Monday, April 22, 2013

Whatsa Matter EU?
Labour Euro Candidates Are Failed Italian Politicians

Six-figure salaries, generous expenses and first class seats on the gravy train to Brussels, no wonder there were hundreds of applicants to become Labour candidates for the European Parliament. As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun column, two of their London candidates are Ivana Bartoletti, who in 2007 was elected to the Italian parliament in Rome, and Andrea Biondi, an unsuccessful candidate for the Italian parliament in January. His campaign website is still in Italian and he has yet to replace the Italian socialist party logo with the Labour Party’s logo.

Ed says he wants more ordinary working class candidates, so it seems odd that Labour wants to send two academic Italian political insiders to represent London’s interests in Brussels. Couldn’t they find any Brits good enough to do the job?

Ed Spends a Penny at Goldman Sachs

As Guido revealed in his Sun column yesterday, Maggie’s funeral played host to a classic awkward Ed Miliband moment. Dropped off some walk from St Paul’s Cathedral, Guido hears Ed was caught short and ended up popping into the plush marbled reception of a nearby bank. Given Labour’s banker bashing, the investment bankers inside would hardly be ecstatic about his impromptu visit. Friends of the Labour leader insist he merely wanted a mirror to ‘straighten his tie’. All credit to Ed for being one of the few people in the City to walk through Goldman Sachs’ front door and leave having only spent a penny…

Friday, April 19, 2013

Labour Members Desert Gordon

Here is University of Bristol professor Mark Wickham-Jones’ analysis of Labour Party membership figures in Dunfermline during Gordon’s time as their MP at yesterday’s One Nation conference:

“The reality is the grass-roots model is gone, I think. I mean, you know, Dunfermline – Gordon Brown’s constituency in Dunfermline – had nearly 1,000 members in the mid-1990s. At the time of the Labour Leadership election when they gave us fantastic data – which they’ll never do again – it had 163 members. Where did those people go?”

Guido has an idea…

Balls Spins Indy Spending Splash

Labour are getting into a spin over this morning’s Indy splash claiming they will pledge to outspend the Tories in 2015. Balls has told LBC the story “is an exclusive but it’s wrong”, blaming a report from the Fabians: “it is not our policy, it is not our position”. As Damian McBride speculates, the Indy front page is manifestly true, Labour just won’t confirm it until they release their manifesto in two years’ time.

Labour pledging to spend more is a case of when rather than if. They say they don’t have a position now, but you can bet the scoop will be confirmed by election day…

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Red on Red Ed Attacks Mount

The bigger stories of the week have understandably seen Ed’s internal party troubles slip under the radar. Over the past few days both Labour big beasts and the party’s new blood have been queuing up to snark at their leader. Whether it is welfare, immigration or One Nation, the red on reds are adding up:

Tony Blair:Parts of the political landscape that had been cast in shadow for some years, at least under New Labour and the first years of coalition government, are illuminated in sharp relief. The Conservative Party is back clothing itself in the mantle of fiscal responsibility, buttressed by moves against ‘benefit scroungers’, immigrants squeezing out British workers and – of course – Labour profligacy. The Labour Party is back as the party opposing ‘Tory cuts’, highlighting the cruel consequences of the Conservative policies on welfare and representing the disadvantaged and vulnerable.”

David Blunkett: “One Nation’ cannot and should never be simply the avoidance of the most obvious injustice or collective suicide. It has to be about a great deal more than politics built on grievance and the unhappiness of a resentful and selfish public sphere.”

John Reid: “You have to move from being a voice of protest to offering solutions as you move from being an effective opposition to a potential government.”

Ben Bradshaw: “On the button as usual, Tony Blair’s article for the New Statesman centenary edition”

Tessa Jowell: “Tony Blair won three elections, he published what I think lots of people think was a very good analysis of the way forward for Labour… (Jo Coburn: “Is the advice right?”) Yeah, absolutely.”

Simon Danczuk: “I go knocking on doors in Rochdale on a very regular basis and the people in Rochdale are quite clear that the trust in the welfare system has broken down. They see people on a daily basis who they perceive to be ‘swinging the lead’ and I think that’s probably true. There are people who are on benefits who should be in employment.”

As Dan Hodges notes, the Blairite zombies have risen. A broken wrist is the least of Ed’s worries…

Friday, April 12, 2013

Lambeth Labour Poster Propaganda Unravels, Again

Another Lambeth Labour poster, another Lambeth Labour propaganda own goal. This time they are claiming the credit for freezing council tax, despite the fact that it is a Tory policy consistently opposed by Labour in parliament. For some strange reason that isn’t mentioned.

Awkward…

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Introducing Soho’s Supercool New Club Night: ‘Chukka’

For some reason we haven’t seen much of Harrison over the last few days, but perhaps an answer to his plea for some non-trashy night life will be enough to coax him back into public. A new club night in Soho dedicated to polo, live music and champagne has just opened. It’s name? Chukka. Owner Siobhan MaGill reveals all:

“From this comment, it is clear that Chuka has not experienced the wealth of places London has to offer. We are one of the most diverse capitals in the world and certainly have a variety of venues to showcase this. We would therefore love to invite Chuka in to experience Chukka when we launch. We would invite Chuka in to experience our entertainment from the all-singing, all-dancing bar staff whilst he sips on a glass of fizz from London’s first Billecart-Salmon Champagne bar. If this wasn’t enough to get him dancing and to change his mind, we would encourage him to delve into our new equestrian themed fancy dress box.”

An offer he surely can’t refuse…

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Balls Denies Gambling Lobbyist’s ‘Adviser’ Claim

In Sunday’s Sun column Guido revealed how a controversial gambling lobbyist was claiming to be a “Business Adviser” to Ed Balls, despite the Shadow Chancellor denying ever having appointed him. Neil Goulden is the chairman of the Association of British Bookmakers, boss of Gala Bingo and the man in charge of the Coral high-street betting shop. He claims to be a “Business Adviser to Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls”, yet that is the first Team Balls have heard of it.

Balls’ spokesman insists to Guido that “Neil has not been appointed as a business adviser to Ed Balls”. Interesting that Balls told industry insiders he wanted to curb his party’s anti-bookies rhetoric at a private dinner organised by Goulden earlier this year. And that Goulden also donated £15,000 to Labour in the run up to the last election. Odds on that we haven’t heard the last of this one…

Monday, April 8, 2013

Miliband Speaks, Internet Laughs

Messaging went well then…

More Labour MPs Demand Tougher Welfare Stance

Owen Jones on Saturday morning:

24 hours later and the Labour leadership was signalling a sea change in their welfare policy, falling in line with public opinion. There have been rumblings about a new stance on the left towards welfare, but this weekend heralded a concerted effort to change the narrative. Hence the number of Labour MPs queuing up to praise Simon Danczuk’s Telegraph piece this morning. Danczuk had some choice words for the party’s out of favour media darling:

“Seeing people that are capable of working languish for years on benefits is not something the Left should be proud of. It’s something we should be fighting. Otherwise why call ourselves the Labour Party? Anyone who has lived with or spent time with people capable of working that have been parked on benefits for a decade or more will know the tragedy I’m talking about. We should all experience the feeling of satisfaction after a hard day’s work, the pride at getting a promotion, the sense of achievement from making a difference in the workplace. But for those trapped in welfare dependency these experiences will never happen. This is a criminal loss of human potential and something everyone interested in progressive politics should rail against.

But where are the jobs? That’s the continual refrain I hear these days from the likes of Owen Jones, as though we should accept that parking people on welfare for years on end is the done thing. This seems to be the only defence mounted by Jones et al to welfare reform. But what defence did he have when there were jobs available under the last Government? No doubt he would have resisted reform then as of now. The left has to accept there are some people on the dole that don’t want to work, and we need to have a plan to get them into work. Where families haven’t worked for years on end this is not just a tragedy for the adults in the household, it’s a tragedy for the children as well. What kind of message does it send out to them when they’ve never known any adult with a job?”

With 67% saying the welfare system needs to be overhauled and 79% backing Osborne’s £26,000 benefit cap, this is common sense realpolitik from Labour. Better to u-turn now than closer to the election…


Seen Elsewhere

What the Final Polls Tell Us | UK Polling Report
David Cameron’s Draft Resignation Letter | Speccie
Labour HQ to Be Demolished | Asa Bennett
Dirty Politics is a Good Thing | Harry Cole
Media Fear and Loathing in Scotland, Labour Next | Owen Jones
UK Top 10 Influencer Political Blogs | Cision
Redwood Exposes Constitutional Vandalism | Nick Wood
No Campaign Has Been Inept | Mail
PM Faces Friday Bloodbath | Mail
Will Miliband Bottle English Devolution? | Mary Riddell
Why Pollsters Could Be Wrong | John McDermott


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