All of the Labour leadership candidates argued that the party should be clear that reducing inequality was the defining cause of the party and movement.
All of the candidates used the language of equal life chances and narrowing the gap, championed by the Fabian Society to bring the language of equality back into Labour politics, demonstrating that this has now clearly become common currency among the contenders at the top of the party; a pro-equality consensus which marked a clear rejection of Tony Blair's reluctance to use the language of equality or to say that "narrowing the gap" mattered a decade ago.
"If we are going to talk about wealth inequality, then pandering to the pressure to cut inheritance tax in 2007 when 95% of estates already paid no inheritance tax was a mistake. It got us no political credit at all", Ed Balls told the hustings event. He predicted that the inheritance tax issue will come back under the Conservatives and LibDems, stressing that Labour should fight it.
"It must be a central objective of policy to narrow the gap between rich and poor. It is so hard to do that, unless you make it a central objective it isn't going to happen", said Ed Miliband.
"We have reversed the trend of inequality of the Thatcher years, but there is more to do", said Diane Abbott. "There was a period when it seemed as though equality was a dirty word in the party", she argued, though the responses of the other candidates showed that was no longer the case.
"We aren't intensely relaxed about the filthy rich and it is important we say that", said Ed Balls. He stressed that it was the responsibility of leadership candidates over the next two months to move to the practical, noting too that the Labour government had been the most redistributive government since 1945-50, citing the impact of tax credits, reductions in child poverty and the extension of child benefit to begin in pregnancy.
"The gap does matter: it is not just about the floor, it is about inequality too", said David Miliband, saying he wanted to talk about "inequalities plural" inequalities of wealth, where he cites the abolition of the baby bond, and inequalities of power too. He says social networks make a big difference, so would support a national internship scheme as a small policy that could make an important impact.
"We still live in a country where life chances are unevenly distributed", says Andy Burnham, speaking powerfully about why his personal background - and always fearing "a tap on the shoulder" saying that the opportunities he had enjoyed were not "for the likes of you" informed his belief that a more equal distribution of health, wealth and life chances was central to what he and the party were about.
Ed Miliband said he was proud of the last Labour government's record on child poverty, but wants to see inequality tackled at the bottom and the top. He talks about his campaign on the living wage, which has to be set by campaigning as well as by law. "We have to talk about the top", he says, saying that "the bully pulpit of government" can make a difference here. He challenged David Cameron's unwillingness to look at the impact of the highest incomes in the private sector.
"David Cameron has asked Will Hutton to look at top pay in the public sector. I say he should extend it to the private sector or I will ask Will Hutton to do it for us", said Ed Miliband.
"Its not enough to talk about commissions and the bully pulpit. We are going to have to talk about what we will do", said Balls, noting the challenge of dealing with inequality at the top given the ability of top earners to move.