Axelrod Speaks: Guru Lukewarm About Miliband on CNN

David Axelrod was caught off guard by Christiane Amanpour on CNN and asked about Ed Miliband. Watch his face fall:

The most positive thing Axe says is that that polls say Ed could win and that no one likes the Tories. A minute later he says to ignore the polls.

Unsurprisingly, Axelrod refuses to compare Ed to Obama. He doesn’t sound very enthusiastic about things though.

You would have thought for £300,000 Labour could have given their star guru at least one or two talking points about what their leader is up to?

Rich’s Monday Morning View

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‘“If Tom Baldwin didn’t have at least one enemy in every newspaper office, he could have called in some favours,” fumes a close colleague.’

 

FLASHBACK: When the Milibands Avoided Tax

Miliband worded this answer about the Deed of Variation on his family home very carefully:

“This is something my mother did 20 years ago. That was a decision she made. Let me just say this: I’ve paid tax as a result of that transaction, I’ve avoided no tax in that.”

A Deed of Variation has the sole purpose of saving tax. That Ed paid capital gains tax is irrelevant – the Miliband family avoided paying in some part inheritance tax (how much is still unclear).

From the Sunday Times, 19 September 2004:

“DAVID MILIBAND, the schools minister, and his brother Ed, the chancellor’s economic adviser, are set to avoid paying thousands of pounds in tax through an Inland Revenue loophole which the Labour party pledged to close. 

The brothers, Labour’s rising stars, are poised to benefit after their family set up a scheme to share ownership of the family’s Pounds 1.3m townhouse in north London which was sold recently.

Accountants and the Inland Revenue say the scheme established by the Milibands is used to reduce inheritance tax.

The move is particularly controversial for Ed Miliband who is chairman of the council of economic advisers responsible for co-ordinating the Treasury’s long-term policy on behalf of Gordon Brown, the chancellor.”

The Sunday Times has learnt that after Ralph Miliband, the socialist father of David and Ed, died in 1994, he transferred almost all his assets, including homes in London and Oxfordshire, to his wife.

However, after taking professional advice, the family is understood to have posthumously rewritten his will to give 20% of the London home to both David and Ed.

David has declared a “20% share of family home in London” on the MPs’ register of interests since 2002.

This scheme is called a “deed of variation” and was highlighted by the chancellor in opposition as an unacceptable way in which the wealthy avoid paying death duties.

It allows people to inherit assets tax-free even if this goes against the wishes of the deceased. Had Ralph Miliband’s will not been altered, David and Ed would have inherited the house (or the money raised from its sale) when their mother Marion died and would have faced a tax bill equivalent to 40% of its value.

Instead they were able to cash in on their stakes when the family’s four bedroom townhouse in Primrose Hill, north London, was sold earlier in the summer.

For the record…

Lord Fink Responds to Miliband “Dodgy” Climb Down

Ed Miliband just clearly said that he was not calling Lord Fink dodgy. The vanilla peer has responded:

“Yesterday I challenged Ed Miliband to repeat the accusations he made in the Commons – that I used an HSBC bank account to avoid tax and that I was a “dodgy donor.”He did not. This is a major climbdown by a man who is willing to smear without getting his facts straight.”

Fink/the Tories are now focussing on the word dodgy. Which was not mentioned in his letter yesterday….

SW1 Snap Verdict: Miliband Misses Massive Open Goal

Five more of these sessions to go…

Axed: 90 Days Since Obama Guru Spun for Labour

David Axelrod

David Axelrod is really earning his crust from Labour, telling a book-promoting interview that he’s retiring from campaigning: “I’m not going back on that circuit. It’s exhilarating, it’s addictive, but it’s not good for you. I’m done”. With his comments picked up by the Sun this morning, and sure to wind up already tetchy Labour MPs, Guido has crunched the numbers. Today it has been 90 days since Axelrod even bothered to mention his star British client on Twitter. He was reportedly in London for a brief visit in December, but is embarking on a book tour around the USA for the duration of the British election campaign. Worth every penny…

No Diary Clash: Ed Spent Today in His Office

Labour claimed that Ed Miliband had a very important diary clash that stopped him speaking to all of his friends at the British Chamber of Commerce today:

Though Ed Balls didn’t know what it was:

It turns out he was hiding in his office:

Gordon Brown levels of incompetence. It’s not as if Axelrod was even in town…

Mrs Miliband Goes Massively Off Message

Remember when Ed claimed that “boasts from George Osborne” about the economy don’t reflect “the experience of everyday families” because his figures “ignore the growing number of self-employed” and the impact of “Victorian” flexible hours contracts on mothers?

A clampdown on zero-hours and self-employment will be a key part of Labour’s election message, but it seems Ed’s ‘secret weapon’ Mrs Miliband did not get the memo. Justine spoke out last week in favour of flexible work that is “fantastic for being family-friendly”:

“Because I’m self-employed. So that means if I want to see my kids in a school play, I don’t have to ask anyone, I carry on working in the evening.”

Violently off message…

Why Ed Needed Extended Paternity Leave

The deficit at conference was not even the most embarrassing thing that the Labour leader has forgotten. After it was revealed in 2010 that Ed was not on his son’s birth certificate, Labour claimed that “pressures of attending the Copenhagen […]

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Miliband Sparks Minor Diplomatic Crisis[…]

PMQs: Miliband’s Sixth Sense

The Sketch Team spent the morning drowning kittens to train for PMQs. Piteous sights and sounds we beheld, quite wither-wringing. On a positive note, we got through the carnage of Ed Miliband’s performance without a tear.

How the Tory dogs […]

Axelrod and Miliband in the Sights at Punchy PLP

Guido hears that David Axelrod came under attack at a heated meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party last night, where tempers frayed over the “disastrous direction” of Labour’s election campaign. Labour MPs sobbing into their bitter late into the night […]



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