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“If you want a politician who thinks that a good photo is the most important thing, then don’t vote for me,” says Ed.
Just days after begging for a certain photo-op.
— Aysha S. Raza (@DrAyshaRaza) July 25, 2014
Ed Miliband’s big speech this lunchtime was introduced by Tulip Siddiq, Labour’s PPC in Hampstead and Kilburn. Not a great week to appear on stage with someone previously best known for smiling in a photo alongside Vladimir Putin last year:
What was that about photo ops?
Another thing David does better than his brother…
Ed arrived at the White House last night hoping President Obama might take a moment out of dealing with several world crises to help him with his election campaign:
The Labour leader got his 25 minute ‘brush-by’ with the President. This was the least bad photo:
They discussed Ukraine, Gaza, the EU and the economy. Just over six minutes each subject.
What was in Stewart Wood’s bag? Surely not a gift from the Commons shop. Fortunately he just went for some DVDs, including House of Cards. The British version, obviously.
Ed didn’t exactly look comfortable:
Of course, within minutes the internet had delivered its verdict:
Well at least it went better than Gordon, just…
“Give him a bottle of milk.”
There is no mention of Ed Miliband’s unscheduled ‘brush-by’ with President Obama in Mike Allen’s Playbook, the morning round up of anything going on in Washington that matters to anyone who is anybody in Washington. Sebastian Payne at the Post reports that Ed is scheduled to meet national security adviser Susan Rice this afternoon, officially the White House pointedly says there is “nothing to announce on the president’s schedule”. Presumably at this point Obama will drop in, if he doesn’t have a world war to avoid. Damian McBride, recounting the President’s five snubs of Gordon Brown and subsequent humiliating chat in a kitchen, has his fingers crossed:
“Team Miliband will have left nothing to chance before their man’s meeting at the White House today. For starters, they will have ensured he gets at least as much ceremony and time as David Cameron enjoyed in his first visit to President Bush as leader of the opposition. Aides will have their stopwatches out, ready to squash any suggestion that Mr Miliband was given less time than he was due…
The reality is that every presidential summit, visit, brush-by, drop-in, and walk-and-talk is nowadays so stage-managed that only someone as afflicted by bad luck as Gordon Brown could ever come a cropper. Provided Obama turns up and the White House doesn’t serve bacon sandwiches, today’s meeting will be the diplomatic equivalent of the speaking clock.”
Miliband’s intellectual henchman Stewart Wood was responsible for White House relations under Gordon Brown, surely he will ensure that this time there is no screw up. Interestingly McBride names Dougie Alexander as the source of the leak of the ‘five snubs’ story back in 2009. Which goes some way to explain the enmity between him and Michael Dugher, then Brown’s comms chief…
Look closely at the contrasting reactions of Miliband and Harman to Cameron’s PMQs ambush. Dave reads Harman’s words back to her: “I think people on middle incomes should contribute more through their taxes”. Miliband looks at Harman, then turns back towards the PM, shaking his head and waving his hand dismissively. Harman, meanwhile, nods and says, “they should… it’s true”. Cameron doesn’t realise, but the Tories behind him do.
The Labour leader and his deputy are completely at odds…
UPDATE: The contrast is even more evident in GIF form:
The last PMQs before the summer break is one of the most important of the year, as it leaves a lasting impression about the leaders before MPs disappear off for the summer to stew. Poor Ed.
Miliband was just ambushed by Cameron on Harriet Harman’s comments to LBC that she thinks middle income earners should pay more tax. She’s having a great week…
Unsurprisingly, the audio is now being pushed out:
‘Yes I think people on middle incomes should contribute more through their taxes’
According to Ed, pointing this out the death of the ‘squeeze middle’ line is ‘desperate’. Expect to hear this line a lot more. Nightmare last outing before the long, hot summer…
UPDATE: The in-house journal of the Labour Party are not impressed:
Will Labour rule out raising taxes on middle earners? If not, this Tory attack line will dog them through the election. #PMQs
— George Eaton (@georgeeaton) July 16, 2014
Nor is the Tory press:
Got obscured by the re-shuffle yesterday. But the Tories think they've struck gold with this Harriet quote. (They're right. They have).
— Dan Hodges (@DPJHodges) July 16, 2014
Tories going to run with this HH quote on how middle income people should pay more tax. Mili is going 2 have to rule it out to shut it down
— James Forsyth (@JGForsyth) July 16, 2014
This Harriet Harman quote spotted by the Tories while everyone was covering the reshuffle is turning attention back on Labour's tax plans
— Christopher Hope (@christopherhope) July 16, 2014
Neil Kinnock tried to do his natural heir a favour this afternoon, giving an interview to Labour Uncut offering Miliband his support. Somewhat unfortunate, then, that the only really quotable part of the piece is the moment when he calls him weird:
“Ed is gutsy, brainy and as cool as hell. There’s all this stuff in the press, ‘Is Ed weird?’ Well, yes he’s weird, but then so was so was Churchill and Wilson, and Thatcher was the weirdest of the lot. I guess leadership produces some ‘oddness!’”
Kinnock argues that “the press is focused on [Ed's] destruction which certainly compares, if not exceeds, my own experience”. Not exactly helpful that he’s now joined those providing the ammunition…
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Zac Goldsmith: “The hon. Gentleman might like to know that today’s Guido Fawkes quote of the day is the one on drug laws that we have heard cited by a number of hon. Members.”
Mike Hancock: “I am delighted to hear that Guido Fawkes is talking about something other than me.”