Chris Bryant’s Rivers of Blunder immigration speech last summer outlined Labour’s tough new approach to tackling the problem of people working in Britain illegally. He vowed:
“We need to make it easier to bring prosecutions; Labour will double the fines for minimum wage breaches and for illegal employment of illegal migrants… Labour will put forward serious proposals to tackle illegal entry. I want to see more companies providing assurances and demonstrating what they are doing to train and recruit local staff, rather than… bringing in workers in from abroad.”
How many unemployed British Labour gurus were overlooked when the job was given to Graf?
Labour are arguing this morning that Miliband guru Arnie Graf “is not employed by the Labour Party”, despite admitting they “reimburse him for lost earnings”, and directly contradicting Graf’s own confession that he works for the party. Either Graf is not paid a wage, does not pay income tax and so Labour reimbursing his earnings has serious tax implications, or they are paying him a wage and he is working here illegally. Which is it, General Secretary?
Dozens of Labour MPs are expected to quit before the next election yet even before they’ve gone the stitching-up of seats has begun. Ed Miliband claims he wants to weaken the union hold over his party, yet he’s happy to play their games when an ally is involved. Guido is expecting an announcement that Labour MP Austin Mitchell isn’t going to be running again in Grimsby and all the stops are being pulled out to secure the seat for former Labour HQ staffer Melanie Onn. Miraculously Onn was given a cosy regional campaigning role with Unison. Labour insiders say she got the gig at Ed’s personal request. That must be Ed’s promised ‘new, more open politics’ in action.
Talking Tory cuts on Look North, Calendar, Radio Sheffield, BBC Online and Doncaster Star/Free Press—
Melanie Onn (@OnnMel) January 16, 2014
Back at Labour HQ, increasingly isolated General Secretary Iain McNicol does not enjoy the confidence of Ed Miliband. Since the arrival of Spencer Livermore, McNicol has been further sidelined. Bored of spending lots of his time touring constituency branches to keep him out of harm’s way in Labour HQ, he is now insisting on being involved in campaign planning meetings. This has proved somewhat irritating to Livermore who wants him out, something to which Miliband is sympathetic. McNicol, who owes his appointment to union votes on the party’s National Executive Committee, is now calling in favours from his union friends to make sure his position is secure against him being pushed out. Given the unions pay Labour HQ’s wages this means Ed Miliband may not get his way. So much for redefining that relationship…
And now we know why he doesn’t go to the pub…
So we move further into the new phase of Miliband’s leadership – the phase of I Am A Leader, Just Watch.
He launched the new product to widespread mockery at PMQs this week with his sadder-but-wiser quiet voice.
Today, he turned up the volume.
“Friends,” he began. And two-thirds of his TV audience left the room. Even his allies don’t count him a friend.
Too remote. Too odd. Too made up.
Not to say that he hasn’t improved over the last year. Transcending the plasticine, stop-frame caricature he has achieved human form. A powerful, single-minded, self-possessed four-year-old. No longer Gromit, he’s Max in Where the Wild Things Are.
Dressed in a wild wolf onesie he points at the roaring, gnashing capitalists who flash their teeth and claws at him while realizing they are better than that and that hardworking people deserve more and they are tamed by the power of love, friends, and carry worried mums and dads around on their backs, playfully.
You don’t think that’s a proper manifesto? It’s better than Michael Foot’s.
The Miliband manner: Mouth more under control, still some writhing at the edges, some wind tunnel effects when excited. But no drooling at all, not even foam. The fingers flash about but come to rest decorously, steepled. He had learnt his words and practised his moves, but he can’t be said to be inhabited with them, as leaders properly are. It’s all a bit put together.
The matter: Risible as ever, but with a harsh undertone in the observers’ laughter. So, not as genially comic as Predistribution or Predators vs Producers.
The big idea is two more banks.
Two! More! Banks!
If Gordon Brown hadn’t pushed HBOS and Lloyds together, and if Labour’s pet bank the Co-op hadn’t been chaired by a raving drug fiend there would even now be Two! More! Banks!
Second: He wants to dismantle big commercial entities into smaller, more competitive units. But this is what capitalism does as a matter of course. It is the business model for private equity, short-sellers, asset-strippers, hostile take-over pros. Miliband is putting himself up as a predator. What a noodle he is. Mind you, he knocked a billion off the banks’ cap just by talking about them so he’s not entirely without teeth.
Third: He said that lending to small business is woefully inadequate. It may or may not be. We do know, however, that a proximate cause of the sub-prime mortgage market was politicians demanding lenders make loans to bad credit risks.
Responsible capitalism via irresponsible capitalism. Only Ed Miliband.
Unsurprisingly business leaders weren’t impressed with Ed’s speech either. Institute of Directors boss Simon Walker has his say:
“The state has a very poor history of creating competition in banking. The last time the Government told a bank what to do, Lloyds was ordered to sell branches to Rev. Flowers, and we all know how that ended.”
Love this from BBC readers' comments: Miliband "like an arsonist who burns your house down and then criticises your choice of fire engine".—
Ben Gummer (@ben4ipswich) January 17, 2014
Ed M: 'Too few banks, too big.' It's almost like someone (last govt?) presided over massive consolidation and explosion in size of sector—
Iain Martin (@iainmartin1) January 17, 2014
What was most depressing about Miliband's speech was his dismissal of deficit reduction. Labour has just given up on the macro-economy.—
Dan Hodges (@DPJHodges) January 17, 2014
Labour normally wait til they're in govt to rip taxpayers off. Impressively, by damaging bailed out bank value Ed has done it in opposition—
Mark Wallace (@wallaceme) January 17, 2014
Nick Robinson drops a bomb – "Ed, how are you going to tell your party they can't have what they want – massive spending?"—
Benjamin Pelc (@screwlabour) January 17, 2014
At the beginning of the year Guido predicted that the data would soon show that Ed’s “Cost-of-Living Crisis” was at an end. Today inflation fell to 2%, hitting the Bank of England’s target for the first time in four years and last month saw reported UK wage growth hit a six year high. Wage growth is set to outstrip inflation and with that the end of the rationale for Ed Miliband’s ”Cost-of-Living Crisis”. The public are increasingly confident:
All Ed’s slogans turn to dust “too far, too fast” was demonstrated to be wrong and Labour MPs think “One Nation Labour” is vacuous. Back to the drawing board…
Simon Danczuk being mean about Miliband’s flagship One Nation slogan is one thing, now it seems Ed’s special phone-a-friend Alastair Campbell thinks it’s a load of rubbish as well. Bad Al tells the Fabian Society this afternoon:
“One Nation Labour worked last year for Ed’s speech but it wasn’t followed through with hard-hitting policy. One Nation is not established. It means to the public whatever the public wants it to mean.”
In other words, nothing.
Even the BBC Accepts the Licence Fee Must Go | ConHome
More to Women Than Boosting GDP | Ruth Lea
ThinkProgress Controlled: “I Was an Obamabot” | Zaid Jilani
Free People Don’t Care About Politics | Fraser Nelson
Like Guido’s Facebook Page | Facebook
International Moaning Day | Kathy Gyngell
Cameron Alienating Core Voters Without Attracting New | City AM
Andy Burnham Villain of the Week | Sun
London’s Laundry Business | NY Times
The End of HS2? | Seb Payne
Elvis Speaks | Nottingham Post
Alan Rusbridger opines…
“One thing that Snowden has taught us journalists is that it’s essential to be paranoid.”