Guido is happy to support Tom Watson for Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. His campaign is off to a flying start with a fundraising page set-up and ready to go. Unite union boss Len McCluskey’s old flatmate is exactly the right person for the job as far as Guido is concerned. Have even made a small donation…
Some of the heat was taken out of the stand-off between the Labour high command and their unhappy HQ staff last week by a promise that all future jobs would be advertised internally. The row over the appointment of a new Labour Party Executive and a reorganisation of the party structure reached a peak with HQ staff calling in the unions to try find a solution. Guido has now got hold of a letter from the Joint Trade Union Committee (GMB and Unite), to the Labour’s General Secretary Iain McNicol outlining the complaints:
The new confused chain of command and in particular the ex-Goldman Sachs adviser turned Labour Chief Exec Sir Charles Allen comes in for serious criticism, as does Ed’s leadership on this and his team’s handling of the whole process. Now the row looks set to boil over again. Despite a promise from Ed’s Chief of Staff Tim Livesey that all future jobs would be advertised, Guido can reveal this lunchtime that various senior positions have been filled without due process. Staffers claim that there were not even interviews for the following jobs:
- Mr Paul Harrington – Head of Field Operations
- Mr Joe Derrett- Head of Press for Ken Livingstone’s Campaign
- Ms Veronica King – Press and Campaigns Officer for Ken Livingstone
- Ms Anneliese Midgley – Head of Events and Visits for Ken Livingstone
Guido hears that at least one Labour staffer is preparing to take the Party to an industrial tribunal…
After a big recruitment campaign, the new £65,000-a-year directors of the Labour Party are set to be unveiled next week, and they seem to have recruited from within. As Guido understands it, the three leading directors are likely to be:
- Director of Communications: Bob Roberts.
Currently Ed’s press man, this is a good move sideways and sort of upwards for the former Mirror Political Editor, some confusion as to if he wants to stay in the Norman Shaw building’s leaders office rather than go to the Labour HQ. Also means his career in the party is not over with a change of leader.
- Director of Strategy: Greg Beales
Currently Ed’s policy wonk and general consigliere. His other quarter is Katie Myler, the daughter of the former Screws editor Colin. Not much change here.
- Director of Policy: Torsten Henricson-Bell
This former Alistair Darling SpAd was on the inside when they “not only saved the world, but saved the banks too”. He’s been sniffing around for a seat since. He didn’t go far away, and has been advising Ed on economic policy.
There are other less exciting back room roles, but these three will be the significant players. The biggest loser of this reorganisation is the unfortunately titled “Director of Strategy and Communications” Tom Baldwin, who has effectively had his job divided up and handed to other people, in particular Tim Livesey, the former diplomat and adviser to the archbishop. When Tom started, it was made very clear that he was Bob Robert’s boss. It doesn’t really look that way any more…
UPDATE: According to LabourList, who are now catching up with us on this story, Beales will stay in the leader’s office. They also reveal Patrick Heneghan for Field ops and Emilie Oldknow for the dubiously named Governance and Services Director.
UPDATE II: Or not:
For the second time in a month Peter Mandelson’s think-tank, Policy Network, has launched a policy salvo against the direction the Labour Party is taking under Miliband. Mandelson privately is contemptuous of young Ed, these high-minded wonkish policy exhortations are the respectable manifestation of that contempt.
Last month his think-tank published “In the Black Labour: Why fiscal conservatism and social justice go hand-in-hand” is a discussion paper in which the authors; Graeme Cooke, Adam Lent, Anthony Painter and Hopi Sen, called for Labour to embrace fiscal conservatism. The paper was an explicit rebuttal of the kamikaze economics of Ed Balls endorsed by Ed Miliband, which poll after poll shows is not seen as credible by the public. Despite the state of the economy Cameron and Osborne are supported by the British public to a far greater extend than Miliband and Balls.
In exactly the same vein shadow pensions minister Gregg McClymont MP and Oxford historian Ben Jackson have written a paper for the think-tank warning that austerity governments often defeat opponents and that historically the Tories have achieved this on multiple occasions. They also urge Miliband to abandon his “predators and producers” rhetoric and “put forward a more convincing strategy for private sector growth than the Conservatives”. McClymont and Jackson further warn that Ed Miliband must avoid the “tax and spend” trap and “a simple defence of the public sector and public spending”. Alas that is Labour policy in a nutshell..
Over a year ago Harriet Harman, speaking at a Labour delegates reception, claimed that the Labour Party had gained 65,000 new party members. This morning a Labour press spokesman, while defending Ed Miliband’s leadership, again claimed 65,000 new party members.
If the party’s press spokesman is telling the truth that means in over a year since the start of Ed Miliband’s leadership the Labour Party has not made a net gain of any more members. No surprise really, Ed hardly inspires enthusiasm…
Ayesha Hazarika – a former stand-up comedienne – who previously crafted one-liners for PMQs has been sacked by Ed Miliband as his spokesperson. Labour sources say that the Political Adviser (PAd) wasn’t sacked over yesterday’s dismal performance in particular. The decision was made some weeks ago, in part because Ed Miliband felt she wasn’t performing well in the role of presenting him to the media and he was also increasingly uncomfortable over her close relationship with Tom Watson. Ayesha has been consoling Tom during his marriage break-up.
On hearing that her former SpAd was to be sacked by Ed Miliband, Harriet Harman offered Ayesha her old job back working for her. This didn’t go down well with Ed Miliband who took Ayesha’s re-appointment by his deputy-leader as something of an affront to his authority. Such is the weakness of his leadership that Harriet Harman ignored Ed’s protests.
UPDATE: Ed’s people now spinning Ayesha wasn’t sacked, she was “made redundant”, that must be because Ed Miliband doesn’t need a media spokesperson and Harriet needs another? Paul Waugh was told this morning that she left by “mutual consent”. Hopefully they will get their line straight by lunchtime.
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Peter Hain is considered by Ed Miliband’s people to be something of an elder statesman, he was an early backer of Ed for leader and has reaped the benefit of that since. After what was a mauling at PMQs, judged one of Ed’s worst outings by many, Hain’s judgement was up there with the legendary Comical Ali. He reached for that old standby, blaming the Tory press…
Unfortunately in reality even the friendly left-wing press were underwhelmed. The Guardian’s Nicholas Watt, the Indy’s John Rentoul, Newsnight’s comrade Paul Mason, ubiquitous leftie Owen Jones and LabourList’s Mark Ferguson were all shaking their heads wistfully.
The more neutral observers such as the BBC’s Nick Robinson said that Miliband had “taken a pasting”, Total Politics described it as “excruciating to watch“. It was especially excruciating for Labour’s backbenchers and frontbenchers alike who go home for Christmas behind in the polls and on the wrong side of the public on Europe and the economy. Some are even talking of a Yvette Cooper / David Miliband dream ticket next year. That is how desperate they are getting…
Team Miliband has earned plaudits for promising to end elections to Labour’s shadow cabinet team. There has been an outbreak of support for Labour’s version of the Führerprinzip from all corners. While this may put a block on the more […]