Douglas Alexander has surfaced for his annual pre-conference toe dip into the media. Last year he went after Ed Miliband, this year he’s said what every Labour supporter with a brain knows full well:
“Ken’s campaign too often looked like the past rather than the future. And when I saw his remarks about the Jewish community in London in particular, I didn’t just think it was ill advised, I just thought it was wrong. It’s not our politics to try and divide voters into blocks. The success of the Olympics reminds us that London’s greatness and Britain’s greatness is when we come together. And I think he paid a deserved price for some of the errors that he made.”
Nice of him to speak out at the time…
UPDATE: Needless to say Ken’s accomplices in his deceitful campaign are gutted:
I'm really not sure what Douglas Alexander thinks he's achieving with his comments re Ken. Not a day goes by when I don't wish Ken was mayor—
Tom Copley (@tomcopley) September 28, 2012
UPDATE II: Ken hits back:
Eyebrows have been raised by the replacement Douglas Alexander has chosen for his departed spinner Steve Van Riel. You would have thought that as shadow Foreign Secretary he would have brought someone in with some actual foreign policy experience, but instead the one time campaign manager to David Miliband has chosen Michelle Napchan. She’s a pollster…
Officially the line is that Napchan will be helping to craft Labour’s message by focus grouping on issues like Europe. However, given that Wee Dougie was one of the few figures able to flit between the Blairites and the Brownites, he is a key unity figure in Ed’s Shadow Cabinet and the slightest hint that he is on manoeuvres gets people talking. One Labour spinny-type suggests that he has studied how Brown did things from the shadows: “he’s building his own private operation, his own army”. Another Labour source was not so sure though: “The only army I see Douglas Alexander building is one with Action Men”. If there is ever a move against Ed, Guido would put good money on the “unity” man being involved…
Guido speculated the other day about the role Douglas Alexander played in the onslaught that Ed’s leadership faced last week, and apparently the “Ed” book sheds some more light about his fraught relationship with his leader. Andy Grice reports:
Ed told his fellow Brownite Douglas Alexander that toppling Mr Brown “would be like killing our father”. The authors remark: “This vivid phrase again signifies Ed’s loyalty to his political ‘father’, Brown, not his real-life brother, David.”
Although he was one of Ed’s oldest political friends, Mr Alexander decided to run David’s leadership election campaign. This was a blow to Ed. The two of them had gone on holiday together and their partners – Justine and Mr Alexander’s wife, Jackie – had also become close. “Ed’s desire to be leader meant his personal relationships were taking a battering,” says the book.
Ed told friends Mr Alexander was annoyed that a man younger than him was standing and believed a brother should not challenge an elder sibling. Mr Alexander was said to believe that Ed’s challenge had its roots in a long-established sibling rivalry and that the Labour leadership should not be “sacrificed” on the altar of it.
Is Wee Dougie avenging the spilt blood?
In this video wee Dougie Alexander shows why he won’t be a leadership contender after the election. His less than inspiring back-room boy style briefing from Labour HQ is somewhat reminiscent of Eric Pickles’s efforts, yet it has all the joy and excitement of a game of bowls. Labour are spinning all they want that “people win elections – not posters” but it’s a poor effort at hiding the fact the party have no money. Did the Labour Party claim they didn’t need posters in 1997 when the money was rolling in?
What Labour are doing well at though is the virtual-phone-banking. It’s a move right out of the Obama play-book and with the full weight of the Unite machine organising behind them, it seems that Labour are outdoing their Tory counterparts in making sure their wavering core wake up. People in marginals are already complaining of the near constant bombardment. Still many weeks to go and it will only get worse.
UPDATE : You must read this fantastic piece by Dizzy about Wee Dougie: Labour Unveils its Radical New Strategy.
Access to clean water is one of the most pressing problems the developing world faces at the best of times. In the video above you can see an amazing British solution for disaster zones. At over £100 a bottle to produce 6,000 litres it is expensive now. If DfID only spent a small bit of their multi-billion budget on this in readiness for the next disaster, instead of on filming videos of Dougie Alexander watched by a dozen people,* it would save countless lives. It would also drastically reduce the unit cost with large scale production runs.
This amazing LifeSaver bottle can literally put clean pure water in the hands of disaster victims as fast as a cargo-plane can fly to the disaster zone. The bottle was developed by one British entrepreneur, Michael Pritchard, using nano-technology and without a single penny of state subsidy. Capitalism works…
*Why is DfID wasting money producing videos of Dougie Alexander in Bangladesh wishing “Happy Ramadan“ (at the time of publishing this) to all of 12 viewers?
Hat-tip : Brian Micklethwait
The low circulation New Statesman continues to fascinate Guido, a co-conspirator has sent in an example of a lavish bit of sycophancy which really deserves a bigger audience.
You may remember that James Macintyre was not so long ago bitterly disappointed at failing to become Ed Miliband’s SpAd after Derek Draper advised Ed against hiring him. This week Macintyre was embedded on a junket to Bangladesh and India with Ed Miliband and Dougie Alexander to see poverty first-hand and get a few photo-ops with the ministers. Looks like Macintyre is re-applying for the SpAd job with the man he describes optimistically as “a leader-in-waiting”:
It is amazing to think that if the conventional wisdom is right, and Labour loses, these talented ministers, with so much to offer, will suddenly be out of a job. I can’t remember who their Tory opposite numbers are, but it is fair to say that certain parties I have spoken to, from NGO workers to diplomats to foreign politicians, are keeping their fingers crossed that the consensus will be proved wrong.
Can you hear that sucking up sound? You would think that the ‘political correspondent’ of a magazine with pretensions to being a serious journal would know his subject. It falls to Guido, again, to help out the Statesman’s political team: Andrew Mitchell and Greg Clark are their opposite numbers…
Iain Dale is asking readers if they can work out why. Was it…?
A) He was scared of appearing with Ken Clarke
B) He couldn’t think how to defend Sister Wendy
C) He didn’t want to account for his role in the bottled election decision
D) He was scared of defending his role in the David Abrahams planning application
or E) All four
Another Brown bottler.
Guido remembers attending a Demos event last year where the new campaign commissar was giving his thoughts. With all this talk of an early election in the air the boys and girls at CCHQ and Cowley Street would do well to dig out his “Serving a Cause, Serving a Community“ Demos pamphlet from last year. In it he urged the Labour party to work in partnership rather than parallel with like minded organisations including trade unions. Gordon is spinning today that he wants to reduce the power of the unions through one man, one vote.
He wrote about the party to becoming a “community hub” creating space for shared discussion with social interest groups who will have input into local party campaigns using blogs and chat rooms to encourage debate with those preferring not to go to formal party meetings. LabourHome is their best semi-unofficial attempt at this, and it still shaded by ConservativeHome.
He also claimed he wanted to throw off the control-freak shackles and loosen the rigid party structures to allow issues to be discussed informally and he wanted to decentralise professional party staff resources from national to local level. Once again the Tories have the edge here, they are far less control-freaky and they already have their Northern call-centre operation with regional offices benefiting from Lord Ashcroft’s cash.
If the Demos pamphlet was Douglas Alexander’s job application it will take time to achieve his goals for Labour. That together with their cash crisis, makes Guido doubtful they will go for an early election.
Another BBC Stitch Up? | David Keighley
Divided, Pessimistic Tories Expect Defeat | Alex Wickham
Labour Suspends Rotherham Council Members | Sky
PM Used Terror Crisis to Deflect From Carswell | Rachel Sylvester
Scotland Surges for Freedom | Times
Carswell Left Because Cam Can’t Be Trusted on Reform | ConHome
Top 100 Most UKIP-Friendly Tory Seats | ConHome
Bercow ‘Wounded’ | Speccie
This Goes Further Than Rotherham | Simon Danczuk
Bercow Mocked | Times
Indy Deletes ‘Jewish Lobby’ Headline | MediaGuido
“I stab people in the front, not the back.”
Owen Jones says:
We also need Zil lanes.