Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WATCH: David Miliband Interview in Full

“You’re brothers for life… it’s important we try to conduct ourselves in the right way.” Ouch…

Via @liarpoliticians

Double Standards in Labour Education

Backbench dunce Ian Mearns wasted no time in sticking his oar in to the bitch fight between Tim Loughton and the anonymous @ToryEducation yesterday. The Member of the Education Select Committee must have thought he was onto a right wheeze up there on his high horse:

“This extraordinary attack is another example of derogatory language…. There is no place for these kind of personal attacks in public life. The Education Secretary needs to take action.”

Guido is looking forward to the poor delicate flower press releasing his concern about another Honourable Member’s sharp words last night. Brownite boot-boy Ian Austin went off on one at Greg Hands, amusingly about the very same Ian Mearns:

Guido has asked Mearns whether he is standing by his line that “there is no place for these kind of personal attacks in public life”. For some reason he has yet to reply…

Complete Miliband Reaction Round-Up

So farewell then, David Miliband. We are about to hear from the man himself on the TV, but before then Labour’s good, bad and ugly, as well as some old friends from further afield, have been out in force to give him a rousing send off:

Tony Blair: “I hope and believe this is time out not time over.”

Alastair Campbell: “David Miliband will make big contribution in new US role. Sad for UK politics but understandable and takes away sibling story distraction.”

Peter Mandelson: “I don’t think this is the end for David Miliband. If I can come back he can. You should not rule him out.”

Ed Miliband: “We went through a difficult leadership contest but time has helped to heal that. I will miss him. But although he is moving to America, I know he will always be there to offer support and advice when I need it.”

Damian McBride: “David Miliband will go down as the Errol ‘Bomber’ Graham of UK politics: the best of his generation but no chin when it mattered. His huge moment was Summer 2008; GB was massively destabilised by his Guardian article; but we monstered him cos of his timidity.”

Ed Balls: “To David Miliband and Louise in NY, the best of luck – friends and close colleagues for over 20 years, we’ll all miss him in Parliament.”

Douglas Alexander: “David Miliband and I first became friends as students, before either of us had met Tony Blair or Gordon Brown and long before anyone talked about New Labour. Twenty five years on, he remains one of my closest friends in politics and in life.”

Chuka Umunna: “Very sad that one of Labour’s strikers has left the field.”

John Mann: “It’s fascinating how MPs who quit Parliament always see politics about themselves rather than about constituents.”

Bill Clinton: “I have known David almost twenty years. He is one of the ablest, most creative public servants of our time.”

Nick Clegg: “He was one of the few big characters in Labour who understood that an opposition can’t just shout but has to come up with an alternative.”

Jim Murphy: “The understandable fascination by the media and others on the relationship between David and Ed Miliband was really hampering whatever he could say, and also getting in the way on occasion on what Ed Miliband was trying to achieve. So I think it’s the sensible thing for him to do.”

Ivan Lewis: “By putting interests of party 1st David Miliband has shown the class + integrity his friends so admire. Alternative, never ending soap opera.”

Austin Mitchell: “Dont go Dave. Your party needs U. NY is so far from Ed. So close to Mensch.”

Dan Hodges: “David Miliband realised the game was up in January: his every move was seen as a knife in his brother’s back.”

You can read Guido’s goodbye here

Will the Last Blairite to Leave Switch Out the Light?

red-light-milibandThis morning Nick Robinson observed on the Today programme of David Miliband “He was not just the other brother, he was the New Labour brother.” Robinson also reported that one senior figure on the left of the Labour Party told him late last night: “It’s important for the left to avoid triumphalism but it obviously marks the date when New Labour finally accepted that the crisis requires us to turn the page… Now there can be no excuse for timidity [from Ed Miliband] because the Blairites are decisively weakened.”

Milburn, Reid, Purnell and now David Miliband are all gone as they see the writing on the wall, a frontbench packed with more supporters of Ed Balls than David Miliband despite him having won far more support from the parliamentary Labour Party. Dan Hodges identified it yesterday before the news from David Miliband – his brother Ed is a hostage to the left of his party together with the unions who put him in place and hold the purse strings. He can’t move towards the voters on policy without undermining himself and party unity. The Owen Jones digital Bennites are in the ascendant supported by the siren calls of Polly Toynbee, fronting the drive among activists for more left-wing policies – the inherent problem for a party with socialist activists far to the left of the electorate on, for example, welfare reform. As they rise in the polls and scent power the left becomes more furious in its policy demands…

byrneEd’s current poll lead means the left-wing of his party is in no mood for compromising with the electorate. The remaining Blairites like Liam Byrne are on the receiving end of vitriol last seen when Derek Hatton was in his prime. The unions are in no mood for moderation, Len McCluskey last week wrote to congratulate  the 44 MPs who defied a three-line party whip to vote against Liam Byrne’s official line on welfare reform.   They enjoy principled opposition, the Blairite accommodation with reality was an aberration, it matters not a jot to much of the rank and file that it was the most successful period in history for the Labour Party. The capacity of the Labour Party to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is legendary – a left-wing Labour Party will not form a coalition government in 2015…

Above was how Owen Jones greeted the news of David Miliband’s exit from British politics. Tony Blair hints in his more generous statement of his fears “He is obviously a massive loss to UK politics… I hope and believe this is time out not time over.” It is over, all that remains for Labour moderates is for the last of them to switch off the light…

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Owen Jones and the People’s Front Against t’Cuts

Rejoice, comrades! This lunchtime Guido infiltrated the Unite headquarters to run the rule over the People’s Assembly, Owen Jones’ new sinister sounding union-funded anti-cuts campaign. Under the watchful eye of Keir Hardie in a rather austere room, a panel of NUT “Enemies of Promise”, PCS strike-mongers, loony left MPs and a bad comedian bleated about “the cuts”. Former SWP luvvie Mark Steel’s awkward jokes fell flat and Labour foghorn Katy Clark did her best to contain herself over Liam Byrne consorting with the enemy. Ironic that as the panel discussed the need for a united left to stand together, Blairite refusenik Dan Hodges pointed out two different hard left factions have launched on the same day. The workers, united, will never be defeated…

Faced with Guido’s austerity facts at today’s presser, Owen refreshingly slammed the government for borrowing too much:

“To quote that bastion of socialism, the Standard and Poor credit agency… fiscal ‘austerity’ risks being self-defeating. You’re quite correct. This government risks borrowing over £200 billion more than projected, the underlying deficit is 11% higher than a year ago.”

When even Owen Jones thinks you’re borrowing too much, you know you have a problem…

Eric Joyce Appeal For Witnesses

Nearly two weeks on from Eric Joyce’s latest brush with the law, this is still up on the door of parliament’s Sports and Social bar. Researchers hawking videos of the commotion around the papers should get in touch…

Monday, March 25, 2013

Baldamort’s Showdown With Labour Rebels
Liam Byrne Meeting With “Friends of Benefits” Right Now

An awkward afternoon for Baldamort, putting it lightly. Last week that well known Labour MP Ian Mearns quit as Ivan Lewis’ PPS, as over 40 of his Labour colleagues rebelled over Liam Byrne’s decision to abstain on the welfare sanctions vote.  The party’s hardline “friends of benefits wing are baying for blood against one of the few Shadow Cabinet members to understand that Labour are on the wrong side of the handout arguement. They are meeting with him at 4pm to, er, discuss their differences. Oh to be a fly on the wall…

Call Me Chuka O’Munna

As revealed in yesterday’s Sun column, two-faced Chuka Umunna isn’t so shy about the ‘British Obama’ tag when he’s away from the public eye. When the President visited Ireland in the summer of 2011 he delighted his hosts by telling them of his Moneygall ancestral roots and dubbing himself Barry O’Bama. This year it was Chuka’s turn, speaking to guests at the Labour Irish Society’s St Patrick’s Day shindig of a relative from Sligo. Telling them they could call him Chuka O’Munna may have given the game away…

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Many Faces of Emily Thornberry

Well worth taking a look at Michael Gove skewer Emily Thornberry on last night’s Question Time just for her facial expressions, from 40 minutes in. She didn’t fare much better on the Daily Politics today either, accusing the government of “starving out” cancer sufferers from their homes:

Thornberry: I met a guy in Lancashire, right, and he lives in a three bedroom house. His wife has recently died, wife has recently died and he has cancer. He is in a three  bedroom house, and they have written to him and they have said unless you move you’re going to lose £80 a month. I am not saying that in the long term it wouldn’t be a good idea for him to move. But basically, to starve him out is not right, and…

Brillo: You’re accusing the coalition of starving him out?

Thornberry: I mean I think this is what happens.

A strong nomination for an Order of the OTT…

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Budget Doesn’t Unravel, Budget Spin Does

24 hours later and Osborne’s budget has yet to unravel, though both sides are having quite a set-to over the Help to Buy mortgage scheme. This morning Labour spinners got very excited by Osborne’s refusal to deny that the scheme would help wealthy homeowners to buy second homes, having the cheek to call it the “spare home subsidy”.

Both Osborne and Cable again did not deny it in the House at lunchtime. A Tory spokesman insists to Guido: “this is a very technical area. We have said that we are going to consult in order to get this right, instead of rushing into decisions or knee jerk reactions”. Yet Housing minister Mark Prisk seems to have made his mind up, telling Wato second homes would not be included.

Labour aren’t having a much better time of it: yesterday two-faced Chuka Umunna told Radio 4 he liked the policy, today he’s against it. If it turns out the spare home subsidy doesn’t exist and the policy is as he thought yesterday, that leaves him in a rather awkward position…


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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