“Why won’t Labour offer a say to the British public on Europe?”
“Why won’t Labour offer a say to the British public on Europe?”
Len McCluskey is tonight, with a straight face, calling upon the Labour party to “restore integrity to its discredited inquiry into the selection campaign” in Falkirk.
Denouncing the party’s own investigation as scandalous in its shortcomings, McCluskey has told the Labour Party’s general secretary Iain McNichol that the report was:
“Simply a ‘stitch-up’ designed to produce some evidence, however threadbare, to justify pre-determined decisions taken in relation to Falkirk CLP.
Even on the basis of this flimsy report, it is clear that these decisions cannot be justified. There is no emergency which would justify imposing these undemocratic restrictions, since any real problems could easily be addressed before embarking on a parliamentary selection process.
The report has been used to smear Unite and its members. Even if the allegations of people being signed up to the Party without their knowledge were true, this had nothing whatsoever to do with my union.
It is noteworthy that members of the shadow cabinet have been in the lead in initiating this attack upon Unite. Have they had sight of this report while I, the leader of the union put in the frame, has not had the courtesy of a copy?
The mishandling of this investigation has been a disgrace. I, however, am obliged to uphold the integrity of Unite, and I can no longer do so on the basis of going along with the activities of a Labour Party administration in which I can place no trust.
I will therefore be publicly proposing that an independent inquiry be held into all circumstances relating to Falkirk CLP and the conduct of all parties involved, including Unite, the Labour Party centrally (including the Compliance Unit) and in Scotland, the officers of the CLP itself, and all those who have sought or are seeking nomination as the Labour PPC.
Unite will cooperate fully with such an inquiry, and draw appropriate conclusions from any findings regarding our own behaviour. I trust that you will support such an inquiry, will direct all Labour Party employees to cooperate with it and encourage other individuals to do likewise.”
Len really is not happy they have kicked his girlfriend Karie Murphy out of the party…
Kim Howells, former MP and NUM official, tells The World This Weekend that the Labour Party must break the union link…
“I think this threatens the whole reputation of the Labour Party. The Labour Party has got be seen to be above special interest politics. It’s no good any more assuming that ‘Well, the British People at large are going to be broadly sympathetic to the Trades Union movement therefore it doesn’t really matter.’ It does matter. It’s got to be seen to be a party that represents everyone. As society changes more quickly now than it has ever changed. The ‘Old Order’ is rapidly dissolving… Oh it’ll be a gift to the, to the Tories and the Lib Dems and the rest who want to see Labour defeated obviously, and kept out of government. But remember there are a lot of people inside the Labour movement who hate being in government because it means making very difficult decisions. They’d rather be a Ginger group outside. They’d rather be calling for what we used to refer to as “impossibleism” because it sounded good and it fitted their rhetoric. It’s a nonsense of course. And if Labour’s going to win the another General election and win cleanly then it’s got to change its constitution and its way of selecting candidates.”
It looks like it is a busy day for Ed Balls, the man who aspires to be a chef, lunching today, according to EyeSpy.MP, with The Telegraph’s Deputy Editor Benedict Brogan at the Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Junior’s Roux at Parliament Square. We’re all in this together, eh?
— Eye Spy MP (@eyespymp) June 20, 2013
Tonight Ed’s waistline takes another hit when he is the keynote speaker at the Co-operative Party Gala Dinner 2013 at the Hilton Victoria Hotel off Millbank. The evening will apparently “provide a unique opportunity to enjoy the company of some of the country’s leading co-operators and Co-operative Party members, supporters, workers, Councillors and Members of Parliament.”
The financial hub of this great co-operative movement is of course the Co-operative Bank, which was encouraged by the Labour government to take over the Britannia Building Society in 2009 because politically Labour wanted to expand the co-operative base. Ed Balls is a Co-op supported MP, his office gets bunged £50,000 a year from the Co-op. The Labour Party itself is literally in hock to the Co-operative Bank to the tune of £3.6 million on a low interest you scratch-my-back I’ll-scratch-yours terms deal. Tonight Ed Balls will sing for his supper as their after dinner speaker…
The Co-operative Bank is a financial disaster after the Labour government induced deal, the bank’s bonds have hit junk status, 7,000 end investors – typically pensioners – will be wiped out by the bond haircut that will be necessary to plug the black hole in the Co-op Bank’s finances. It smells bad. Ed Balls isn’t going to do himself any favours tonight if he is trying to rebuild his reputation for financial probity…
UPDATE: According to reports from the room tonight, Ed is still a keen Guido reader:
Ed Balls also seemed delighted that his after dinner speech tonight has received a preview on @GuidoFawkes
— Mark Ferguson (@Markfergusonuk) June 20, 2013
Ed Balls has finally blinked, tearing up the party’s previously unbreakable commitment to universal benefits, alienating the Labour left and cynically conceding to the centre ground. He announced today that Labour would cut winter fuel payments to the rich, something Miliband has previously defended as “a bedrock of our society”. Channelling Osborne, Balls will say:
“In tough economic times we have to make difficult choices about priorities for public spending and what the right balance is between universal and targeted support. So at a time when the public services that pensioners and others rely on are under strain, it can no longer be a priority to continue paying the winter fuel allowance to the wealthiest pensioners.”
This is of almost no financial significance, it is however hugely significant politically. Abandoning such a historically fundamental Labour policy reveals much of Balls’ fears for his own job. He knows that if he cannot improve flat-lining public confidence in his competency by next year Miliband has a decision to make. This LabourList/Survation poll is why Balls knows being fired could easily become a reality:
In the Sun today Trevor Kavanagh says Miliband is the new Kinnock. This is a comparison Guido has made in the past, not least to Ed himself, that he would go the same way as Labour’s 1992 leader. It makes sense for Miliband and Balls to change track two years before the election rather than leave it any later and risk their credibility sinking even lower. They have two years to get the party, then the people, on board…
Well this is hardly going to help improve Baldamort’s status as a Labour pariah in lefty circles. After all his party’s truth-stretching moralising, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary has refused to commit to repealing the spare room subsidy:
“We are not going to make promises we can’t keep. I believe very strongly that this is a tax that will cost more than it saves, but I know I have to prove that beyond reasonable doubt and that is the research that I am doing now to gather evidence from across the country. We hear of houses lying empty because people can’t afford the tax that would hit them if they moved in, so obviously it does not make sense. We have to work through our position as fast as we can, but no one will forgive us for making promises we can’t keep.”
Miliband’s decision to cast Labour as the anti-referendum party will have upset one multi-millionaire donor in particular. John Mills is the founder of the JML shopping channel and the most prominent Labour leaning co-chairman of Business for Britain, he is also the major backer of the new Eurosceptic Labour for a Referendum group.
He has called for “soul-searching and internal review” of Labour’s Europe policy, in no uncertain terms:
“While we differ on other policy areas, David Cameron should be congratulated for laying down markers on how the EU needs to change along the lines of flexibility and fairness to boost competitiveness…
Mills gave £1.6 million worth of shares in his company to the Labour Party in January this year. Finally Ed finds some non-union support, with an agenda of his own…
UPDATE: Friends of John Mills say he is a Eurosceptic, however Labour for a Referendum is Euro-put-the-issue-to-bed-ist.
Hi @GuidoFawkes Could you please amend the part of your article which says we are a Eurosceptic campaign, we are not.
— LabourforaReferendum (@Lab4aRef) May 15, 2013
Glad we cleared that up…
As Guido reported in his Sun on Sunday column, the Labour triumvirate of Tom Watson, John Spellar and Michael Dugher are being remarkably tight-lipped about what was discussed over lunch with Lord Ashcroft last week, and who picked up the tab. A friend points out that “Tom Watson’s credit card hasn’t been seen in 25 years” and Spellar is a notoriously “careful with his money” Yorkshireman. Presumably that means Aschroft made his first donation to the Labour Party by footing the bill.
And it’s paying off: the flirting continues this morning, with Ashcroft gleefully retweeting Watson’s digs at Gove and Watson laying on the praise for Ashcroft’s polling. It seems Watson can be bought off with food…
Expenses trougher and Labour’s former Enfield North MP Joan Ryan has some nerve. In a letter to her local Labour Party seen by Guido, Ryan begs them for her support, saying she wants to run again in 2015: “we have to select the best candidate to win for Labour in Endfield North… now I’m asking for your support to become Labour’s parliamentary candidate”. Apparently with a straight face, she insists “had it not been for the changes to parliamentary boundaries we would still have a Labour MP in Enfield North”.
Definitely nothing to do with the fact that during the expenses scandal Ryan was exposed as having claimed £4,500 for work on her second home, having to pay back over £5,000 in mortgage interest the following year. Her wikipedia page was mysteriously edited at least ten times from inside the parliamentary estate in an attempt to remove details of her expenses indiscretions. For some reason no mention of any of this in Ryan’s letter. And certainly no apology. Her local party have given her short shrift so far, the final selection meeting is tomorrow…
UPDATE: Ryan’s ex-agent Chris Deacon has come out against her plans for a return:
“I think the membership feels that for us to win we need a fresh, new candidate to take the party forward.”
As the extent of Labour’s thoroughly underwhelming day becomes clear, Ed’s friends are turning on him. George Eaton at the Staggers encapsulates the feeling:
“After a troubled month, which saw the first hints of a Tory recovery since the 2012 Budget, Ed Miliband needed a strong set of results to give him some political breathing space. But while far from disastrous, his party’s performance will only revive the question: why isn’t Labour doing better? Its main centre-left challenger is locked in government with a right-wing Conservative Party, the economy has barely grown since 2010 and the Tory brand has been comprehensively retoxified. Yet Labour still appears incapable of generating popular enthusiasm among those who should be embracing it. Rather than assuaging Miliband’s malaise, today’s results will only deepen it.”
Looks like the story of the day for Labour is that we’ve done well where we’re organised, but elsewhere – not quite good enough I’m afraid
— Mark Ferguson (@Markfergusonuk) May 3, 2013
I think can safely say that today’s results are not the boost that Ed Miliband was hoping for after a tricky month
— Mark Ferguson (@Markfergusonuk) May 3, 2013
The Beeb’s projected national share gives Labour just a 6% increase since the dark days of Gordon in 2009. As Mark Pack shows, Labour are the biggest losers from UKIP’s surge…
Cam Can Sell Euroscepticism to Europe | Peter Oborne
Treasury’s Laws There to Be Broken | Jill Kirby
Dave’s Pro-Free Markets Speech | ASI
Forget the Nimbys, Bring on the Bimbys | ConHome
Emily is No Snob | Islington Tribune
Cam’s Red Line | Sun
Politicians Must Examine Their Extincts | Laura K
Immigration Lies | Nigel Farage
Take That Mr Speaker | Quentin Letts
How Avoidable Scandals Destroy Stupid Politicians | Alex Wickham
UKIP Mosque Confusion | The Week
UKIP’s Patrick O’Flynn:
“I think Mail online comments are a telling indication of public opinion.”