1992 and those which elected Neil Kinnock ; John Smith : Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as Labour Party leader. I therefore spent the whole of last week in Manchester (including missing West Ham’s victory over Spurs to be there on Saturday). As a strong supporter of David Miliband I was very disappointed by his narrow defeat by his brother Ed in our electoral college. The mood of the conference was initially quite subdued but on Monday David made a fantastic and gracious speech urging unity and then on Tuesday in his very first speech as Party leader Ed Miliband made clear that Labour will learn from previous mistakes as we renew ourselves under his new generation of leadership of our party. The Conservatives make a big mistake to underestimate Ed Miliband. In my opinion he can be a great leader of the opposition and Labour Prime Minister. That is why I have put my name forward for election to serve in his Shadow Cabinet. There are 49 candidates for the 19 places. As people begin to suffer from the Conservatives slash and burn attack on our public services Labour will have plenty of ammunition to use. Already the Office of Budget Responsibility, which Chancellor George Osborne created, has revealed that cutting too much too soon will actually cost £700m in extra dole payments, and countless more in human misery. The Con Dem coalition think that cuts, however big, will always support growth. In times like these this is plain wrong. Ireland has gone through major cuts and tax rises, but because growth has been hit, getting the deficit down is harder not easier and the Irish economy has fallen back into recession. The Conservative coalition is going down the same road, and their gamble risks hitting confidence, growth and jobs.