Monday, June 23, 2014

Former Miliband Insider Defects to the Government

In yesterday’s Sun on Sunday column Guido exclusively revealed that Ed Miliband’s former speechwriter Phil Taylor has sensationally defected to the government, becoming a political adviser to LibDem justice minister Simon Hughes. Taylor, who worked at the heart of Miliband’s leadership campaign in 2010, tells Guido he believes it would be “a disaster” if his old boss Ed wins a majority in 2015, because Labour’s economic policy is “nonsense”. Lifting the lid on the divisions at the top of the party, Taylor says Labour is still blighted by “Gordon Brown type leadership”, warning that “Miliband­-Balls is just as bad as the Blair-­Brown era, everything has to be agreed by both of them and signed off by both of them. Miliband is too weak to stand up for himself.” Taylor is an experienced Westminster operator having advised ministers in the last Labour government and serving in opposition as a spin­doctor for shadow cabinet minister Maria Eagle until earlier this year. He blames the Shadow Chancellor for Labour’s woes: “I fell out with Ed Balls because Labour’s economic policy is nonsense. I tried to push through policies on cuts but Balls blocked them.

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Elsewhere, it’s a Code Red Save Ed situation in the rest of the weekend papers. The Sunday Times is particularly brutal, quoting one of Miliband’s inner circle, when asked what they would do if he became PM, as replying: “I’d get the hell out of there as fast as I could“. A Labour frontbencher twists the knife: “We communicate in a language most people neither speak nor understand“. Meanwhile in the Express a Labour MP reports “It is back to the Michael Foot era, if not worse, in terms of capability and the ability to lead” while in the Guardian a frontbencher warns “We are at the mercy of Brown people who lost it for us last time“. Labour spinners like John McTernan are insisting in a panglossian way that Miliband is the victim of “bullying” from his enemies in the press, despite the most damaging quotes coming from Labour insiders…

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Labour Policy Announcement Achieves Widespread Coverage

On the day Ed Miliband made his big new policy announcement on welfare, the BBC is talking about their broken promise on owls:

Ross Hawk-ins’ finest hour…

Joined Up Policy Thinking From Labour

Labour’s policy announcement this morning has been lost in the parliament of owls, but something is still bugging Guido. Why are the party promising to create a new Youth Allowance for unemployed young people? They don’t need one because they’ve already promised a Jobs Guarantee for every unemployed young person.

This jobs guarantee is compulsory.

It’s even called the Compulsory Jobs Guarantee.

Today’s policy is about benefit sanctions for those young people out of work, but why do they need that when they’ve already promised to guarantee everyone a job?

We’re Owlright: The Best Ed Miliband Owl Tweets

This afternoon, the Labour Party press office tweeted this:

The internet reacted beautifully:

What a hoot.

McBride: Ed’s Team Are Not Election Winners

Damian McBride is back and blogging for the first time in almost a year, giving both barrels to Miliband’s inner circle. Stewart Wood look away now:

“There are many positive things to say about the people managing Ed Miliband’s operation and running Labour’s campaign. They are well-spoken, well-read, well-connected, and if you stay on their right side, quite genial. You’d feel safe sitting them next to your mum at a wedding.
 
But what they are not is fighters. They will never give their press team and foot-soldiers the ammunition required to win the next 40 weeks in the media and on the doorstep, not just because they lack an understanding of what might do the trick, but also an appreciation of why doing so matters. Not when they could be attending a Thomas Piketty symposium instead.
 
Just like David Cameron, Ed Miliband has been guilty of recruiting his innermost circle of advisers entirely in his own image. That’s alright in peacetime if it helps him shape his political philosophy and refine his personal blueprint for government. It might even be OK if basking in a large majority in office.
 
But with an election to win – an election Labour can win – Ed urgently needs to add some ‘wartime consiglieres’ to the mix, not in place of the very capable and trusted people he’s got, but working alongside them…

Ed Miliband’s Labour party is genuinely blessed with countless advisers, MPs and top shadow ministers who not only – to quote Patton again – “love the sting and clash of battle”, but know exactly what war needs to be fought and won each week of the year ahead. The problem is that none of them are currently managing Ed Miliband’s operation or leading Labour’s campaign. And that needs fixing fast.”

It’s almost a job application…

Tories Troll Miliband IPPR Speech

Ed is at the IPPR this morning giving a speech to launch the Labour wonk-shop’s latest “independent” report on the ‘Condition of Britain’. The EU-funded think tank enjoys charitable status, so of course they would be very careful not to breach Charity Commission rules which specifically prohibit “any purpose directed at furthering the interests of any political party”, wouldn’t they? Apart from all that work done by IPPR that has been commissioned by the Shadow Cabinet. Tory MP Charlie Elphicke has this morning grassed them up to the Charity Commission and also written to the Electoral Commission over Labour’s failure to declare all the work done for them by IPPR as a donation-in-kind.

And now the television feed is down. Going well then.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Labour’s Westminster Bubble Bursts
Half of Party’s Key Marginal Candidates are Political Insiders 

Researched published in the Guardian today confirms Labour’s bubble problem: half of the party’s candidates selected to fight marginal seats come from jobs in politics. 54% of Labour candidates in marginal and inherited seats have previously worked in politics or wonk world, compared with 46% of LibDem candidates and 17% of Tories. Created in the image of their leader…

The research finds that former or current staff of Ed Miliband, Yvette Cooper, Tessa Jowell, Ruth Kelly, Hazel Blears, Alistair Darling, Hilary Armstrong, Mary Creagh, Lord Foulkes, David Blunkett and Lord Sugar are all running, as are 15 ex-Labour MPs standing again, as readers will remember they include expenses piggies Joan Ryan and Andrew Dismore. They identified four Red Princes so far: Jack Straw’s son Will, Neil Kinnock’s son Stephen, former MP Colin Burgon’s son Richard and ex-MP Shona McIsaac’s husband Peter. They won’t be the last.

In 2012 Miliband championed a new Labour Party programme to find more working class MPs to try to address concerns that too many of the party’s candidates had backgrounds as researchers and SpAds, but as Bath University’s Dr Peter Allen says, “it is more a Labour problem” and it is not going away. An ICM poll finds 44% say they are fed up with careerist MPs who “look and sound the same“, indeed a Times/YouGov poll earlier this year found that not having had a “real” job outside of politics was the least attractive quality for candidates, with 55% saying it made them unsuitable for public office. Even Tony Blair said last year that there was a “problem” with MPs not working in normal jobs before entering politics. Might there possibly be a link between Ed Miliband spending his adult life in the bubble and the public’s perception of him as an out of touch weirdo?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Miliband’s Key Aide: Predistribution is ‘Ugly’

Ed Miliband’s most senior and trusted adviser Stewart Wood has described the Labour leader’s key policy plank as “ugly”. While interviewing the violent French number-cooker Thomas Piketty yesterday, Lord Wood asked “how can you get people who don’t have access to wealth – in the ugly word ‘predistribution’ – to get access to wealth, to get access to those assets?” Which makes you wonder why, as one of Ed’s main speech-writers, he let the Labour leader drone on with the “ugly word” so much.

Here are Wood’s words, as read out by Ed, at the ‘New Agenda’ speech, in late 2012:

“We need to care about predistribution as well as redistribution.

Predistribution is about saying: We cannot allow ourselves to be stuck with permanently being a low-wage economy. It is neither just, nor does it enable us to pay our way in the world. 

Our aim must be to transform our economy so it is a much higher skill, higher wage economy. Think about somebody working in a call centre, a supermarket, or in an old peoples’ home. 

Redistribution offers a top-up to their wages. 

Predistribution seeks to offer them more.”

Lord Wood tells Guido that it was a “self-deprecating remark about the word. Nothing more.”  While the word itself is ugly, apparently the idea behind remains important. Something lots of people were saying at the time. Onwards towards the process of redistributing wealth, formerly known as predistribution….

Balls Told Constituents He Would Fight Zero Hours Contracts
Then Employed Four Zero Hours Staff Himself Last Year

Talking to his constituents last year Ed Balls railed against so-called zero-hours contracts, launching a stinging attack in the Morley Observer & Advertiser:

Just in this area, thousands are working with this kind of contract. It puts a real strain on working families and cause huge anxiety and uncertainty. Each week they don’t know whether there will be enough work to feed their kids or pay for childcare.

I want to see this issue looked at properly and action taken so that these kinds of contracts are the exception rather than the rule. It’s no way for Britain to compete in the global economy in the 21st century. Anyone who’s affected and wants me to look into their case should get in touch by emailed ed@edballs.com or call 0113 253 9466.”

Stern words.

The Sun today reveals that Balls has employed four workers on zero-hours contracts in the last year. Indeed, out of the 62 Labour MPs who employed parliamentary staff on zero-hours contracts in 2013, the Shadow Chancellor was one of the biggest users. His spokesman Alex Belardinelli is trying to spin away the screw-up by arguing: “on advice of IPSA we use their casual contracts solely to allow us to pay living wage to interns & students on temp placements”. That doesn’t even make sense; temp contracts can of course specify hours. Nor is IPSA advice mandatory, if they told Balls to send his staffers up the chimneys would he do that too? Balls tells his constituents to give his office a ring if they have been affected by zero-hours contracts. Chances are the phone will be answered by someone who is on one too…

Fortunately, the Shadow Chancellor has a defender in the Institute of Directors:

“The fact that so many students and young people are employed by Labour MPs in this way further undermines the calls from the far left to ban such contracts all together. Thankfully, cooler heads have prevailed and the Labour policy on Zero Hours Contracts is now pretty sensible. Just don’t tell Oxfam…”

A welcome change in policy…

Monday, June 16, 2014

Labour Blocked Release of Miners’ Strike Info in Power

Another day and another call for an inquiry from Labour. As reported in this morning’s Guardian:

“Ed Miliband has called for a “proper investigation” into alleged police malpractice during and after the most notorious confrontation of the 1984-85 miners’ strike, at the Orgreave coking plant 30 years ago this week.” 

The Labour leader goes on to call the issue “a matter of truth and a matter of justice.” This latest intervention comes on the back of Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Michael Dugher’s call for Whitehall to release information about the miners’ strike in Labour’s base-shoring up ‘Justice for the Coalfields’ campaign. Which is a change of tune from when Labour were in government…

New FoI requests seen by Guido have revealed that between 2007-2010, when Miliband was in government and Dugher was a SpAd,  Labour refused three such requests to release information about the 1984-5 miners’ strike. No need to let inconvenient facts like that get in the way of the 35% strategy though…

 


Seen Elsewhere

Sunday Sport Style Guide | Popbitch
Tory MP’s Love of Astrology | BBC
No.10 Shouldn’t Get Excited at Growth Figures | Mark Wallace
Feminist Lobby Killing Meritocracy | Kathy Gyngell
David Ward is a C**t | Iain Dale
Britain Should Follow Kansas’s Tax Cutting | Jeremy Warner
Dave’s Chums Who Made Millions From Putin | Mail
Now Osborne Must Cut Taxes | Mail
Britain’s Recovery Outstrips the World | Times
Ruffley Could Be Suspended From Commons | Telegraph
Ruffley Loses Confidence of Constituency | Guardian


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New Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has big ambitions in his first meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu today:

“I came to bring this conflict to an end.”



Flight Watch says:

Russia Today is a cauldron of bullsh*t. The only people that take it seriously are deluded conspiracy theorists. Other RT journos have resigned citing the same reasons.

It’s about as believable as Press TV, KCNA of North Korea or the Daily Mirror.


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