This, for students of self-indulgent punditry, is worth watching…
This, for students of self-indulgent punditry, is worth watching…
There is no mention of Ed Miliband’s unscheduled ‘brush-by’ with President Obama in Mike Allen’s Playbook, the morning round up of anything going on in Washington that matters to anyone who is anybody in Washington. Sebastian Payne at the Post reports that Ed is scheduled to meet national security adviser Susan Rice this afternoon, officially the White House pointedly says there is “nothing to announce on the president’s schedule”. Presumably at this point Obama will drop in, if he doesn’t have a world war to avoid. Damian McBride, recounting the President’s five snubs of Gordon Brown and subsequent humiliating chat in a kitchen, has his fingers crossed:
“Team Miliband will have left nothing to chance before their man’s meeting at the White House today. For starters, they will have ensured he gets at least as much ceremony and time as David Cameron enjoyed in his first visit to President Bush as leader of the opposition. Aides will have their stopwatches out, ready to squash any suggestion that Mr Miliband was given less time than he was due…
The reality is that every presidential summit, visit, brush-by, drop-in, and walk-and-talk is nowadays so stage-managed that only someone as afflicted by bad luck as Gordon Brown could ever come a cropper. Provided Obama turns up and the White House doesn’t serve bacon sandwiches, today’s meeting will be the diplomatic equivalent of the speaking clock.”
Miliband’s intellectual henchman Stewart Wood was responsible for White House relations under Gordon Brown, surely he will ensure that this time there is no screw up. Interestingly McBride names Dougie Alexander as the source of the leak of the ‘five snubs’ story back in 2009. Which goes some way to explain the enmity between him and Michael Dugher, then Brown’s comms chief…
Harriet Harman has launched a bitter attack on the former Prime Mentalist, using a speech hosted by John Bercow this evening to accuse Gordon of sexism:
“Imagine my surprise when having won a hard-fought election to succeed John Prescott as deputy leader of the Labour Party, I discovered that I was not to succeed him as Deputy Prime Minister!” she is expected to say. If one of the men had won the deputy leadership would that have happened? Would they have put up with it? I doubt it. And imagine the consternation in my office when we discovered that my involvement in the London G20 summit was inclusion at the no10 dinner for the G20 leader’s wives.”
Harman’s broadside has invoked the wrath of Damian McBride, who hits back: “Have you no sense of decency, Harriet?” McBride blogs that Brown had other ways of discriminating against people other than their gender – “Gordon divides the world into only two categories: useless and not useless” – going on to snipe:
“Harriet seems to think she should have been invited to the leaders dinner instead, or perhaps to the meetings of the G20. To which I’d respectfully ask….erm, why? What on earth would Harriet have contributed to the meetings and dinner where Gordon, Obama, Sarkozy and Merkel were hammering out the global financial stimulus to bring the world out of recession? I mean seriously, what? But if she thinks she was excluded from those discussions because of her gender, Harriet needs to remind herself that Gordon’s key advisor throughout those meetings was Baroness Shriti Vadera. Why? Because she was the world expert on what needed to happen. With all due respect, Harriet was not.”
Safe to say Hattie didn’t take that too well. Here is her riposte on LBC just now:
“Damian McBride, you’ll remember, was sacked from being in the employment of the government for denigrating women, and he’s doing it again right now. It’s why he got fired, he’s learnt no lessons, he’s doing it again. When we have to listen to Damian McBride’s views on women, we really are in trouble.”
Calm down, dears!
Penance is up. Damian McBride left Catholic aid charity Cafod two weeks ago and has spend some time working on the paperback version of his memoirs, amongst other writing projects. So expect more helpful blog interventions…
Wondering what he might do next, Guido asked Mad Dog if he was off to spin for the Yvette for Leader campaign. He laughed, heartily…
Damian McBride is back and blogging for the first time in almost a year, giving both barrels to Miliband’s inner circle. Stewart Wood look away now:
“There are many positive things to say about the people managing Ed Miliband’s operation and running Labour’s campaign. They are well-spoken, well-read, well-connected, and if you stay on their right side, quite genial. You’d feel safe sitting them next to your mum at a wedding.
But what they are not is fighters. They will never give their press team and foot-soldiers the ammunition required to win the next 40 weeks in the media and on the doorstep, not just because they lack an understanding of what might do the trick, but also an appreciation of why doing so matters. Not when they could be attending a Thomas Piketty symposium instead.
Just like David Cameron, Ed Miliband has been guilty of recruiting his innermost circle of advisers entirely in his own image. That’s alright in peacetime if it helps him shape his political philosophy and refine his personal blueprint for government. It might even be OK if basking in a large majority in office.
But with an election to win – an election Labour can win – Ed urgently needs to add some ‘wartime consiglieres’ to the mix, not in place of the very capable and trusted people he’s got, but working alongside them…
Ed Miliband’s Labour party is genuinely blessed with countless advisers, MPs and top shadow ministers who not only – to quote Patton again – “love the sting and clash of battle”, but know exactly what war needs to be fought and won each week of the year ahead. The problem is that none of them are currently managing Ed Miliband’s operation or leading Labour’s campaign. And that needs fixing fast.”
It’s almost a job application…
Guido has taken a week to read and review Damian McBride’s book for the Spectator and taking the opportunity to clarify for the record:
“On a personal note, as McBride’s nemesis, allow me to correct at least one of his claims. He spins that I was ‘playing with a stacked deck’, running ‘a mysterious dark-arts operation’ against him. The truth is that when Derek Draper tried to portray Iain Dale (now McBride’s publisher) and myself as racists, it pricked the conscience of a fair-minded Labour party source. I got a phone call out of the blue telling me that there were emails that could prove that Downing Street, in the form of the PM’s press adviser himself, was behind those smears. Ironically, McBride’s confession in Power Trip that he would — in breach of the Official Secrets Act — surreptitiously log in to Brown’s secure government email system and retrieve information to repackage and leak to the lobby, means that, of the two of us, he is the one likely to be in trouble for email hacking.”
Reading the details of the book reminded Guido just how hard a whack McBride got given. The full review is here…
McBride couldn’t let Alastair Campbell moralising go without comment. He’s given him a kicking in tomorrow’s Speccie:
“Alastair Campbell is saving Biteback Publishing a fortune in advertising. He was on the front of the papers calling for me to be prosecuted for leaking information. Over the course of the week, he sent me tweets about my book. I thought about replying that he hadn’t lost any of his old hounding skills, but decided it would be in bad taste.What I find strange about Alastair’s obsession is that we never worked in government at the same time, and don’t know each other at all. I met him at a quiz night last year: he was the answer to several of his own questions, played the music round on his bagpipes and gave out copies of his book as prizes. Before then, our only encounter was when I politely asked if he could use the back door of Downing Street to attend a No. 10 strategy meeting with Gordon Brown, so as to avoid drawing the media’s attention. Of course, he refused.”
Guido suggests they go discuss it in the street like gentlemen…
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UKIP Fundraiser Was Jailed for Running Brothels | Times
Bercow Faces Probe Over Pass Mystery | Mirror
Harman Breaks Rules on Paying Staff | Express
Labour Whinge About Sandi Toksvig Joke | Mail
John McTernan told Channel 4 News…
“You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, you don’t win in politics without breaking legs.”
What time will dinner be ready this evening?
Rob Wilson MP
In the interests of me I am placing a copy of this email in the public domain.