Thursday, June 19, 2014

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…

 

Ashcroft Focus Groups: Labour “Lazy Slobs Lying on a Sofa”

This afternoon’s latest fluid Ashcroft poll has the Tories on 29%, Labour six points clear on 35%, the LibDems on 8% and UKIP on 15%. More interesting are the results of his focus groups in Thurrock and Halifax, which found the Tories are seen as out of touch but sensible,“aggressively” campaigning to sort out the economy. Music to Lynton Crosby’s ears…

Labour meanwhile are seen as weak, confused and dull, and maintains its image as being summed up by miners and “a lazy slob lying on a sofa, beer in hand”.

What could it be about Ed’s refusal to back any cuts, his anti-benefit reform stance and dependency on the unions that give them that impression…

Battle-Scarred Berger Bag-Carrier Honoured By Liz

Guido would like to offer his warmest congratulations to Sheila Murphy, who was bestowed the honour of becoming a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty in the Queen’s Birthday Honours this weekend. A proud political activist, Sheila offered the most selfless of sacrifices to her Labour Party: devoting her life to becoming a parliamentary assistant to Luciana Berger. Presumably the MBE was for services to bravery and professionalism in the face of grave danger. She deserves all the medals…

Stay CLASS-y: Wife-Beater Tells Labour to Put Up Taxes

The Unite front group CLASS, despite their own gender failings, is devoted to furthering equal rights and women’s causes. So Guido was surprised to see them happily embrace such a controversial figure this afternoon.

Funnily enough the very left wing, but not right on, ‘think tank’ failed to ask Thomas Piketty about the time he assaulted his girlfriend:

‘After the charges were dropped, the French news agency AFP quoted a source close to Ms Filippetti as saying: “Mr Piketty has acknowledged the facts of the violence against Ms Filippetti and has apologised, so in the interests of the families and children, she did not proceed.” When the allegations re-surfaced in the media at the weekend, Mr Piketty confirmed that he had been arrested but contested the claims.’

Instead MPs and activists lapped up the discredited Frenchman’s thoughts on why the 50% rate of tax is not high enough. That’s right, Labour are spending one of their precious few days before the next election discussing putting taxes up with an economist who beat up his ex-girlfriend.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Angry Berger Distances Herself From “Mr Miliband”

Labour’s Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger has spoken out over Ed Miliband’s photo with the Sun, distancing herself from the Labour leader, who she calls “Mr Miliband”.

“I welcome the fact that Labour leader Ed Miliband has today made clear that he understands the anger that people on Merseyside feel toward the Sun. I understand and I share that anger…

When asked to pose for a picture to support the England football team at the World Cup, Mr Miliband agreed. He has today apologised.”

Meanwhile a Labour Liverpool councillor has stepped down…

Labour NEC Round on Ed’s Set Piece Slogan

Labour NEC member Ann Black has published her minutes of the last meeting:

“Before the meeting I asked members if “Hardworking Britain Better Off” was an effective slogan, and circulated more than 200 replies, anonymised, to the NEC.  To summarise:  98% of you hated it, because it is divisive; it suggests that Labour only supports those in paid work and does not value the old, the young, the sick, the carers, the disabled, the jobless; it is dog-whistle code for scroungers and skivers; it sounds like a Tory slogan; it is a Tory slogan; it is ungrammatical; and it is meaningless. Parliamentary candidates avoid using it.”

Not even a comma can save it! 


Seen Elsewhere

Small State Keynesians, Anti-Corporate Hayekians? | Chris Dillow
Ruffley Shows Why We Need a Proper Recall Bill Now | Alex Wickham
How is Miliband’s ‘New Politics’ Working Out? | Speccie
State Should Send More Poor Children Private | Sam Bowman
£1 Million Cost of Ed Balls’ Ego | Laura Perrins
William Hague’s Sausage Fest | Rochdale Online
Public Doesn’t Prioritise Housing | Mark Pack
Mysterious Case of Ruffley’s Missing Letter | Speccie
All the Single Ladies (And Lords) | Bloomberg
How Ruffley’s Resignation Became Inevitable | ConservativeHome
We Need a Recall Bill Now | Speccie


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Damian McBride writes in the epilogue to his memoir…

“At the time of writing, nine months from the election, I’ve concluded that Labour currently has no positive messages to communicate to anyone about why they should vote for the party, no policies which will persuade them, and is being run in a totally dysfunctional way.”



Rob Wilson says:

Without Predujice

Darling

What time will dinner be ready this evening?

Yours

Rob Wilson MP

In the interests of me I am placing a copy of this email in the public domain.


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