The papers are reporting this morning that Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameorn were on the verge of agreement until Hugh Grant’s Hacked Off campaign lobbied Labour aggressively. This is the draft press release brandished by Hacked Off to put the wind up Ed Miliband if he went ahead with the deal:
The language is ridiculous, Hugh Grant is a victim of his own making, calling on the Queen not to carry out her constitutional duty because he doesn’t want his picture in the papers any more is frankly comical. Hacked Off is a bunch of celebs who have been caught with their pants down hiding behind the genuine suffering of the McCanns and the Dowlers who were victims of real crimes which the police are already pursuing. Hacked Off won’t say who funds them, they are self-appointed and they are secretive with a sinister agenda to protect the rich and powerful from the prying eyes of the public.
Guido is opposed to all the proposals to control the press including the government’s misguided plan to enforce extra-territorial control of publications. We won’t be cooperating with any legislation that tries to control a foreign publication like this blog because it is, in the words of the Charter, “targeted primarily at an audience in the United Kingdom”. Imagine if the Soviets had tried to do the same to Radio Free Europe during the Cold War, or the Iranian regime demanded today to regulate the BBC’s Persian Service on the grounds that it is “targeted primarily at an audience in the Islamic Republic of Iran”.
Guido reminded Brian Leveson when he was giving his evidence that under the obligations of Article 19 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights as agreed by Britain in 1948
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
That is more important than preventing the paparazzi taking pictures of Hugh Grant on a bad hair day…
Ed Miliband is lurching to the right:
“One of the things we didn’t get right was immigration, and that’s why I’ve got a new approach. Millions of people in this country are concerned about immigration and if people are concerned about it, then the Labour Party I lead is going to be talking about it.”
Just yesterday Shadow Public Health Minister Diane Abbott blustered under the headline “There must be no right turn on immigration”:
“Sadly, immigration has served as a proxy for race in the British political narrative for so long, that it is still not possible to totally deracialise it.
There is no path to victory for the Labour Party in 2015 through the thickets of anti-immigrant politics and I am confident that Ed Miliband knows this.”
On message as ever.
Sometimes it’s impossible for a politician to avoid the Hague Rule – never get photographed in a hat:
An old favourite of Ed, but there’s a touch of Berlusconi to Dave in Delhi today.
With Nick Clegg away somewhere, sadly we won’t learn what he is getting up to tonight for Valentine’s evening, but news of the other two party leaders has trickled out. Dave told an audience on the Eastleigh stump today that he had not done “that well at Valentine Day this morning”, so he is apparently cooking for Sam at the No.10 flat. Meanwhile Ed will be having a Chinese takeaway at his mansion in Primrose Hill. He told the Guardian that he would be catching up on BBC drama The Hour, adding sinisterly “There may also be a surprise.” Lets hope it’s a better costed one than his tax plan today…
The PM pulled the win back at a yesterday’s PMQs by running with Guido’s leaked email from Labour insiders who had been told there would be no policy announcement in today’s speech. Fast forward 24 hours and they’ve pulled one out of the hat. After the PM hinted that the 10p tax band would return, Miliband will shortly announce that Labour will reintroduce the rate scrapped by Gordon, funded by the LibDem policy of a mansion tax on houses over £2 million. Funny that…
What we do know is as of Tuesday the Labour line was that there was no policy:
“Ed Miliband is going to make a ‘major’ speech on the economy on Thursday. It won’t have any new policies in it, but the plan is for Labour to release two or three big economic policies over the next couple of months.”
That was briefed out to supporters attending the speech, and now magically there is one. One that was suggested by a backbench Tory MP and does not look very well costed:
Breaking: Miliband promise for 2bn mansion tax to pay for re-introduction of 10p rate: but won't it cost 7bn?! Time for pledge audit.—
Jim Pickard (@PickardJE) February 14, 2013
Did the Eds work this one out on the back of their Valentine’s Day card envelopes?
UPDATE: Quoting a “key advisor” as late as yesterday evening, the line to Labour supporting sites was still that there would be no major policy announcement in today’s speech:
“But I fear most people will ignore it. This is partly because it will not contain major policy announcements to fight an election on. Their reasoning for this is simple: the election is still two years away and no one can predict the state of the economy then. Without knowing that, it is difficult to set budgets and make spending plans.”
With language like “we are taking a shot at the paradigm of the past”, there is no prize for guessing who that “key advisor” was…
“My position is no – We don’t want an in out referendum”
Ed Miliband 23 January 2013.
The Leader of the Opposition used PMQs to put himself on the wrong side of history.
Ed M gives clearest statement yet on euro membership: "Britain's not going to be joining the euro, it won't be joining the euro if I'm PM"—
George Eaton (@georgeeaton) January 17, 2013
We knew that already…
Ed hasn't got a position on a referendum. Might as well just say so.—
Dan Hodges (@DPJHodges) January 17, 2013
Disaster interview. Ed's been leader for 2.5 years and has no position on any major policy. We won't join the euro. Who knew?!—
Chris Wimpress (@ChrisWimpress) January 17, 2013
Miliband has very irritating habit of asking himself questions: And why do we say that? What's the bigger point? What's my starting point?—
Matt Chorley (@MattChorley) January 17, 2013
So that went well then…
Tobin Distanced Himself From Robin Hood Tax Protesters | FT
Tories Must Move on From Gay Marriage | Ben Brogan
Has the Right Split Irrevocably? | Iain Martin
Dave’s Woes Stem From 2010 | Janan Ganesh
Cameron Has Trashed His Own Brand | Rachel Sylvester
Secret of Farage’s Success | Prospect
It Was Beeb Not Tabloids That Smeared Help For Heroes | Speccie
Alternatives to Business For Britain Are Muppets | Charlie Mullins
Obama Counsel Knew of IRS Claims Weeks Ago | WSJ
Bunga Bunga Trial: Dancing Girls, Nuns, Nurses & Obama | Reuters
Dave Must Learn From Conan the Barbarian | James Kirkup
Lord Tebbit has his say on ‘aggressive homosexuals’:
“Why shouldn’t a mother marry her daughter? Why shouldn’t two elderly sisters living together marry each other? I quite fancy my brother!”
” Evans, dear boy, Evans “